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Dream Again! Dream Anew!

Guest blog: Former journalist Nancy Gavilanes was called by God to leave her promising career to encourage others to step into their God-given destiny and make a difference in the world. In her book, God-Given Dreams, she speaks directly to the heart, offering hope and encouragement through six transformative truths—that believers are Created, Called, Chosen, Conformed, Clothed, and Commissioned.

Living for Christ doesn’t mean we’re doomed to a boring life.

On the contrary, there’s nothing more satisfying than living at the center of God’s will for our lives.

Being set apart for God means we rely on God to adjust any attitudes, habits, or characteristics that don’t reflect our identity as God’s beloved daughters.

I’ve got bad news and good news, so get ready. The bad news is that we’re going to look at different types of sin and talk about God’s discipline. The good news is that we’re going to look at sin through the lens of the hope and redemption we have in Jesus.

Our character and integrity (who we are behind closed doors, or how we act when we think no one is watching) matter more to God than our good works.

We All Have Fallen Short

People don’t like to talk about sin, but we can’t ignore it. As the Bible says in Romans 3:22-24, we all sin:

There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

No one is perfect. Struggling with sin is part of the human experience. We are tempted to sin daily. Remember: Jesus was tempted in every way but was without sin. He understands our weakness and can deliver us from our sinful ways when we ask Him for help.

Ephesians 4:29-32 gives us a glimpse of how Christians should live:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

If we’re struggling with anything mentioned in this Scripture or in other Bible verses we encounter, let’s not gloss over it. Instead, let’s pay attention as the Holy Spirit convicts us or tells us where we’re falling short.

On the other hand, let’s not allow the enemy to condemn us and bury us in shame and regret. The Bible gives us good news. We have a Savior who will forgive us when we confess, repent, and ask for His forgiveness, as we read in 1 John 1:8-10:

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

When we receive God’s forgiveness, He wipes our slates clean.

Whenever old or new temptations pop up, we can run to Jesus for help.

Jesus is our advocate, as the beloved disciple John pointed out in 1 John 2:1-2:

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

God knows we’re human and prone to wander and be tempted by sin. He hasn’t left us alone or defenseless. Jesus, who is perfect and sinless, paid the penalty for our sins. Let’s grab hold of that truth.

We were still sinners when Christ died for us. We don’t deserve that kind of mercy or grace. There’s no way we can repay that debt, and Jesus doesn’t expect us to. We can’t do enough good works to earn God’s forgiveness. We need to receive God’s gift of forgiveness and live like Him by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Talking about sin isn’t easy, but the sooner we confess our sin to Jesus, the sooner we’ll experience His forgiveness. Romans 8:1-2 states:

“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

Growing and Maturing in Christ

Ever wonder why the Bible doesn’t gloss over people’s sin? For example, we read about how the Israelites rebelled against God and committed idolatry and sexual immorality and so much more. Their sins were recorded to serve as warnings to us, so that we could see ourselves in God’s bigger story, understand our need for Jesus’ sacrifice, and long for the grace He provides.

There were consequences for the Israelites’ sinful ways, and there are consequences for our sinful ways.

But we don’t have to follow in their rebellious footsteps.

Let’s learn from the Israelites’ example. Instead of grumbling and complaining against God and trying to test Him, let’s trust and obey Him even during the hard times. As we face different trials and temptations, we will grow and mature, and our Christlike character will continue to develop.

Let’s look at some of the many benefits of this process. Hebrews 12:4-11 says it’s a sign of love when God disciplines us:

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline— then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

God disciplines us, or teaches and trains us, because we are His children. We don’t have to fear God. He disciplines us with love so that we can become more like Him.

Like Father, like daughter.

If thinking of God as your heavenly Father is difficult because of your experience with your earthly parents, remember that God loves you unconditionally. God is love, and “

[His] perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).

Empowered by God’s love, we can live out the divine call on our lives.

May Romans 12:1-2 be a guiding passage for us all as we try to discover God’s will for our lives:

I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

May we worship God with our whole being and be a living sacrifice unto Him. And may we allow God to renew our minds so our thinking can align with His.

Scripture tells us that we’re called to love God, to love our neighbors as ourselves, to serve and pray for one another, to help the poor and needy and oppressed, and to encourage one another. We’re called to keep the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus, including the Beatitudes and Jesus’ instruction to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. We’re called to pray for our leaders and to act justly, kindly, and mercifully toward others, including widows, orphans, foreigners, the elderly, the sick, the imprisoned—the least of these. We’re called to extend grace to others, offer hospitality, give generously, and forgive one another.

Much of this can seem impossible or contrary to our human nature, but God’s grace is sufficient. God will help us walk in His ways.

Remember: When we sin or miss the mark in some area, we shouldn’t hide from what we’ve done. Instead, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to lovingly convict us of our sinful ways so we can repent, ask Jesus for forgiveness, and start fresh.

Nancy Gavilanes is an accomplished writer, a gifted communicator, and a passionate evangelist and Bible school instructor who loves to encourage, empower, and inspire women of diverse backgrounds to walk by abounding faith. Nancy has a master’s degree in journalism from New York University and has written for various publications including The New York Times. Nancy is a contributing writer for Our Daily Bread Ministries and has written for SpiritLed Woman’s and Charisma’s websites. Her newest book is God-Given Dreams,

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