Tied to the railings of an old stone church in our neighborhood is a big canvas sign. In large type with red and white colors, it says ENJOY YOUR FORGIVENESS.
It’s a visible reminder to everyone who crosses the street at Park Ave and E 21st Street on their way to work, the coffee shop, or whatever their destination that God’s gifts are to be enjoyed. Forgiveness is the biggest and best of them all.
Each time I walk past, the sign makes me think:
Am I truly enjoying the forgiveness God has given and all that it brings me?
Am I living lightly, as an excused person, or am I allowing myself to be weighed down by my messes?
Is my way of living with forgiveness contagious, so people say “what is she so happy about and can I have what she’s got?”
Am I acting on all that God, through Jesus, has done for me and given me?
Just the other day, I read these words written by NIcky Gumbel in the Bible in One Year devotional:
“Are you enjoying everything Jesus has made possible for you? Or are you still feeling guilty and powerless? Jesus came to bring forgiveness, new life and the power of the Holy Spirit to you. Make sure you take possession of what is already yours, today.”
All too often feelings of guilt for what we have done in the past can haunt us. The consequences of our mistakes can catch up with us. And frequently we condemn ourselves for what we did or failed to do.
We should instead take charge of our thoughts. We are forgiven people. We should not give untrue thoughts the liberty to run around freely in our minds.
The Bible tells us to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
It also tells us that we have protection for our minds. Like soldiers wore helmets as a protective coverings for their heads when in battle, knowing God has saved us protects our minds in our spiritual battle. Let’s constantly remind ourselves that we are forgiveness so like David in Psalm 32 we can say:
What happiness for those whose guilt has been forgiven! What joys when sins are covered over! What relief for those who have confessed their sins and God has cleared their record.Psalm 32:1 TLB
The awareness of the new life God gave us when we first believed in Jesus Christ can get dulled by distance as the days, months, and years slip by. Yet, God’s love and mercy are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Each day we can celebrate having fresh life, with a future full of hope. Like the Psalmist, pray to:
… grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!Ephesians 1:18-19 MSG
The power of the Holy Spirit
It’s easy to forget, or even realize that we have the same power within us that raised Jesus from the dead.
The apostle Paul prayed:
… that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened that you may know … his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.Ephesians 1:18-20
Let’s pray this and believe it for ourselves and wait to see the wonderful things that God will do in our lives and the lives of others.
Now enjoy your forgiveness and take possession of what is yours so others may be attracted to Jesus through the joy in your life.
Use this prayer to help you.
Heavenly Father, I want to fully enjoy my forgiveness—
The gift of forgiveness you have given me.
When I forget I am forgiven
When I tell myself I should be ashamed,
I will bring those thoughts to you.
Through your Holy Spirit
Fill my heart with the truth of your forgiveness.
Right now, I ask you to take my feelings of guilt about ___________________.
Transform my thinking.
Bring the joy of knowing your
Love and compassion
Into my life.
When I awake each morning
To begin my day with a word of thanks,
So I can smile
Even if the day feels dull or difficult.
Let the joy of living forgiven
Be irresistible to everyone I meet.
By the same power that
Raised your Son from the dead
I want to live each day
As an advertisement
Of your great love and compassion.
In Jesus’ name,