Pure Joy – Conclusion – Regrets

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1 Corinthians 15:9 MSG
9  It was fitting that I bring up the rear. I don’t deserve to be included in that inner circle, as you well know, having spent all those early years trying my best to stamp God’s church right out of existence.

Philippians 3:13-14 KJV
13  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

When I was younger, late teens early twenties, I probably never thought about the term ‘regrets’.

Now that I have more years behind me than that which is in front of me, I can say, ‘regrets I’ve had a few’.  However, dwelling on should’ve, could’ve, would’ve, leaves me in a state of just spinning wheels.  Someone once said, ‘you can’t move forward if you are always looking in the rear view mirror’.

The Apostle Paul, formerly Saul of Tarsus, was one who had many regrets. It was him that gave consent for the stoning of Stephen.

Acts 7:54-60 KJV
54  When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.
55  But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
56  And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
57  Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
58  And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.
59  And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
60  And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Acts 8:1-3 KJV
1  And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
2  And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
3  As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

Yes, the Apostle had much to feel regret about.  I believe this is why he wrote in his letter to the church in Corinth.

2 Corinthians 12:7-9 KJV
7  And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

I can imagine that in his mind he could hear the screams of those Christians who he had part in their deaths.  Christ gave him the tool to battle this, ‘grace‘.

The apostle Paul gave us insight on how to fight this battle while in his letter to the Philippians.

2 Corinthians 12:7-9 KJV
7  And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

We cannot escape the trials and tribulations while in the flesh on this earth, but we can have pure joy in our spirit that keeps us moving forward.  Yes, we will have our moments of sadness, grief, even anger, yet none of these things can keep us down.

We can know ‘pure joy’ for the Scripture is true, “the joy of the Lord is my strength”!

Nehemiah 8:10(d) …for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

 

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