The following scripture references are from the New International Version.
Second Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness . . .”
However, that does not mean if I can’t spend hours and hours at one sitting reading and studying, I should leave my Bible on the shelf to gather dust.
First Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
That does not mean, however, if I don’t do it “always . . . continually” and “in all circumstances,” that I should throw up my hands and say, “What’s the use of even trying?”
Matthew 22:27 says, “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”
That does not mean I am not His child, even though I don’t love Him with my entire being. It is only in His strength that I can learn to live and love this way.
Matthew 22:39 says, “And the second (commandment) is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
However, when “my neighbor” is unlovable or when I’m not feeling particularly loving, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t seek to bless others.
Matthew 22:40 says, “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
And now we’re back to my first realization. In His strength, I must focus on loving God and loving others, even though I will not always get it right.
While 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” . . .
James 4:17 says, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
While I must devote myself to more diligent study of God’s Word, that doesn’t let me off the hook from doing what I already know I should do.
And one of the most important truths I’ve learned is this:
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus . . .” (Romans 8:1).
Though condemnation and conviction often feel the same at first, I’ve come to a crucial realization. Condemnation makes us feel weighed down, as if there’s no hope and no way out. Conviction by God’s Spirit, however, shines a light on the darkness within while shining brightly on the path that leads us out of that darkness.
And again I remember . . .
Twenty-twelve is my personal Year of No Excuses!