What steps are you taking, and where are your steps taking you? Have they taken you somewhere unwise, unhealthy, ungodly? We have all been there. Actually, some of us are probably there right now. There is not one of us who has not chosen poorly. We make a mess of things. We make blunders and do foolish things. And then we wish our actions could be undone. We want to have a do-over, another chance. Other times, though, we willingly plunge headlong into sin. We think it’s cool, fun, trendy, harmless, or even expected. We think it hurts no one, not even ourselves, but the truth is, it does. It grieves the heart of God. It wounds those who watch us as an example. It disappoints those who thought we were something more. It dashes the hopes of those who were striving to become like us. And it keeps us from being who God created us to be.
Each decision we make, each action we take, has a consequence and brings us toward a destination. Where we are heading matters but so does where we are right now. And sometimes, we are somewhere we ought not to be. But although we cannot unsay what we have said, unsee what we have seen, undo what we have done, or change where we have gone, at this moment, we can turn our lives around and say something else, see something else, go somewhere else, and do something else with the time we have remaining in life. We can step in a new direction to come into alignment with what is right and good. We do not have to remain trapped in the wreckage. God’s hand is there to guide us out, every step of the way.
Every day is a new day, and God’s mercies are new every morning. So, if we failed yesterday—or even earlier today—we have the opportunity to be forgiven, to be made new, to be washed anew in the mercy of God. If we have failed in our weakness, we can let Him be our strength to move forward. If we have strayed off the path He has laid out before us, we can reroute our steps to match His. If we have been caught up in the ways of the world, we can be caught up in God’s arms just as the prodigal son was caught up in the arms of his father. If we have been wandering aimlessly, we can instead trust God to direct our steps. If we have unhealthy habits, He can heal us. If we have fallen into the depths of despair, He can raise us up to the mountaintop of joy. If we have been beaten down, He can pick us up. He is the cure for what ails us. What we are not, He is. He completes us. He is perfection. He supplies every need. And we can do all things through Him, including turn around.
Look at the life of Paul the Apostle. He said he sinned and did the things he hated to do and didn’t do the right things he wanted to do.1 We are just like him in this manner. We all struggle. We all keep messing up. We get set in perpetual patterns of sin. We have habitual hang-ups. But we also have the remedy for all of this available to us—Jesus. With Him, we can say we once were _____, but now we are _____. Saul, a persecutor of Christians, became Paul, the Christian missionary. And huge changes like he experienced all those years ago still happen today. For example, an extremist in Asia who used to persecute Christians has become a pastor and church planter, ministering to the very ones he used to persecute and sharing Christ with the ones he used to be like. An enemy of God has become His friend. A hearer of the Word has become a doer of it. A lost one is now found. A blind one now sees. An old man has become a new man. An old creation is now a new creation. The hopeless has become hopeful. The joyless has become joyful. The one who had wandered aimlessly is now moving with purpose. And all of these things can be true of us as well. This is the difference Jesus can make in a life. He can completely turn it around. There are so many possibilities, we cannot even imagine them all. But we do not need to imagine them, they can be realized:
- If we are headed toward hell, we can change our destination. We can turn to Jesus for salvation and join Him in heaven for all eternity.
- If we have been humiliated, we can have our heads lifted.
- If the breath has been knocked out of us, He can breathe new life into us.
- We can move from being lame to leaping in praise.
If we realize we are in a negative way, heading down a wrong path, making poor choices, and neglecting to follow the One true God, we can make a change. This is the turnaround. The place where we move from being a graceless wretch to a grace-covered child. We can’t start life back at the beginning, or somewhere during the last year, last month, last week, or last hour—we can’t undo what we have done—but we can make a change right where we are now. We can access God’s grace and forgiveness and seek His help to move forward.
Today is a new day, and it doesn’t have to look like yesterday. This hour is a new hour, and it doesn’t have to look like the previous one. This moment is a new moment, and we can choose a new direction. We can turn around. It’s not too late. If we have forgotten God, we can now remember Him. If we have turned our backs on Him, we can now turn and look upon His beautiful face. We can leave the darkness behind and enter into His glorious light. He is gracious and merciful, forgiving and compassionate.
Let today be the day of the turnaround.
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.2
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.3
The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.4
1 See Romans 7:15–25.
2 Philippians 3:13–14
3 Galatians 2:20
4 Psalm 138:8
Scriptures taken from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.
©Text and photo Francee Strain, June 30, 2022