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The Tablecloth
(leaving our past sins behind us)

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Chapter: 2.08
(Section 2: The Christian who has Stumbled)
Copyright Michael Bronson 1997, 1999, and 2000
BibleHelp.org

Summary
Many Christians let their past failures accumulate to the point where they have a hard time resisting temptation. They think, "What difference would one more sin make?" Learn how to leave your past sins behind you.

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Focusing on our past sins and failures can overwhelm us. This is one of the most destructive tools of Satan. With it, he steals our joy and spiritual strength. Many Christians find it hard to "forgive and forget" their own sins and shortcomings. Whether it is a single major failure, or an accumulation of many small failures, the result is still the same. We find it difficult to resist future sins when we have had such an unsuccessful past.

We must learn to completely clean our slate with God and feel fully forgiven after each sin. Picture having some special guests over for dinner. Your best china and tablecloth are out. As the dinner starts, everyone is very careful not to spill anything on the beautiful tablecloth. Inevitably though, someone makes the first spill. This person, of course, feels bad and great effort is made not to do it again. As the meal continues and more stains appear, the guests are less cautious about being sloppy. By the end of the week, the tablecloth is so soiled that no one really cares if they are the next one to spill. The consensus has become, "What difference does one more stain make?"

We do the same thing in our Christian lives. After our first failure, we are still resolved to resist temptation. However, after a few more failures, our resolve starts to weaken. After many failures, we start thinking, "What’s the use of resisting, I’m going to fail in the near future anyhow. What difference will one more sin make?" Eventually, we are overwhelmed. We still try to "resist," but our efforts are feeble and superficial.

Many Christians have failed so many times they just don’t see the point in trying anymore. They have failed so many times they feel there’s no benefit in resisting their current temptation. As a result, they throw up their hands and go with the flow.

If, on the other hand, a Christian has been victorious for a period of time, he is much more resolved to resist his temptations. If a Christian has a clean slate, he is much more motivated to keep the slate clean. He doesn’t want to ruin a good record. A basketball team that has won the last 100 games will try harder than a team that has lost the last 100 games.

Since having a "clean slate" is obviously important, how do sinners maintain a clean slate? How do people with a fallen sin nature maintain a winning streak? The answer is we can’t. We are sinners, which means we will sin. The answer to our dilemma is not an absence of sin. Rather, the answer is in the way you view your past sins.

Simply asking God to forgive you does not automatically mean you have been able to put your failures behind you. The fact that God views your failures as being completely resolved doesn’t mean you automatically see it that way. It is your frame of mind that is causing you the problem in this area.

When you sin, you are the author and owner of the sin. However, when you confess your sins to God, they now belong to Him. Unfortunately, you often try to hang on to the ownership. Every sin you "own" gets added to your running count. As a result, these sins accumulate. Even though these sins have been forgiven, they still remain on your list of failures. You will never be completely free of these sins as long as you maintain ownership.

This list of failures is what overwhelms you. The larger the list, the more you view yourself as a "failure." The larger the list, the less motivated you are to resist temptations.

The thing to do is give God full ownership of your past failures. If God owns your past failures, you literally have no right to bring them up again. You have no right to maintain a list of failures. The only person who has a right to bring them up is the owner (God). Since He considers the matter settled, you have a clean slate.

In summary, commit all of your failures to God and give Him full ownership over them. Once God becomes the owner, these failures no longer belong to you. You literally have no right to hold these failures against yourself. To do so, is basically stealing from God. As a result of all this, you now have a clean slate with God.

 

Other Chapters in this Section

Home
Rising out of the Ashes
Shooting your Wounded
The Discouraged Heart
The Overwhelmed
Picking up the Pieces
I've Fallen and can't get Up
Secrets of Resisting Temptation
The Table Cloth (leaving our past sins behind us)
Guard Your Thoughts


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