Having one foot in the “world” and one foot in the Christian life is not going to work. You are straddling a line; a very fine line. The pull of addictions, sexual desires and thoughts, power, prestige, or money can draw many to backslide from their faith. I will admit, I have and not just once I might add. I have fallen many times. The Book of Proverbs pens, “…for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again….” (Proverbs 24:16). You will backslide, you will fall and you will feel guilt if you truly desire to know God and have a relationship with him. After the fall, backsliding and guilt, you have a decision to make. Will you get back up? Is Christ worth fighting for?Great men and women have fallen. The Apostle Paul writes to the Romans, “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” (Romans 7:14-25).
The great apostle had a problem with anger. According to his own words, “I persecuted the followers of the Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as also the high priest and all the Council can testify. I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.” (Acts 22:4-5) This is the same man who wrote the most beautiful scriptures on love in 1 Corinthians 13. How can this be? How can one have a murderous personality changed and redeemed to love the very ones who persecuted him? Through the love of Jesus Christ!
“Therefore, we have a great High Priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16).
My heart’s desire is for Christians to live for eternity. What we do on this earth will determine our future. I do not want to stand before the great I AM and explain why I did what I wanted to do. I do not want to stand before Jesus Christ and give an account of why I did not do what he asked me to; why I chose my own flesh over his plan and purpose for me or why I was too afraid to stand for the Truth over the world. I refuse to let that happen.
When the Israelites were tired of waiting on Moses, who was on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments, these ungrateful, former slaves decided to melt the gold received from the exodus from which God delivered them from and made their own idol to worship. Sounds weird doesn’t it? It really is not too far off from where we are today.
Today, people worship those who have money, have “celebrity” status, monetary treasures, pleasure and self-fulfillment. That golden calf was no more going to move those Israelites from the base of the mountain than these movies stars, who we dare to imitate, would sit and have lunch with “us”. The golden calf was a statue and could never give the Israelites what they truly needed: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (Galatians 5:22). That statue was not going to provide for them when things got challenging and neither are those who have celebrity status, drugs, money or pornography. That statue was not going to comfort them in their darkest hours during a depression, divorce, loss of relative or loss of a dream, neither will any “celebrity”, drug, alcohol, money or sexual enticement many worship.
Why do we spend so much time on things that will never give us what we truly need in return? That television is a black box; anything can come out of it and people willingly allow whatever into their spirit and worship. “I can’t miss my nightly show.” “I can’t read the bible, I might miss….” “I can’t go to church, ________ is on tonight.” Have we truly lost all sense?
Sister, you have to purposefully prepare your heart for action (1 Peter 1:13). You have to get up everyday and proclaim to keep your eyes focused on things above and not below (Colossians 3:2). If you choose to follow the world, then prepare to be marginalized. Christian, be prepared to let the world to tell you what to wear, be prepared to let the world take control of your children, prepare yourself to follow the “next big thing”, follow the next dance craze or be prepared to follow others down for you will have no voice, no individualism or dream.
The world will consume and swallow you. God’s judgment on the Israelite people was to swallow them in the Earth, just as we are swallowed in the ways of the world. Sin is enticing, but deadly. The enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10). I have a friend whose husband left her for another woman. He moved to a different state and sees his sons twice a year. Random phone conversations can be more heartache than good. I am sure this man never once thought how those two boys must feel everyday when they see other father’s with their sons. The swallowing of the world encourages people to “get mine” leaving a wake of sadness, broken hearts and pain behind them. These boys have not a father to wake up to. They have not had a father to spend holidays with, nor celebrate one on Father’s Day. My heart has broken for them for many years, and I know there are more of these broken hearts.
Sister, do not make for yourself an idol. Sin is like yeast, a little can permeate the whole dough. It is the same parallel to our lives. If you take pornography or sexual gratification, opening the door will propel you down some dark stairs. Your body may respond to a movie with no nudity, but the enemy will quicken the desire to see nudity. When you’ve seen all the “nudity” your eyes can see, then you have to actions with the nudity. Once you’ve seen enough actions, then the flesh, your eyes want to see something else. Our culture has been desensitized and is moving to some very vile and degrading things. “The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men.” (Psalm 12:8).
Christian, you have all you need in Christ to pick yourself back up, repent and move on. The Lord understands all temptations, but you have to acknowledge you need help. A scripture to repeat daily is, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13). The first step is admitting there is a problem such as, “I watch too much television.” “I am addicted to food and overeating.” “I am addicted to drugs or alcohol.” “I can help put shop and spend all my money.” “I watch pornography or sexual images when my spouse is away.” “I have ungodly thoughts of other men.” These are typical answers we respond with, areas where many fall. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
God will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5). He will help you through any and all things if you so desire. Jesus asked many people the question, “What do you want?” That would be my question to you, “What do you want?” Do you want a life stricken to the world, following it’s ever changing desires and philosophies or do you want to follow Christ, his plan and purpose for which you were created? I pray you let go of the idols in your life. If you have backslidden, walked away from the church, I plead with you, pray these prayers with me and pray to the Lord for healing and Truth. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not let “man’s” interpretation of life and fulfillment dictate your own life and purpose. I promise, “man’s” agenda is to always benefit him at your expense.
Let us pray and CONFESS the Word of the Living God;
I have sinned. Forgive me for backsliding, believing I can do this thing called life on my own. Forgive me for doubting you and the plan set forth before me. Forgive me for thinking the world has all the answers. Have mercy on me, Father, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Please, wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. I know my transgressions and my sin are always before me. Against you, and you alone, I have sinned and have strayed, but you are proved right when you judge. You desire truth in the inner most parts, so teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
Cleanse me with the hyssop and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow. I desire to hear joy and gladness! Create in me a pure heart, Lord, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take you Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
I desire to teach others your way and for sinners to turn back to you. Save me from unrighteousness and my tongue will sing your praises! Open my lips and my mouth to declare your praise for I know you do not desire burnt offerings, but a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you will never despise (Psalm 51:1-17). You’ve heard my cry and lifted me out of the pit, the mud and the mire. You’ve set my feet on a rock, the Lord Jesus Christ, and gave me a firm place to stand. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud or the world (Psalm 40:2-4).
Thank you for your mercy and forgiveness, the strength to all things through your Son (Philippians 4:13) for I know that I am a new creation in Christ; the old has passed and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). Thank you for a new vision for my future and for not leaving me in my past mistakes. Praise you Lord! In the name of Jesus of Nazareth I pray, Amen.