Wow! I can’t believe I messed up AGAIN! It seems like all I ever do if FAIL!
Do these words sound familiar? They should have to me! I’d muttered them about half a million times in my lifetime, but even more so since I’ve given my life back to Jesus.
Falling away from the faith is never intentional. At least, I don’t think it is. We never just wake up one morning and go, “Ok Jesus, I think I can take it from here.”
Still, sometimes we act just like that. If we’re not careful, it can lead us further and further from the beaten path that Jesus walks with us. One day, we turn around and wonder how we came to be so alone. I feared that was where I was headed not that long ago.
Catching Yourself in the Fall
I don’t know about you, but when I fail, I’m harder on myself than anyone else ever could be. I mean, I don’t particularly have anyone in my life that is set on my detriment, but you know what I mean. I mean, after all, I’m with me ALL the time!
Seriously though, I know me and I know what I want to do, and sometimes, I do the polar opposite. You know, Paul did that sometimes too…
For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”Romans 7:15-20
Paul saw what was happening. He caught himself in the fall. It’s almost like watching a movie in slow motion, knowing exactly what’s going to happen and not being able to stop it. There have even been times I’ve prayed, telling God I know my flesh is getting out of hand again… PLEASE HELP!
Sometimes it can be the simplest things. It doesn’t take a catastrophic event to make you lose your cool every time. Maybe you’ve had a bad day. Maybe you’ve had a series of bad days. Or maybe it was that one little thing that surfaced just when it was the most inconvenient.
Or maybe, if you’re like me, it could be that the past has reared its ugly head again. Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard the Facebook posts and memes about “the past is just a chapter, not the whole book” thing. That’s cute when things are going great and you can throw that around because you’re not IN the midst of a meltdown where the past is clawing your inner eyeballs out.
Maybe, in the midst of that meltdown where the past is tearing you apart, you feel those old emotions come back to haunt you. You know the ones… the ones that were most comforting when you weren’t walking with Jesus. The insecurity, the not trusting people, the brick and mortar wall you erected in your spirit, the hardened chin thrust upward in defiance of a world you didn’t even think you’d wanna be in…
Those are hard places! Especially if you’re not there anymore and there’s no danger of BEING there anymore. Because the enemy wants to make you think you ARE and you WILL BE AGAIN.
Whispers from the Enemy
I still hear him, that old devil, the enemy of my soul, even though I give everything to Jesus daily. Sometimes, in the midst of the enemy whispering in my ear, I just have to start praising out loud! That’s the best way, I’ve found out, to shut him up, or at least overshadow his lies with God’s Truth about me.
But he’s pretty loud sometimes. Maybe you’ve heard some of his lies…
You are NOT good enough! You never have been and you never will be! Just look at what you’ve done… look at what you’re tempted to do again! Just give up!
They don’t like you. No one does. How could they? You’re not like them, you’re not “cool” and you have nothing to offer. There’s nothing special about you!
They lied to you before, you remember? They’re doing it again! Can’t you see it in their eyes? Hear it in their tone? Nothing they’ve said to you is true and you’re so gullible as to believe they’re going to change and be true to you? You’re a fool!
Just keep your mouth shut. No one wants to hear what you have to say! Why would they? They know where you’ve come from, and if they don’t they will find out. And when they do, they’ll hate you just like everyone else does. Just shut up and move on.
The enemy always works on your nerves and your heart, but primarily your MIND, by mixing in just enough of the truth to sound like it’s not him at all. So you had a past. So you messed up. So what if you did some things wrong. Wasn’t that before you knew Jesus?
Doesn’t the Bible say you’ve been washed and made clean? Doesn’t the Bible say He casts your sin as far as the East is from the West?
Getting Off the Roller Coaster
You know, this past time I messed up, it was really just like all the other times. One thing led to another and before you know it, I was thinking I should just throw in the towel. Quit. Stop.
Then it hit me like a rock between my eyes… What would I go back to??
It’s like walking away from a burning building. Why in the world would you turn around and start walking back into the fire, the smoke, the danger?
No, I know you can’t literally walk BACK into your past. It’s called the “past” because it has “passed.” All the mistakes I made and all the hell I went through is long since gone. It’s been a lesson learned, however hard, about what NOT to do with my life.
And I won’t forget it!
No, there’s nothing to go back to. But then while I was reading the Word the other day, I found something particularly comforting. More so than usual. It was like God had heard my heart-cry and had me in the right spot at the right time. Oh, I’d read it before! The highlighter marks were there to prove I’d taken the time to say “Hey, this is worth remembering!” before.
When God Speaks…
I’ve always heard that old saying: Our prayer is us talking to God. His Word is Him talking to us.
And it’s true! Besides prophetic words, dreams, and specific revelation, this is one of the primary ways that God speaks to us. That’s why it is SO SO SO SO IMPORTANT that we read EVERY SINGLE DAY! I can’t stress that enough! It seems like a hassle, like there’s no time, like we’ve read it all before, but that’s just another one of the enemy’s lies.
Don’t fall for it!
The Word is alive, a two-edged sword, and it always speaks to our needs in the moment we’re in if we’ll just listen…
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.Isaiah 40:28-31
Did you catch that?
Let me explain how this verse hit me, even weeks after this initial “Dadgum it, I did it again!” scenario had passed.
In this reference, God starts out by reiterating Who He is and that His claim is true. He is GOD, the LORD, and the CREATOR. That reminds me of something our Pastor says: If you can’t get past the first four words of the Bible: “In the beginning God…” then you’re going to have problems with the rest of it.
God IS God.
But more than that, He reminds us that He doesn’t faint, He doesn’t get weary, and we have no way of understanding His level of understanding within Himself.
Then He says that He will give power to the faint, the weak, in other words. To those who have no might, or in other words, those who are not strong, he GIVES strength.
But verse 30 stopped me so thoroughly that I had to reread it a few times. Just read it: Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
He’s telling us that He KNOWS we’ll mess up! He KNOWS we’re going to miss the mark from time to time! But look what He says just after that…
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Ain’t It Good?
Isn’t it awesome to know that we serve a God that knows us inside and out? That knows we’re not perfect and loves us anyway? That made a way where there was no other way when He came and laid down His deity to take on flesh and DIE FOR US so that we would have eternal atonement for our sins, past, present, and future?
There’s something about a God who knows the worst and is still willing to stick with us! But does that give us an excuse to go on sinning? Does that give us an excuse to say, Well, I know my flesh is getting out of hand, but that’s ok… I can just repent because that’s what we do!
Like Paul said… GOD FORBID!
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness.Romans 6:1-3, 15-16
The thing is, there’s a difference between falling before you can catch yourself and allowing yourself to fall under the premise that grace is there to catch you. OF COURSE it’s there to catch you, but using that as an excuse is as much a sin as the sin itself!
Don’t fall prey to THAT lie from the enemy!
The good news is that God KNOWS who we are, inside and out. He KNOWS we’re gonna mess up, and He KNOWS we’re going to get it wrong sometimes. And when that happens, He’ll pick us back up, dust us off, and set us back on the path we were meant to be on.
And you know that part about the eagle… well, that’s an interesting observation. You know, eagles nest HIGH… and I mean HIGH… up in the clefts of the mountain rocks. When their babies are ready to leave the nest, they push them out, give them ample time to catch air and fly, and watch closely to see if they do. If they don’t, they swoop in and catch them and “bear them up” on their wings, back to the nest again.
An even more interesting thing is that eventually, they’ll figure it out. But they couldn’t do it if they weren’t given so much room to fall. If they were any closer to the ground, they wouldn’t experience the fall and have time to figure out how to make their wings work.
I’m glad God is still bearing me up! I’ll never EVER use it as an excuse, but I’ll never EVER stop being thankful for it!
What about you?