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Thursday, January 27, 2011

When You Fall Down, Get Back Up

When I think of a pregnant woman who is carrying an unborn child, that child has all the instructions to become an adult man or woman one day.  It will take many years for this to happen, but non-the-less, over time that baby will grow to full maturity - an adult human being that can contribute to society.  Can you imagine all the stumbling and falling that child would experience in the next few years of his life.  No one questions whether or not he will make mistakes or miscalculate decisions.  It is part of the learning process.  In the same way, when a person becomes a Christian, he has experienced what the Bible says “Born Again,” or born into the family of God.  He has been given a new nature that is responsive to God’s heart, he has been given eternal life and the spiritual and physical tools necessary to live out his God given destiny.  Even though he has received everything necessary to live out the Christian life from God, he enters a process called sanctification or being set a part.  A new Christian has to learn what it means to walk with God and live in obedience to God’s will for his life.  Just like a new born child can’t drive a car the moment he enters into this world, over the next 15 or 16 years of his life, he will grow and mature to become a responsible young man who can handle this privilege.  There are no shortcuts in growing to maturity in Christ and being a yielded vessel that God can fill with His Spirit to accomplish His will on the earth.  It takes time…period! 

Even a mature Christian and one who continues to mature through the years, will make mistakes.  We never arrive.  Be weary of people who claim they are without sin or are so full of pride they can’t let people see their flaws. 

The bible says,”For a righteous man falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked are overthrown by calamity” (Proverbs 24:16.)

In other words, a person who loves God will make mistakes along this Christian journey, but he gets back up and keeps moving forward.  Just this week, I was working on a promotional piece for a worship event our church is sponsoring and I had to get some images off a well known stock photo website online.  I searched under the keyword “worship” and as I scrolled down through the great worship photos I noticed a picture of a naked woman in the middle of all of them.  I had the choice to immediately click to another page or continue to admire God’s creation.  Well, in a moment of weakness, I chose to look at the picture a few seconds longer than I should have.  I felt convicted for the poor choice and asked God to forgive me.  God in His great love for me said, “Cory get up, dust yourself off and keep moving forward.  You are forgiven!”  I received His forgiveness and went on with the rest of my day making a difference in other people’s lives.  God reminded me that I am a work in progress and that I have come so far in this area of my life.  I used to struggle with pornography on a regular basis several years ago, but God truly has delivered me and rarely do I feel the urge to succumb to it.  The devil was doing his best to try to heap condemnation on me for hours, but I have learned to receive God’s forgiveness and really believe I am forgiven!  Remember we are a work in progress and though we are maturing, we still mess up!   Even the greatest of Saints, if they are honest, will tell you they need God’s mercy and forgiveness on a regular basis. 

Here are a couple of key points to remember. 
One – the Christian life is a journey and it takes time to become mature.  Just like the little baby that falls a lot, you will fall and make mistakes along the way, but get back up and keep moving forward.  Those mistakes actually become nuggets of wisdom to help others as you learn from them.

Two – Don’t try and make excuses for the wrong choices you make.  Just admit it and let God forgive you.  He resists the proud person, but gives grace to the humble.  Those who freely admit they were wrong and look to God for help are met with God’s loving embrace.  

Three – Receive God’s forgiveness, NOT condemnation.  God convicts us of sin, but the devil condemns us.  Once you ask for forgiveness and you still feel heaviness and condemned for the mistakes you made, don’t receive them.  You need to fight back against the lies of the enemy by saying, I am forgiven by God.  He paid the price at the cross so that I could be in right relationship with Him. 

When you accept Jesus as your Savior, you begin this amazing journey with God.  I pray that you continue to mature and become all that God intended you to be.  Don’t let your past mistakes keep you feeling less than or not good enough.  Jesus paid an enormous price so that you could experience His very best and be free from condemnation and a life of regret.  Remember, a righteous man falls seven times, but he gets back up!  Get up, dust yourself off and keep heading into all the good things God has for you.  Life is worth living. 

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