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You Can’t Do This On Your Own

“Because I said so. That’s why!”  It’s the final phase of frustration for many parents in dealing with their children.  It usually occurs after a series of questions challenging their authority over curfew time, sleeping at a friends home, or “just going to hang out” on a Saturday night.  Why do teenagers ask permission and press these issues?  Because they alone do not have the ability to decide and are under the authority of their parents.

In Proverbs 20:9, the author asks a rhetorical question: “Who can say, ‘I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin?’” The obvious answer is “No one.”  We are imperfect people and sinful by nature.  Saying our heart is clean and without sin does not make it so.  In fact, it seems nearly impossible to make it through a single day without adding to our list of sins.  No matter the strength of our desire or the determination in our striving, we are incapable of leading a sinless life or cleansing our own hearts.

If that were all to the story, a sense of hopelessness would be understandable, but our great God has the authority to forgive sins and to cleanse our hearts. We can’t say it and make it so, but because of the sacrifice of Jesus we can ask God to cleanse our hearts and forgive our sins. Like parents who make decisions for their children, God makes a decision for us when we ask.

Reflect:

  • What is one sin in your life that you find yourself striving to overcome?  Why do you feel you have been unsuccessful?
  • Instead of striving to overcome the sin, what is one way you can hand the battle over to God so you can walk in freedom?
  • Knowing that God has the strength and authority to defeat sin in your life and cleanse your heart, what is one thing you can do differently to display that freedom?

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