4 Steps to Get Your Life on Track
by: Al Robertson
Perhaps the greatest proof that God is real and that Jesus truly is his son is the testimony that a changed life offers. Nothing says that Jesus was raised from the dead like a life that is radically transformed by the power of God.
This is why we encourage folks to NEVER give up. Everyone in leadership in our church has a similar story of redemption to tell — a life that was bordering on chaos and destruction which was later transformed into a life of purpose and meaning — a life changed when we finally gave up on ourselves and turned our lives over to God’s will. There’s no place in any level of ministry anywhere in the world for unbroken and unredeemed people.
I’m telling you this because what God is calling you to may seem impossible to you at the moment. Millions across the globe who bow down to Jesus also thought it was impossible at one time. But they are now living lives of victory — not perfection, but victory over the power of sin to control their lives.
So, based on our collective wisdom which we have gleaned from the Word of God, I want to share four steps to a new life. We talk about marriage a lot, but these steps are for all sinners. In fact, faithful and seasoned people of God follow these steps every day — God will empower you.
Every now and then, I hear a preacher or see a roadside sign that angrily screams out this word: REPENT! As if it were a dirty word. As if the speaker or the sign-maker had a leg up on everyone else.
But repentance is not a negative word. It’s the first step in your walk with God toward wholeness and healing. It is not mere regret, but it is a call to action. It is our decision to act then follow up on what we committed to do.
Paul told Agrippa that his message was that people should “…repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds” (Acts 26:20). Repentance is an admission that I am weak, but that God can only work in the lives of those who admit their weakness, embrace it, and turn away from self-reliance to God-reliance. I encourage you to humbly and sincerely pray this prayer as a first step:
Father, I am a sinner. I plead with you to have mercy on me because I have no other hope. I have made a horrible mess of my life, but I pray that you accept my commitment to repent of my sins, turn away from self-reliance, and run to you for strength and wisdom. I also plead with you to empower me to follow through on this decision as I make it anew every day for the rest of my life.
Sin leaves a very ugly stain — every single time. There are no exceptions to this rule. Hurt, anger, sinful tendencies, resentments, and a host of other negative things lurk in our flesh and threaten to resurrect themselves at a moment’s notice. But the good news that arises out of the message of Jesus is that we can be free of the control of these things.
It’s really quite simple. I didn’t say “easy,” but I did say simple. The gospel is never complicated. One word: RELEASE! Let it go! It’s been nailed to the cross — all of it.
Remember the sinful woman (probably a prostitute) in Luke 7 who wept at Jesus’ feet, dried his feet with her hair, and poured expensive perfume on his feet? The religious people (the ones who scream at others to repent but refuse to repent themselves) judged the actions of the woman and judged Jesus for letting a “sinner” wash his feet. Jesus’ response was a dagger in the heart of the self-righteous — “Her many sins have been forgiven — for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
When you and I begin to understand that the cumulative weight of our sins, our extensive rap sheet in the court of God, was completely wiped out by the one who paid our debt, release is almost automatic. Pray with me on this too:Father, enable me to begin to get a glimpse of the enormous debt that I owed but that was paid in full by you. And I pray that I will release all of those things that weigh me down beginning today and continuing on until the day I take my last breath.
I know that I just told you to release your past. But we can’t really forget (even though God apparently does).
The question is, what are we going to do with the memory of our past? The answer is that we should never forget why we were forgiven. And I wasn’t forgiven because I deserved it. No! In fact, I deserved the death penalty. As a matter of fact, I was forgiven because God made me an object of his affection. And he paid the paid the debt that I owed at HIS expense. I didn’t spend a single penny on my forgiveness. The ONLY thing I have invested in the arrangement is that I fell down in humility and contrition before the cross of Christ and admitted that I was empty-handed — that I had nothing to offer. We should never forget this.
Tell the world about what God has done for you. “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”
The story you will be able to tell once God begins his mighty work in you is so important in the eternal scheme of things that even if it cost you your life, it is still worth telling. Furthermore, it is a shield against the power of Satan to bring destruction into your life when he tries to drag up your sordid past. Think about it — how can he taunt you with your past if you are openly and boldly telling the world that, even though you were once a vile and rebellious sinner, God redeemed you, washed you clean, and brought you into the Kingdom of “the Son he loves?” That story isn’t about you — it’s about the power of God to change lives.
Don’t let today’s opportunity pass you by. Embrace God’s plan to save you — to make something beautiful out of the mess you made.