Thursday, April 12, 2012
Thoughtful Thursday: Anyone Can Fall
Do you remember when you first got saved and was baptized in the Holy Spirit? Do you remember how easily faith came to you? How amazing life suddenly felt? You felt invincible. Following Christ seemed so easy back then. After time it became more and more difficult.
I experienced some extreme heartache in the church where I first got saved while living in Tennessee. I went through a blazing fire that I believed would refine me and make me stronger than I already was.
I ended up leaving that church and moving back home to Wisconsin. I asked God for a clear sign that I was doing the right thing. When I put my house up for sale, the very next day I was signing papers over to new owners.
Still a fiery Jesus Freak, I visited church after church in Kenosha to find my home. I landed upon Kenosha First Assembly of God and was eager to plant my roots there. But my past experience made it difficult for me to trust the church again, and with one wrong word, I was gone.
I thought I could do it on my own. I thought I could wing it and live a freestyle life without having to attend church. The church seemed to be the place where my faith was constantly being pushed to its limits. But without being a part of the church, I didn’t have much strength to sustain me.
The strongest of faithful men fail tremendously when they look back. On facebook I see a lot of old friends from church who are leading reckless, dangerously-close-to-the-gates-of-hell lives. Even one of my favorite pastors has left family to pursue a life of blasphemous sin! This was an anointed man of God!
So to think that measly-me could handle walking back into a life so familiar wouldn’t affect me, was ludicrous. I’m lucky to have found my way back before it was too late! Although we want to share the Good News with our old friends, we have to be incredibly careful not to be lured back into their way of living again.
Our weaknesses are like the root of a tree. We all have a main root that feeds the others. Mine was men—or the desire to be loved by one. It was that root that led me back to drinking, meaningless sex, and abusive relationships, which eventually took me down the road of self destruction. In a fast, clear swoop, it erased the years of salvation-joy and freedom I had so thoroughly loved.
Looking back isn’t always the real problem, because looking back can be a great reminder of how far we’ve come. It can give us valuable insight and profound explanations of who we used to be, becoming a powerful tool for testimonials. But it’s HOW we look back that matters.
When I got saved, I walked in the Holy Spirit for three whole days! The sensation was as if I were in a whole other realm, watching the world I used to live in as if on a movie screen. I felt like an outsider, but in a wonderful, monumental way! I felt free and alive.
It’s hard to imagine that after an experience like that that anyone would ever even want to look back. Even on that fourth day, when the Spirit was weaning, I was worried I had done something wrong. I thought I’d feel that way forever. But Paul tells us that at some point in our walk that we have to get off of milk and move onto solids. That’s when our faith gets tested and refined, and our true selves in Christ begin to develop.
It’s during that developmental stage of our new life when we can’t rely solely on the Holy Spirit to get us through tough times, but rather our own inner belief in Christ as our Savior to give us the strength we need to conquer the enemy. Our biggest setback is when we distance ourselves from fellow believers and become enthralled with the dimness of the world. Without them, we can’t look back and remain strong. And once we believe we can do it all on our own, we are sure to fall. Anyone can fall. It’s getting back up that counts.
MY PRAYER: Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Father, I pray for all those beautiful souls out there who once served You openly, honestly, and mightily. I lift them up to you and ask that You renew a steadfast spirit within them, too. A Spirit with eyes to see the hell they are living in, and a heart to feel the pain they are causing in those who love them, especially You. I ask that their ears be open to hear Your call, and that their feet would be strong enough to leave the place that is making them so comfortable in their misery. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.