I Samuel 12:20-24 – And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart; and do not turn aside after useless things that cannot profit or save, for they are useless. For the Lord will not cast away his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. Moreover as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve him faithfully with all your heart; for consider what great things he has done for you.
Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil
“Forget this; I’ve already messed up so badly, why bother?” Have you ever felt that way? You’ve sinned, you feel bad about it, but you don’t turn away from the sin. Sometimes our shame from our sin is exactly what helps to keep us in our sin. Maybe this hasn’t happened to you, and I hope it hasn’t, but it has happened to me. I have sinned and then said, well I crossed that line, now what’s the difference. What does it matter if I change my ways, people will always know me for that sin. These are lies by the way. The devil wants us to hold on to our sin. Satan will use whatever he can to keep us from standing in the grace of God. When we act like this, whether it is a brush with the law, drinking, sex, drugs or using profanity, we do not have to remain in the sin. You and I have not gone beyond God’s grace. We can’t. We can never go so far that God cannot redeem us. His mercy and grace are waiting for us. We don’t have to fear the wrath of God or the judgement of people, because when we repent and turn from our sin, God is faithful with His mercy and grace.
Do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart
We need to keep our focus on the Lord. When we’re tempted to say we’re a hopeless case, our focus is on ourselves. We’re saying we’re too far gone, we’ve made too big of mistakes, but as Christians, we don’t need to fear how far gone we are or how big our mistakes are, because God, who is capable of all things is bigger than our mistakes. He can forgive us and give us mercy beyond any of our failures. So what are we to do when we realize we are in the midst of sin? We need to serve the Lord with all our heart. We need to refocus. We need to keep our eyes on God. It’s important that we surround ourselves with people who feel the same way about God. We need to have Christian friends and acquaintances who will hold us accountable and point us back towards God when we go astray. The Lord can use our friends to redirect us back to Him when the sins and pleasures of this world distract us from God.
Do not turn aside after useless things that cannot profit or save, for they are useless
Our world is very focused on ourselves. We talk about what we have achieved for ourselves. What we want. What we deserve. But outside of God, everything else is useless. With God, all things have more meaning. It isn’t wrong to be successful, but if it distracts us from our Lord and His saving grace it is. It isn’t wrong to be in love with someone, but if it distracts us from God, it is wrong. The good in this world is only good as long as we are focused on God. It is only good because of what God has done for us. Without the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, all our works are like dirty rags. Our accomplishments, our money, our legacies are nothing without them being centered on Jesus Christ. Only with God at the center of our actions can anything be “good”. God is the source of all goodness.
Only fear the Lord, and serve him faithfully with all your heart; for consider what great things he has done for you.
God has done so much for us. We need to put God at the top of our list and serve Him. Put Him at the center of your life and things will change. You can be sure of that. Some people won’t like it. Some people will disown you. Some people will ridicule you, but we can stand strong, because the Lord is good and will bring us through all trouble and we will be able to enjoy eternal life with Him in heaven. God has made sure, through Jesus’ death and resurrection, that we will be blessed for all eternity. He is not going to get rid of those who love Him, who put Him first in their lives. He loves us, and because He loves us, we are free to serve Him in everything we do. Because of His love, we are free to turn from our sin, not become a hopeless case. He can turn our lives around. When we put Him first, changes will be made in our lives. By His strength and mercy, we no longer have to give in to things that are destructive. We can live free of the burden of our sin, and stand strong in the grace and forgiveness provided by our Lord Jesus Christ. Stand free. Stand Strong. Turn from Sin. Cling to Him.