Links Daily Devotional

Out of Excuses

Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. (Deuteronomy 30:11, NIV)

So we’re walking down the eighth fairway, my buddy and I, a few paces after he has hit maybe his worst tee shot of the year, a sizzling pull-top about 20 yards left into a tree. (Hey, at least he had a swing on the next one!)

He looks at me and shows me these little plastic protrusions on the tray of his push cart, a device he uses only occasionally. “I keep catching my shorts on these dumb little things,” he says. Then, with his best comic timing, he adds: “That’s why I’m playing so poorly.”

Yes, yes, his tongue was in his cheek. But in that instant it reminded me on the serious side of how excellent we are at making excuses. Excuses for our sin. Excuses for our mediocrity. Excuses for not being where we should be, for the people we should be, at the time they need us most. Certainly we all have friends—if we’re not that “friend” ourselves—who have every reason they are not doing what’s healthy for them. It’s painful to hear and hard to hold your tongue in response, an exercise in grace and humility.

Why do we do this? Why are we so quick to make allowances for ourselves? In fact, it is a refrain of our culture to declare something “hard” and forgive every lack of commitment and action thereafter.

Now let’s stop and notice the big lesson for today. Are you ready? You are not doing it—whatever it is—because you are not doing it.

It really is that simple. When Moses shared the whole of God’s law (no small list!) with God’s people, he told them plainly, “This is not too difficult. You can do this!”

Maybe that’s the very word you need to hear today. If you’re tempted to look at the challenges before you and say, “Forget it, I’m doing it my way,” and then offer up a host of excuses as to why, meditate on these words of Moses.

What God asks us to do is not beyond our reach. He will not, in Paul’s reiteration of the same idea to the Corinthians, allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). He will give us the strength we need, show us the way through a challenge, walk us each step of the way. Look: “The word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it” (Deuteronomy 30:14). What God wants from us, he makes possible for us to do. And maybe that is the real big lesson for today!

Jeff Hopper
October 10, 2013
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