Excuses, excuses, excuses! We live in an excuse-prone society. Criminals are excused from crimes because society supposedly did them an 'injustice'. High-ranking government officials are excused from their actions because of their positions. Crooks and thieves are excused from paying honest debts due to the lenient bankruptcy laws.
Unfortunately that attitude is not only used by the world, it is becoming more prevalent among Christians. Many will excuse their disobedience in the matter of tithing by saying they just can't afford it. Others excuse their failure to read their Bibles and pray by saying they just don't have time. It is sad to say, but Christians are just giving up and quitting too easily.
All of us have problems...but our problems do not excuse us from living godly lives and obeying God's Word. Overcoming problems is a daily task, and it is the responsibility of every believer to become a problem solver, not use our problems as excuses!
I. The Problem of a Bad Childhood.
A. Consider the possibilities.
1. Parents divorce and children must deal with all that is involved.
2. Parents are unsaved and involved in all sorts of sinful activity.
3. Child abuse whether physical, mental, or emotional.
4. Homes where alcoholism or drug use creates constant turmoil.
5. These are all terrible situations and I'm sure we could come up with others...but note:
B. Consider the inconsistencies.
1. One Christian from a less than desirable background uses it to excuse their own sinful behavior.
2. Another Christian from a nearly identical background uses it as a motivation to serve God and minister to others.
3. The difference: one chooses to use it as an excuse the other chooses to deal with the problem and use it for God's glory!
C. Note a biblical example:
1. Read: Judges 11:1-2
2. Jephthah had a difficult childhood.
3. His mother was a harlot, a strange woman, or by the terms of today, a prostitute.
4. As if that wasn't enough, he was disowned and disinherited by his family because of it.
5. Jephthah didn't sit around complaining and feeling sorry for himself.
6. The Bible records that "The Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah" and God greatly used him.
7. He is listed in God's Hall of Faith chapter, Hebrews 11:32.
II. The Problem of Past Failures.
A. There are many "used to be's" who have used their past failures as an excuse of why they are not serving God now!
1. Sin is definitely destructive in the life of a Christian.
2. But God has an answer for the problem of sin! cf 1Jn. 1:9
3. Confession and repentance will bring God's forgiveness!
4. Throughout the Scriptures our life as a believer is compared to a walk, and there will be times that we stumble and maybe fall flat on our face...but don't quit!
B. Another biblical example:
1. David once again comes to mind when we think about personal failure.
2. After his moral downfall he could have given up.
3. He could have questioned, "How could God ever use me again?"
4. Instead he repented before God and found that God's grace was sufficient to bring healing to his broken heart and that he could serve God again!
C. Life is not over after one failure.
1. We serve a God who is longsuffering toward us.
2. He forgives and forgives us!
III. What we need to do:
A. Stop making excuses.
1. Quit shifting the blame to others.
2. Accept our circumstances and position.
3. Instead of making excuses for our actions, we need to change behavior!
B. Start calling sin by name and confess it before God.
1. Instead of complaining about being in debt, let's confess that we have been poor stewards and often guilty of covetousness.
2. Confess the sin of anger rather than saying, "I shouldn't have yelled."
3. Rather than saying, "I don't have time." admit before God that you are guilty of loving pleasure more than His Word.
4. Apply God's answer to sin! "Confess, repent, and find forgiveness."
C. Forget your past and build toward the future.
1. Determine right now to put an end to all 'pity parties'.
2. Nothing can change the past, but we are responsible for our present and for our future!
3. It is time to move forward for the Lord.
D. Remember, God Can Change Us!
1. It is sinful and a mark of immaturity to say, "That's just the way I am."
2. We serve a great God.
3. He gives us the victory through Christ. cf 1Co. 15:57
4. Our limitations are God's opportunities to show Himself mighty in our lives.
5. Jas. 1:22 says, "Be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only".
Let's quit making excuses for why we cannot serve God, and start serving Him with all of our might. Let's determine to become problem solvers...not excuse makers!