Go back to Bethel
What should we do when we’re discouraged and afraid we’ve lost our way? That’s the question Jacob was facing. Here’s the answer he got when he turned his heart towards God: ‘“Go up to Bethel…build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.” So Jacob said to his household and all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone”’ (v.1-3 NIV). Bethel means ‘the place where God dwells’. So Jacob went back to the place where he had met God, where he had received a vision of his future, and where he had first experienced the joy of living in a relationship with the Lord. When we’ve messed up and don’t know where to turn, let’s go back to Bethel, to where we first met God. We don’t have to go back to a physical place, but we need to think back to those first joyful moments when we accepted God into our lives, and remember why we believe and trust Him. Do what the Scripture says: ‘In view of God’s mercy…offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will’ (Romans 12:1-2 NIV).
Think about when you first became a Christian. Write down any emotions or thought you can remember having, and anything God said or any promises He made to you. Keep your notes and re-read them whenever you feel you messed things up, to take you back to that new beginning with God.
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