The word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; your reward shall be very great.”
After Abraham decided to give up all that money that the king of Sodom had offered to him, Satan began to play with Abraham. He was saying, “Abraham, are you out of your mind? That was the deal of a lifetime. Just think about what you could have done with all that money! You could have traded in that camel you have been driving for a Sodom sedan. You could have lived it up big time.” That is what “if only” does. Its focus is the past, and the result is always regret.
Now, sometimes we feel legitimate regrets for the wrong things we have done. The answer to that is accepting the grace and forgiveness of God. But the regret Abraham started to feel was not over wrong things he had done but right things he had done. He began to think, “I had all this money in my hand, and I gave it up in pursuit of some elusive future reward in eternity. Was that really the right thing to do?” So God came to Abraham and said, “I am a shield to you; your reward shall be very great” (Genesis 15:1). The only antidote to regret is the belief that God will be our reward.
Maybe you know right now what you need to do in order to obey God. Maybe God is calling you to end a relationship you know is displeasing to Him. Or God is calling you to let go of an addiction that, although it brings temporary pleasure to you, is destroying your life. Or God is calling you to obey Him regarding your finances, and to trust Him. But your fear is, “If I let go of this relationship, if I let go of this addiction, if I let go of this part of my life that is bringing me temporary pleasure, I may suffer. What if I go through life lonely? What if I go through life without my financial needs being taken care of? I do not want to spend a lifetime of regret saying, ‘If only, if only, if only.’”
God says, “The only way you are going to obey Me is if you believe with all your heart that ultimately I will reward you for your obedience to Me. I will be your reward.”
A. W. Tozer in his book “The Knowledge of the Holy” wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” The only remedy to regrets about the past and fears about the future is to know the God who promises, “I will be your shield; I will be your reward.” Do you know that God?
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Battling Believer’s Remorse” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
A. W. Tozer, “The Knowledge of the Holy” (New York: HarperCollins, 2009), 1.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org