086. What Good Are My Past Mistakes?

24 Jan, 2013

There’s another aspect of Romans 8:28 that I wanted to hit on.  When God says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,” this also includes our own sins – our own mistakes.  Like eating at Taco Bell.

How in the world can God use our sins for good? I’ll give you one major example of people using sin for good – Testimonies.  The most powerful testimonies are the ones where people say, I was an alcoholic or I was a heroin addict or I used to eat at Taco Bell and God delivered me.

Unfortunately for us humans – we sometimes have to learn from mistakes.  Sometimes we have to make those mistakes over and over before we realize we’re being dum. No one intentionally says, “I’m going to make really stupid decisions today,” or “I’m planning on getting in crippling financial debt,” or “I’m going to try to ruin my relationships with my family or friends.”  But we make mistakes all the time.

Eventually we get to the point where our sin make us so unhappy that we finally recognize it and try to get out of it. Hopefully it’s not at the point where we’ve completely destroyed relationships with the people closest to us.

If you can fast forward past the present mistakes and see how God got you out of it you’ll see a couple things:

1. That you know God better

2. That you’ll be able to tell others about God’s grace and faithfulness to other people who are making similar mistakes. People take things better from people who understand them. If someone is struggling with overeating, they probably don’t want to hear anything from me since I’m a supermodel and could care less about food (as along as it doesn’t have ‘bacon’ somewhere in its name).  I would make a poor minister to them.  But someone else who has dealt with or is dealing with overeating will minister to them better than I, even if I by chance I might be the one who might know the Bible more.

2 Cor 1:4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God

A lot of times ministry is relational.  It’s personal.  It’s a connection. And your mistakes help shape your connections in the future.

So what do we do?

Think of the things that still bother you, that give you guilt.

1. First, if you haven’t already, ask God for forgiveness for your mistakes… which brings about submission, humility and peace.

2. Second, understand that God can turn it around for good (Romans 8:28)… which brings about hope.

3. Third, figure out the change you need to make in your heart. The change isn’t, “I’m going to stop spending money so I don’t get into credit card debt again.” Real change is, “Because I love God, I will try to grow in self-control so I don’t buy a bunch of crap.”

That third part has three layers…

a. You are making change with the right motive – love for God

b. You identified what spiritual trait (fruit of the spirit) you lacked that caused the mistake

c. You link your deficiency of a spiritual trait with a particular behavior or situation.

So now when you pray about overcoming your mistakes, you have something to pray about.  You pray that God will help you with that particular fruit of the spirit as it relates to a particular behavior or situation. So what good are our past mistakes? We can grow closer to God.  

But not only that, as you are overcoming your own mistakes you now have the knowledge to be able to communicate your own struggle with someone else who may be going through something similar. Through our mistakes we can grow closer to God AND we can bring others closer to him as well. We deal with so many sins that if you keep your eyes and ears open, that there’s someone out there that you can relate to that needs your help.

And if you can’t find anyone to minister to just hang around Taco Bell.  Just wait a few minutes, and they’ll need someone to minister to them.

2CO 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, [4] who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. [5] For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows

Today’s Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness Take Time to Pray: Ask God for humility to see your own sin and the openness to be able to share that with others in order to minister to them.