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  • Writer's picturePastor Nathan Lipscomb

How Far Would You Go?



Man climbing frozen waterfall with title, "How Far Would You Go?"

I don't know about you, but I'm not the most competitive person. I guess the purpose for the competition (or the prize!) would really be the defining factor for how far I would be willing to go to win. For some people, the fun of the fight is enough; for others, there is little that will motivate them to try with all their might to compete. Maybe, the fear of losing is demotivating enough to prevent many from even trying. Sometimes, it may be the daunting amount of work and preparation required to even stand a chance that prevents others from entering the fray. So if you ask me "How far would you go?", I would have to answer "for what?".


Forgiveness


Some people would be willing to go to great lengths for things like money and attention, even being willing to compromise their own integrity and reputation! How far would you be willing to go to be right with God? If I said you had to hike the length of Shenandoah National Park, locate a secret cave, bury your besetting sin or idol in the cave, and repeat some memorized phrases, would you be heading out the door this weekend to take on this mammoth task? Many would! To have a tangible task that can be accomplished that can erase failure and disappointment is longed for by many people, but, that isn't what God asks for, it's much easier than that and yet much more difficult. If I could accomplish a task to earn back favor with God, then my pride would still be intact. What I mean is this: the reason we long for some redemptive task is so that we don't have to humbly acknowledge our failure and with contrition seek forgiveness. See, forgiveness costs us nothing but humility. The Bible says that, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9) While it costs us nothing, it cost God the Father and Jesus Christ quite a lot. Forgiveness required sacrifice, redemption for the sinner required the shedding of blood to remit sins. If you are not sure that you are saved today, would you take a look at the video on this page: https://www.sbcverona.com/how-to-be-saved. Christian, this promise of forgiveness is extended into your walk with God as well. How far would you go to find forgiveness?


Freedom


Studying early America can be a great way to appreciate the freedoms that we enjoy right now. Many men and women went to great lengths to secure freedom for themselves and their loved ones. Many of them did not live long enough to see their nation take its first steps. The concept of freedom has become watered down in modern America as we slowly give up seemingly minor freedoms for the facade of peace and security. Let's set aside our human rights and freedom for a minute and consider how it is that countless millions of believers counted themselves to have obtained peace with God and eternal freedom while sitting shackled in a jail cell awaiting their death because of their faith. They had found freedom, real freedom: freedom from the eternal consequences of their sinful flesh, freedom from being compelled daily to fulfill their own prideful lusts, and freedom (for the first time) to do right! How far would you go to obtain this freedom? The true answer to obtaining this freedom is through the forgiveness of sins we already talked about, but if you already are saved, Christian, you have this freedom! Don't let the flesh keep its hold on you. Pray every day for the strength to withstand the temptations. Pray every day for forgiveness of yesterday's disappointments. Pray until the flesh gives way to the Spirit! Pray! Engross yourself daily in the Word of God and in preaching so that it flows through your thoughts and even your words. "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." (Psalm 119:9-11) You see, there is no task to perform to secure spiritual freedom. Freedom is offered freely to us so that we may walk with Him.


Fire


Everyone is thinking about the new year and the potential it holds for us. Is this the year that you meet the spouse God has for you? Do you finally get a disciplined exercise or diet routine down this year? Will you fall further away from the Lord, or is this the year that your spirit is ignited ablaze in holiness and desire to serve the Lord? How far would you be willing to go to get on fire this year or to gain spiritual ground in your life? When was the last time you saw personal spiritual growth in your own life? What would you do to have the effectiveness of Philip in Acts 8? Philip was a layman (not a pastor) who was on fire! What did that mean for him? What did that look like? Read Acts chapter 8; Philip was in a walking, talking relationship with God, he was involved in the work of evangelism, Philip was listening when God spoke to him, and he was instant to act upon God's call. Was Philip perfect? No. Did he ever sin? Yes. He needed daily forgiveness from sin and daily renewal the same as we do. Is there something in your life that needs to change this year that is hindering the fire of God in your heart?


How far would you go? You don't have to go far. The healing wounds of Christ are already within reach. The forgiveness of God is one penitent moment away. Spiritual freedom is already in the hand of the believer. The fire of God ignites itself in our hearts when we are walking and talking with Him and in the business of serving Him daily.

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