In subsequent years, the Christian journey has been compared to a race or a marathon. An obstacle course of American Warrior-esque proportions challenging and opposing different parts and ligaments of the spiritual body.
But what happens when we keep failing a test…? What happens if a certain temptation gets the better of us over and over again, no matter how hard we try? And despair takes over, falling deeper into despair we begin to accept failure is our final destination. But here’s a reaffirming truth my friends:
I stumble. You stumble. We all stumble.
It is inevitable every single one of us will fall, hurt ourselves, suffer damage or fail to pass a course successful. What marks an upright, blameless man or woman of God is the rising, the returning to God’s presence every single time. So, always remember my friends, to prosper in your Christian journey, is to know reflection and repentance are two sides of the same coin. When you hit a slump, it is easy to beat yourself up, to condemn yourself, and to harden your heart against the calling of God’s voice. You feel ashamed and out of fear you wander away from God’s presence to hide like our forefathers (Adam and Eve) in the garden of Eden. Shame and embarrassment are natural, physical reactions to our sins, however what God does not want is for our sin and shame to lead us to darker and more desperate places. Therefore it is important for us to discern the difference between the Holy Spirit’s righteous conviction and Satan’s condemnation.
The Holy Spirit corrects and chastises us, so we learn to not make the same mistakes again, teaching us how to use God’s Word to guard ourselves against the allures of the flesh and the world. The Holy Spirit evaluates us spiritually, unbiasedly calling out the sins we secretly cherish that caused us to stumble. Jesus says in John 16:13, “13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” What makes the Holy Spirit a great teacher is He teaches us how to take personal responsibility for our actions in the light of God’s gratuitous mercy and undeserved favor. The Holy Spirit works alongside, God turning our messes into lessons, opportunities of growth and character development, which demonstrates how God is so merciful and faithful when we confess and repent of our sins; He always forgives and encourages us to try it again.
Satan takes the shame, pain, and grief and blows them out of proportion. He often drops negative thoughts into our minds. Tempting the children of God to doubt God’s love for us: Can God really love you after you’ve done this? You’re not a real Christian. This is your third time making this mistake, you might as well quit. Jesus says in John 10:10, “10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Satan’s goal is to steal our hope, kill our destiny, our purpose and to render us ineffective by destroying our fellowship with God. Additionally, he does not want us to comprehend how Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection permanently paid the wages of all sins: past, future, and present.
Keep in my mind, my friends, Satan wants us to believe he has the last say, but God always gets the last laugh and victory. What is written in the blood of Christ cannot be undone; so, as Satan seeks to separate, the Holy Spirit works to draw us near to God. Through confession of our sins, our fellowship is restored and the Holy Spirit continues to work in us our to bring glory to God and we experience His love and forgiveness in newer and deeper ways.
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2)
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