No Regrets: Live the Life You Were Made For

Introduction:

If you are like most people, it is easy to look to our past and have regrets. Choices we made, things we did, words we spoke, friends we betrayed, people we let down and so on. There are regrets we can laugh about later and regrets that haunt us. Regret can be a powerful barrier to living the life you want. It’s never too late, however, to turn your life around. You can live a life without the burden of regrets.

Bottom Line: Live in the moment through specific turning points.

Something To Talk About:

Do we really understand regret? We all have negative experiences, bad decisions we have made in life. We learn to live with those experiences, but are we able to live with the regret? Can we come to grip with the experiences and release the regret? If we can understand regret, then by God’s grace we don’t have to carry it with us. Ask yourself this defining question: How would I decide/react/change/do if I had 30 days to live? 

  1. Turn when into now:  On Sunday, we talked about when’s and nows; that is turning your when’s into nows. Often now never arrives. A Biblical example of this is Nehemiah. Nehemiah wept over the destruction in Jerusalem, and his grief led to action. Not content to respond from a distance, he traveled to Jerusalem to tackle the problem firsthand. It is an example of going from “I’m fixing” to identifying what needs to be done and doing something today. We always think we have more time than we do. But one day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to work on the things we’ve always wanted to do. We need to be in the now or we will find ourselves with regrets.   
  2. Turn intentions into actions: A week ago, we talked about our vision for Northstar going forward. A vision must address a fundamental question: “How do I convert the ideas on paper into decisions and actions that will make a difference and bring about needed change?” We have to ask ourselves the same question. We start with good intentions. Most everyone has good intentions. But few people have a real road map to turn intentions into actions. We need to remember that time is short. Without action we often continue a cycle of intentions that will lead to more regrets that weigh heavily on us in the future. God’s best will not happen without great intentionality. If I had 30 days to live would I be intending to do something I need to do, or would I be doing it?
  3. Turn my whole heart toward Jesus.  Life is filled with regret, with mistakes we wish we could undo, with unexpected challenges and trials that can all cause our hearts to become callused. It can seem impossible to be whole-hearted for anything, let alone God. We want to give Jesus part of our heart, but not all of it. God wants all of our heart and His love paves the way to give our hearts completely to him if we follow His word. God wants us to give him the best of everything we have to offer. It means we follow God with a heart full of worship, expressing our awe of Him for His faithfulness toward us. He will never forsake you, Joshua 1:5 says, “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.”

Questions:

  1. What stood out to you from the message this past weekend? Where did it feel like God was saying something specific about your life?
  2. What’s the most practical way to determine if it’s time to turn your concern into action? What is prayer’s role in this process?
  3. James 2 encourages us to live out our faith in tangible, practical ways. Why is your faith “dead and useless” if it isn’t put into action?
  4. What does it mean to love God with all your heart?
  5. What practical response do you feel like God is calling you to based on this week’s message of living in the moment through specific turning points? 

Take One Thing Home with You

The longer we are a Christian, the more we seem to migrate from being an astronaut to an archaeologist. When you are a young Christian, you are launching into world’s unknown, excited about the decisions of life and ministry before you. You are also excited about your possibilities and the opportunities that God will give you as you move in a direction that is both new and rewarding. 

But as you get older in the faith, you begin to look back at least as much as you look forward. As you look back, you tend to dig through the mound of the civilization that was your past life, looking for mistakes, bad decisions, moments you lost your temper, failures, shortcoming and sin. You can’t help but assess your walk with God with some of those uncovered bones from your past where you wish that you could take back words you have said, decisions you have made, or actions you have taken.

If we are honest, we would have to admit that no one can stand up and say, “I did everything just right.” We are flawed. But we don’t need to be defensive or work to minimize or deny our failures. We don’t have to undergo some historical revisionism to make ourselves look better than we actually are. And we don’t have to be paralyzed by remorse and regret. 

The truth is we can stare our failures in the face and be unafraid. We can face our most regretful moments and not be devastated.  We can do these things because we have learned that our hope in life is not in the purity of our lives or the perfection of our actions. We can face that we are sinners and rest because we know that God is a God of mercy, hope, forgiveness and new beginnings.