I made a statement toward the end of that blog, and it was number 4 on the list of “how do we respond”, and I said this:
"4. MOVE FORWARD. Life goes on. Learn from the mistakes. Recognize your weakness… in fact, BOAST in your weakness - because as you are weak, and you seek His strength, you will be made strong THROUGH HIM."
That’s BIG statement to be summed up in such a small phrase - “Move Forward”
What does that look like? What do I do now? How do I move forward in grace, in mercy, in love, in forgiveness, in peace and comfort and joy? WHAT NOW?!?
I’m sure some of you were asking that question, and are still asking it now, so let me help by providing some steps for you to “Move Forward,” and it’s going to be based out of Romans 12:1-2.
“I appeal to you…by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice…”
Step one in moving forward is start looking up instead of back. Start looking up instead of around. Start looking up instead of down. Even if you’re running on empty, give whatever you have to God. Offer it all up to Him through prayer, through activities, through your thoughts, your words, your actions. Present ALL of you for ALL of Him.
“… holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
Step two in moving forward is this - as you start looking up, and as you present all of you for all of Him, do so in worship. Recognize just Who He is. Remember what He’s saved you from. Recall what He’s saved you to. Be thankful. Be in awe. Sing, dance, pray, be still, be loud… just worship Him. Give Him the glory. King David was an emotional roller-coaster at times. If you read his journal (aka, the Psalms), you’ll see there are times he’s feeling defeated, times he’s feeling victorious, time’s he’s sad and happy, and times he’s on top of the world looking down on creation… BUT, at the end of each entry in his journal, he remembers Who God is. He remembers what God has done. He knows what God will do. He gives honor to Whom honor is due. He worships.
“Do not be conformed to this world…”
Step three. Recognize how you got in this mess to begin with. How did get away from God? How did you fall into sin? What in your life do you spend most of your physical energy doing? What do you spend most of your mental energy doing? What keeps you up at night? What are you stressing about? What sets your anxiety off? Take a self-assessment. As you figure out what it is that’s keeping your mind and your heart and your mouth from worship of God, get away from it. His Spirit is one of power, and love, and self-control, and since that’s the case, draw on that power. Draw out that love. Enact that self-control so you begin to think and feel and act less and less like the world and more and more like Jesus. This is an ongoing process. Don’t focus on all the stuff you’re doing wrong - focus on the one or two things you need to change now that allows you to break free from the expectations that others have on you, and focus on becoming who God created you to be.
“…but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…”
Step four - this is how step three is continually accomplished. This isn’t a one-and-done kind of thing. This takes practice, and discipline, and courage. This takes accountability and the help of the Almighty God, who’s already promised to never leave nor forsake you. And if He’s with you, then you can do ANYTHING through Him !! So pray. A lot. Just talk to God. Ask that He helps change your thinking… and ask He keeps changing your thinking. Don’t think on all the bad stuff, think on whatever is true (like the Bible - spend time reading and studying it), whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is holy, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, THINK ABOUT THOSE THINGS (Philippians 4:8).
“…that by testing, you may discern what is the will of God, what is good, and acceptable, and perfect.”
Step five - keep doing steps 1 - 4. As you do each of those things regularly, you’ll see the direction He has for you. You’ll see the plan He has for you. It’s not complicated and shrouded in mystery - it’s easy. It begins with being thankful It continues with doing good And then He says, “help others know me too.”
A changed life (changed thinking, changed words, and changed actions) is undeniable. It can’t be hidden. When someone TRULY gives it all to God, and KEEPS giving it all to God, you can’t help but notice. You’ve seen them. You want to be like that…
So, what’s stopping you? What life are you waiting for?
Just start today.