Do you ever get the feeling that you’re the only one that struggles with sin? I remember how often I used to doubt my salvation as an young Christian. I’d often cry out to God to come and “save” me – thinking that there’s no way I could have been serious about my decision to give my life to Him if I could do the things that I was doing.
Part of the reason I struggled with doubt was the fact that I was not being discipled properly. My church was constantly telling me how to be saved – and what a saved person looks like. Well, I certainly didn’t always fit the mold (still don’t) so my only conclusion was that I missed something somewhere along the way. Many of my friends had gone “down the aisle” several times more than I had – so I had some catching up to do.
When the Lord finally revealed some of what was going on, I was pretty upset. So upset that I decided to write a song about it. It’s called “Can’t Send A Child” and here is an excerpt:
The teachers send their little warrior
Straight on to the face of death
They say, “God bless you son
And we wish you all the best.”
But when their warrior falls
When he falls defeated
They gather ’round and talk
And say, “He never had a part at all.”
You can’t send a child into battle
You can’t tell who they’ll be fighting for
The problem is that as humans, we sometimes think we have the power within us to make us right before God. We think we must do certain things or not do certain things in order to win God’s favor, and that when we do screw up, He’s up there waiting to squash us with his thumb of justice – and punish us for our transgressions.
Well, there are certainly consequences for our wrong-doings, but if only we’d focus on “being” in love with Him, learning more about who He is, understanding His plan and not our own, it would be so much easier to remain faithful. God is showing me that I do not have what it takes to remain faithful – but He has put in me exactly what I need – the Holy Spirit.
Today’s reading in the book of James chapter 4, James explains very clearly what is needed to remain faithful:
5 What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the Holy Spirit, whom God has placed within us, jealously longs for us to be faithful? 6 He gives us more and more strength to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, “God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble.” 7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites. 9 Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor.
You see, it’s not about us at all. We’ve been given the Holy Spirit who gives us ever-increasing strength to stand faithful. If our eyes are on God, the tempter cannot tempt us. If we remain humble, God will show us favor.
And, when we do fall (not if), it requires serious repentance before God, but he is faithful and will forgive us. When we humble ourselves, He will lift us up.
I really like how verse 8 starts out: “Draw close to God and He will draw close to you.”
Do you see that we have to take the first step? If we keep running from Him, He will not force Himself upon us. But when we take that step, He is always faithful to restore us and set us back in the place of honor.
The key for me is making time to just listen – and pray. My schedule gets so hectic that the time I spend listening to His voice can easily slip away. But, I can tell when I’ve been in communication with God. It sounds oversimplistic, but things just go better with God. My day is much less chaotic feeling – I seem to be able to handle things better. I’m less tempted to stray. I’m more inclined to talk to Him during the day and seek His face with each challenge.
But, when I’m so focused on work or my tasks or even my family, and I don’t draw near to God, my days don’t go as well.
Find time each day to talk to God, and dig into His word – even if it’s just a chapter a day like I do. You won’t regret it.