I know that there are things in my life that I would do differently, if I could. I am sure that you have some regrets in your life too. We cannot change the past, but we can make right choices in the present that would lead us to a time in the future with no regrets. The challenge is not to focus on the past, but to work on making Godly choices this moment.
This week we launched a new topical series that I am calling “No Excuses.” The full title is “Live with no excuses, Love with No Regrets”. If you are interested in listening, you can find the sermons here. The key is to make the right choices now so that there are no future regrets. The way that we do that is by following God’s instruction for our lives. The Bible speaks to every major area of our lives directly or indirectly (through Biblical principles, the ministry of the Holy Spirit and personal convictions). We will be looking at Biblical accounts of those that made the wrong choices and made excuses for their behavior, with the desire to learn from others. This past week we began by looking at the account of Cain and Abel.
There are several insights that stand out to me from this passage and I have covered a number of them in the sermon. There is one I want to focus on and that is a future regret for Cain. The last verse in the narrative on Cain killing his brother says this, “Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.” (Genesis 4:16) What a sad reality. I cannot imagine living without a relationship with the Creator. I did not become a Christian until I was a young adult. Yet, I cannot image the lack of purpose, direction and even hope. Yet, Cain chose to do things his way. The text does not say, but I wonder if he would do things differently, if he had a second chance.
The issue for Cain was a matter of the heart. Would he obey God’s instructions or choose to do what he thought best? The Creator even reaches out in an attempt to encourage Cain to do the right thing. “The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”” (Genesis 4:6–7) Yet, Cain chose to take out his anger toward God out on his innocent brother. And the result was the loss of God’s blessing in his life. We learn that he would struggle to make a living, he would struggle to make relationships, he would be constantly on the move and life would just be hard.
What a shame that Cain did not own his behavior and seek to make it right with God. Instead he offered excuses and more than likely lived out a life of bitterness devoid of the Lord’s blessing! I wonder how often that is true in our lives when allow our pride to blind us from own poor choices and keep us in bondage to past failures. I was reminded of the Lord’s desire for what is best in our lives. ““Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”” (Isaiah 1:18–20 )
Can I encourage you to join me in living each day with no excuses so that we can love with no regrets? The key is simply following the Lord’s instructions.
-Pastor Joe Parkinson