Spoke last night for two of the great Youth Pastors in St Paul, MN. It was a wonderful night. Before the night started, while in pre-service prayer James shared with me some incredible insights God had been showing him, I couldn't help but share with you:
Nehemiah is an incredible book, written during a time much darker spiritually than we live in today. The people had forgotten the book of the Lord completely. They literally had to dig it out.
When they read it for the first time in decades, people began to weep and moan under great conviction. They had previously had nothing to guide them - nothing to show them the way of God. Thank the Lord we have his Scriptures in our lives - how lost we would be without them.
Surprisingly, Ezra and Nehemiah stood before the people and said, "'This day is sacred to the Lord you God. Do not mourn or weep.' For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. Nehemiah said, 'Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength' ... then all the people went away ... to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them" (Nehemiah 8:9-12, NIV).
We Christians are famous for beating ourselves up (and sometimes beating up others), but there is a Scriptural time to STOP.
Stop beating yourself up. Yes, the conviction of God comes on you when you go to church or read the Scriptures. Rather than seeing your failure - rejoice that you now know and understand the words of God in your life. Go celebrate. The joy of the Lord is our strength and we need strength for the journey. So live in a place of joy, after you have repented.