Proverbs 24:12 If you say, “Surely we did not know this,” Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds? (NKJV)
(Previous devotionals can be found at www.seriousfaith.com)
As humans we have a natural tendency to make excuses for our failures. That tendency is even more aggravated today in our culture of “victimization.”
There is a popular commercial that encapsulates the absurd extreme this has come to. An announcer comes on the screen saying, “Are you overweight? It’s not your fault. Just buy our product and you will get the body you have always deserved!” I was so relieved that the jelly doughnut I was finishing off had nothing to do with the spare tire around my waist. I had always suspected it was not my fault I was overweight – and now I had the proof!
We can play these silly games as a society, with each other and sadly, even in our churches, but we cannot play them with God. The all-knowing, all-seeing, all powerful Creator of the universe is not fooled nor amused at the excuses we make for our failures and neglect. Society would have us believe it’s not our fault that we are undisciplined, addicted, lazy, overweight, fearful, or ignorant. It makes us feel better when we can point to the “experts” who validate that is not “our fault.”
As Christians, God does not leave us without guidance or the ability to overcome our weaknesses. Whatever God asks of us, He empowers us to do, taking away our excuses:
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (NKJV; emphasis mine)
It is no excuse to continually dwell on the past and allow the past to be the source of future failure:
Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (NKJV; emphasis mine)
It is no excuse to believe that God has not forgiven you for what you have done in the past and allowing this to become your excuse for not doing what God would have you do today:
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (NKJV; emphasis mine)
It is no excuse to say that you have sinned too much for too long and that you cannot start over:
Lamentations 3:21-23 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. (NKJV; emphasis mine)
As Christians we cannot use the excuse that we are afraid to do God’s will and be to conformed to the image of His Son:
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (NKJV; emphasis mine)
The writer of Proverbs tells us that we cannot say to God “I didn’t know.” Didn’t know what? We cannot claim that we didn’t know how to be godly, how to be holy, or how to be righteous. We cannot claim that we didn’t know not to be undisciplined or fearful or weak or hopeless. God has given us everything we need to live this life:
2 Peter 1:3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue (NKJV; emphasis mine)
And God has promised that through his Word and prayer he will give us the wisdom to understand these things:
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (NKJV; emphasis mine)
That is why we will be without excuse when we stand before God as He “renders to each man according to his deeds.” There are two ways to embrace this teaching. The negative way would be to look at God as some harsh taskmaster who will really beat us up for all of our mistakes and failures the day we stand before Him. Or, the positive and correct way to view this is to realize that God, because He loves us so much, has given us everything that we need to live a life pleasing to Him so that He may reward us to the greatest degree on that wonderful and fearful day when we will give an account for our life.
Matthew 25:21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ (NKJV; emphasis mine)
Holy God, help us to learn not to make excuses but to understand and embrace all that you have already provided everything that we need to live a faithful and godly life that is pleasing to you. May we put away our excuses and open up your word. In Jesus name, Amen
Contemplation: Have you fallen for the “excuse” or “victim” mentality of today? Do you always have a “reason” for everything you have done wrong or for the things that you should do that you do not do? Have you ever thought about God’s response to the excuses? Have you ever imagined that day when God will ask you “why?”
Application: God is not the God of excuses. He has taken away every excuse we have by providing us with forgiveness when we do fail and with every spiritual empowerment that we need to succeed.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?