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Next Step – Day 27

Next Steps

A 30-DAY GUIDE FOR NEW BELIEVERS
by JOHN D. BECKETT
DAY 27 WHEN WE STUMBLE
How do I get back up after I fall?

One of the most critical moments in the lives of believers is when they stumble. We’re all vulnerable, and it happens to everyone at some point. We are going along, progressing in our Christian walk. We’re getting to know God. We’re adjusting our thought life. We’re overcoming some bad habits. Then, boom! Without warning, we do something “really stupid.” Maybe it’s an outburst of rage at something, or someone, in unrestrained anger. Or, maybe just as we start to get free of an impure sexual habit, we revert back as though nothing had changed in our lives. Or, maybe we have a nasty moment of gloating over someone else’s failure, swelling us with ugly pride.

Our next steps after that stumble are really important. Why? Because right after a failure, we will either draw back from our relationship with the Lord, or we will press into Him, drawing closer than ever. We are at a fork in the road. Let’s see where each of these opposite paths takes us.

On one path you progressively distance yourself from God. You may be overcome with guilt from what you’ve done, thinking … “I’ve blown it. I’m a failure. I’m not worthy. God doesn’t want me the way I am.” Or, you may become hardened, justifying yourself: “He deserved my tongue-lashing.” “She set me up for that moral failure. It’s her fault.”

The further you go down this path, the more difficult it is to recover. Some never do. They abandon their faith and give up on trying to walk further with Jesus. Sadly, the world is full of people who once believed, but have strayed far away. The writer to the Hebrews issues this caution, and it applies to everyone: “Do not drift away” (Hebrews 2:1 NIV).

But the other path can restore you to even closer intimacy with God. An earlier scripture promises that God has provided “everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3 NIV). That includes a perfect way back to Him when you stumble. First, it is important to realize you will stumble. Even at your very best, you are completely unworthy when compared to a holy God. Second, when you fail the Lord is watching and protecting. See this assurance from King David, who was no stranger to failure:

If the Lord delights in a man’s way, He makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand (Psalm 37:23,24 NIV).

Third, you can come to God in complete honesty about your failure, and ask His forgiveness. Remember, He knows all you have done, even what you’ve been thinking. There are no surprises with Him. But you need to take the initiative in returning. What is God’s response when you humble yourself and come before Him? Hear what the Apostle John says: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

What a tremendous promise and wonderful reality. I couldn’t put a number to the times I’ve had to walk this path. But one thing I know — each time, the Lord has been utterly faithful to forgive. You can be washed clean and restored no matter how grievously you have erred.

Finally, it is so much to your benefit when you come quickly. And come as often as needed — not just for the big slips but also for the small ones. As you do, you will increasingly discover the depth of God’s love for you and find your love and trust for Him growing deeper and deeper.

Key Scripture If anybody does sin, we have One who speaks to the Father in our defense — Jesus Christ, the Righteous One (1 John 2:1 NIV).
Key Thought I am not perfect, but I am forgiven.
 
Copyright © 2006 by John D. Beckett

Discussing this further… Yes, we all will fall; but realize, as stated, He knows what we’ve done, we’re going to do, and what we’ve thought throughout it all even before we do. Each time we fall – it feels as though it gets harder to return, but stay focused on Him and His Word – because we are not perfect, but confess and we are forgiven! Jesus goes to the Father in our defense! Our names are written in the Book of Life! It shouldn’t be harder to return; we can have comfort in the knowledge that we’re growing, and learning from each tribulation – to return to Him quicker. As a friend says, “we need to get right with God.”

With His Love, HL

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