One of the tricks of Satan is to make the believers fall in sin repeatedly and make them stumble. In their repeated defeat in leading a holy life, many believers backslide from their walks with God.
God sent His Son into this world to establish the fact that man could lead a holy life. The wicked may lose hope to lead a holy life but for the righteous there is always hope. The following word encourages the stumbling believers to a great extent, giving them hope
…for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.Proverbs 24:16
Habitual and Intentional Sinning
For a person who has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ, falling again in sin may not be intentional but a habitual act. It is just like for a person who recently shifted apartments, the habit of going in the direction of their old house after finishing his day’s work is not intentional.
Wherever sin increases, grace increases all the more for giving us an opportunity to repent and to receive forgiveness. If we keep on sinning intentionally, then it is very clear that Jesus is not going to die again for us, but our path to sinful nature may bring Him disgrace along with our eternal falls (Hebrews 6:4-6).
The writer of Hebrews compares these intentional sinners to the babes that drink milk. A baby often cries out for milk because milk would not sustain the baby’s hunger for a longer duration (Hebrews 5:11-13).
If we seek God, only for the purpose of receiving the worldly blessings, those blessings will not sustain us during the times of our trouble and we may not have gained strength to overcome the challenges coming our way.
If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!Proverbs 24:10
Jonah refused to go to the place where God was sending him. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. Jonah spent the monetary blessing of the Lord to flee from His presence. Unknowingly we are spending every blessing of God to flee away from Him.
The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.Luke 8:14
Some believers repent repeatedly but they hardly come out of their sins (Hebrews 6:1). They confess their faith through Creeds but never act upon that faith. None of us are confessing our faith over our own arms, saying that “I believe that these are my arms”. Yet, we use our arms to fulfill our requirements. On the contrary, when Jesus is living in our heart, we confess our faith repeatedly but never allow Him to fulfill His purpose in our lives.
Because of ignorance, we sometimes commit mistakes assuming that we are doing good. We should use the word of God constantly to cope with every circumstance and through this process we can learn to distinguish good from evil.
But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.Hebrews 5:14
Love for money seems to be good for everyone but the constant use of word will make us to understand that the loving money is evil. The word will help us count on the grace of God above all the riches of this earth. Authority, influence, praise, fame and wealth should not be counted as our priority. Jesus should become the main focus of our lives, and everything else should become a secondary one.
Everything which was once counted as profitable should now be counted as loss by us instinctively. We should stop referring to Paul ‘s experience and it should become our own experience. If we are unable to experience this paradigm shift in our lives, then it is evident that we are not using the word of God to train ourselves to distinguish good from evil.
Illustrations from Bible
Many followers of Jesus consider salvation as a one-time affair and they remember the day they first met Jesus and fail to renew that experience day by day. Job, through hardships learnt to love God and as he accepted every good tidings from God, he was also ready to accept troubles and keen to learn the teachings of God (Job 2:10).
While Job’s friends accused him of being self-righteous, Job was bold enough to examine his righteousness in every walk of his life and had a meaningful and constant dialogue with God throughout his sufferings. Job was remembering all the areas of his life where he obeyed God and was eager to find where he went wrong and was ready to correct that too.
This constant dialogue, enabled him to distinguish the glorious day of meeting his Redeemer in person, from the short days of his sufferings. He was eagerly waiting to meet his Redeemer when his skin was destroyed. In this pursuit, Job saw God not only as a provider of worldly blessings but also as the author of the Redemption story, well before it’s enactment. He was able to watch the resurrected hero in the premiere of the Redemption story.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.2 Corinthians 4:16-18
For Peter the sufferings and the death that Jesus undertook seems unnecessary. Peter, being a fisherman was not constantly using the word to train his mind in line with the mind of his Master and was ignorant of the prophecies that were going to be fulfilled. He was unable to understand the gravity of the truth while Jesus was explaining them of what was going to happen. Jesus decided to enlighten him with the truth and assigned him with the task of teaching the truth to his brothers.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”Luke 22:31-32
It is encouraging to know from the above incident that when we go through trials and face challenges to establish our faith in Jesus, Jesus Himself is praying for us.
Soul over Body
One of the reason for our spiritual immaturity is that we consider our body to be worth more than our soul. Often we do not realize that we do have a soul. We fear people who can only harm our body or hurt our emotions and do not fear God who has redeemed our soul from eternal death. We consider the pain and illness of our physical bodies rather than the damage caused to our soul because of our unholy lifestyle.
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.Matthew 28:10
We could see in most of the Psalms, the Psalmist consoling his soul by reminding the promises of God. We should always speak to our soul by reminding the promises of God, else even a trivial problem may take control of our soul. If we learn to tame our soul, then no matter how many times we fall, we will rise again and again. Constant use of word of God will completely train us to stand firm and not fall at all.
“We don’t have a soul. We are a soul. We happen to have a body.”CS Lewis