One Step Back

Oct. 11, 2021

Scripture Readings

As someone who recently turned 40, you can quickly realize I was raised in the 1980s. For much of my life, the 80’s have been viewed as an odd time, until recently, when fashions, music, and trends from my childhood have made a return.

Another aspect of turning 40 that hits a lot of people is the opportunity to reflect on the first four decades of life. Being raised in a Christian home, I have always known that Christians are called to follow Christ through the reading of his word and implementing it. Passages like the ones in 1 Thessalonians and Proverbs were commonplace in both my home and school. Sexual sin, laziness, gossip, and treating our bodies poorly were just some of the behaviours I was taught to avoid. I have had varied levels of success accomplishing this throughout my life.

The great news in knowing Christ and being loved by him is that we are only one step away from turning back to him. As I enter my fifth decade on earth, I realize that the rules I was taught as a youngster were not bad, I was just interpreting them through a less mature lens and a heart that had not been transformed by Jesus. As I went over the mountains and into the valleys that life inevitably brings, I realized following the way of Jesus brought me into closer relationship with him. He is our creator. We are created in his image. We function at our best when we surrender our fleshly desires to him and let him transform our hearts and souls.

I resonate with the scripture where Paul writes ‘everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial’ (1 Corinthians 6). As an adult with free will who has made good and bad decisions, my daily rhythm begins with surrendering my will to God, dedicating my thoughts and actions to him, and trusting him with my decisions and my heart. When I do that, reading a passage like 1 Thessalonians 4 or Proverbs 24 does not read like a list of rules for Christians, but rather, a reminder of what a heart turned to Jesus should yearn for. May this be an encouragement to you today that wherever you are in this journey, God is one step away and the way of Jesus brings peace, joy, love, forgiveness, mercy, and a changed life.

Ryan Reed