I'm Not Giving Up, Just Starting Over.
When it comes to our walk with God, that is, our very salvation; being able to start over is critical. Moral failure is a part of the human nature. Learning to love God more then ourselves is a life long process.
I have noticed that there are times when serving God is a joy. The hardships of service seem light and my joy is abundant. Saying no to my flesh comes easily, sin seems far away. In those times I feel close to God and I am assured of my salvation.
Then there are times when I struggle to say no. Times when I doubt my salvation, and the reality of my sinful nature overshadows my faith. I look at my failures and question the sincerity of my salvation and wonder, am I really saved?
In those moments of failure, I find that those around me have mixed responses. But there are three groups that stand out.
Be An Encourager.
The first group are the ones who love me, who come along side and breath life back into my soul, enabling me to muster my faith and inspiring me to start again.
The next two groups are those who look at me as a doctrinal object lesson. They care very little about me as a person. Believing that they have the ability to discern "True Salvation", they are quick to judge. They ignore my need for encouragement and zero in on the question of my salvation. They become my accusers by aligning themselves with my fear, telling me I am not saved.
Critical and Judgmental Behavior
The first groups of accusers tell me that I have lost my salvation. That is, while I am sinning, I am not saved. These folks believe my good works play a role in my salvation, it is a thing to be earned. They live in the moment, for them salvation comes and goes like the wind. Yet, they do have one redeeming quality. They believe you can start over. In this they are slightly better then the second group of accusers.
The second group looks at my fallen state, and conclude that I’m not saved now and never have been. For you see, if I am not saved now in this moment of failure, I was not saved back when I was serving Him gladly and with success. My whole Christian experience is discarded and of no value. They explain that we don’t choose God, He chooses us and empowers us to serve him. If I were truly saved, that is, if God had chosen me, I would not have stopped serving Him even for a moment or a season, for the grace of God is irresistible and those who are saved will not back slide. Those who listen to these accusers will often loose hope and walk away forever. For if God hasn't chosen them, then there is no point in starting over.
In moments of failure it is good to evaluate your self, to ask tough questions about your sincerity. Repentance comes from our honesty and our growing desire to love God more then our sin. Even so, my assurance of salvation rests not upon my abilities to serve, but rather, God’s ability to save. I am confident that he has chosen me, despite my failures. He knows my ways and has the keys to my heart. Yet he does not force me, He allows me to choose Him, just as He chose me first. As a result my success and failures are often spectacular. I find that I am capable of astounding feats of evil and amazing acts of kindness. Because I am human in every way, I must choose to do good, it does not come naturally. I find that in the moments of failure God always picks me up, dusts off my backside, and helps me start over; never threatening to take from me his love or assurance that I belong to Him.
If you are struggling today, surround yourself with those who love you and will encourage you to start over. Whatever the sin or however long your season of failure, God never stopped loving you. Rest assured, He will allow you to…….