by: Carole L. Haines
24 But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. 25 “And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. 26 Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. (Acts 20:24-27)
Can you even imagine the freedom of such a thing, a life without regrets? I don’t know of a single person who has lived a life like that. Is it even possible? Yes, in Jesus, I do believe it is. It will never be a life without mistakes, but we can trust God to work beyond our mistakes and teach us to live without regret. The Apostle Paul was not a man with a sketchy past, but he made mistakes. Here is how he describes himself: If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. (Philippians 3:4-6)
That’s quite a list, like all those framed Diplomas hanging on a person’s office wall. But Paul goes on to express how he feels about his past mistakes and achievements:
7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things; and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him. I love what Oswald Chambers says about a life of faith:
If there is only one strand of faith amongst all the corruption within us, God will take hold of that one strand. (from Not Knowing Whither, 888)
A life without regret requires trusting God to be bigger than my mistakes, bigger than my achievements; just plain bigger than all of it. We can only be who we are, having gone through what we’ve gone through. God desires truth in the innermost being (Ps. 51:6), and he desires us to be genuine, honest, and transparent. I love how Paul puts it: 9 For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain. (1 Corinthians 15 NASB) Amen, by the grace of God, we are what we are, and His grace will not prove vain for any of us either. God doesn’t waste a single drop of our lives. Every tear we cry, every pain we bear; all the scrapes, bumps and bruises along the way, will shine out to the world His Glory. Our weakness, our brokenness reflects His strength and wholeness. It is impossible to live a life without mistakes, but quite possible to live a life without regrets. The difference between despair and joy is embracing The Grace of God for our lives. All of it, every single, tiny, little thing in our life is fodder for the fire of God’s Glory. He is not called our Redeemer for nothing. He redeems it all, so give it all to Him. Don’t try to pretty it up, make it less than it is. Don’t try to paint it a different color or look at it through rose-colored glasses. By the Grace of God, you are what you are, and I am what I am. But Precious Brother and Sister in Christ; His grace will not prove vain, not ever. We will shine His Glory to the world by way of the very things the world tries to make us feel shame over. What a Mighty God we serve. Praise His Precious and Holy Grace. Bask in it, let it saturate your every pore. It is yours. Jesus paid a precious price to give it to you, His own life. Receive, then, what is already yours, a life without regrets.