Full disclosure, I wrote portions of the following in early 2015, after an encounter I had with the Lord in a time of worship. Fast forward to February 2021, and once again, in a time of prayer and worship with other believers during an online service, I felt the Lord speak to me. He wanted to send this message to a specific audience, those who fear they’ve failed as a Christian and are on the verge of walking away.
You aren’t too far gone. No matter how far down the wrong path you’ve wandered, if you still have breath in your lungs, you can turn around and head back in the right direction. No matter how deeply engrained your character defects, bad habits, and addictions are, you are not without hope. There is no depth of darkness where you can plunge that God cannot reach down and pull you up.
You’ve promised God that you’d keep your nose clean if He would forgive you ‘just one more time’, only to fall back into sin once again. And now you think you’ve somehow used up your chances with God. You believe that you’ve exceeded your quota of do-overs. The warranty has expired, you no longer qualify for His help. You can’t forgive yourself, and you can’t forgive those who got you in this mess.
The truth is, you are never beyond His help or His forgiveness. Rabbis in Jesus’ day taught their disciples by example. It was very much a ‘follow the leader’ type of education. So much so that some disciples would mimic the way their Rabbi walked. Rabbi Jesus modelled the principles He wished to instil in His disciples. He would not have given Peter the following exhortation if He had not first shown to Peter what He was asking of him.
Matthew 18:21-22 – “Then Peter came up and said to Him, ‘Lord, how many times shall my brother sin against me and I still forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy-seven times.’”
Perhaps you have a perverted sense of integrity. “If I am going to sin, I might as well sin well.” But there is no merit in saying, “I guess I’m too far gone, I’ve made my bed, I have to lie in it, so if I’m going down, I might as well go out with a bang.”
Are you exhausted from trying to keep up a pretence? Are you fed up with whitewashing a false front for the world to see, while your life is in shambles behind that facade? Is living a lie becoming too heavy of a burden?
You’re at a dangerous crossroads. The draw of the false comforts that numbed your pain in the past look enticing. “It’d be so easy for me just to go back.”
Pay attention to that voice deep inside you that speaks louder than your self-loathing, discouragement, and disappointment. You know that voice. You still hear it.
God wants you to know the truth. Right now, as you are reading these words, God is exposing the lie the enemy screams in your ear. The truth is, God will sustain you, He’ll direct you, and He will strengthen you. The moment you ask Him for His help, His grace is there for you. His grace will carry you through this breath, this minute, this hour, this day, and the next, and then the next. He’ll walk with you every step of the way; He’ll carry your burdens for you. God never intended for your walk with Him to be exhausting. It’s only when you try to do the Christian walk by willpower alone that you wear yourself out.
Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG) – “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me, and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me, and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
You’re never too far gone. His strengthening, empowering, bolstering grace is made abundant towards you. He’ll pull you up if you reach out.
Reach out to another believer. Even if you think there is no one to turn to, that’s not the truth. Take a deep breath and reach out to the person who immediately comes to mind as you read this. It could be a pastor or a trusted mature friend in Christ; it could be a 1-800 number. Or it could be your spouse, your parents, or a sibling. Just reach out.
I promise you you won’t die of embarrassment or shame.
Those who love you probably sense you’re spiralling downward and yet they still love you. If you humble yourself and admit you need their support, your loved ones will cheer you on as you make that u-turn back in the right direction. It might be a bit of an uphill battle for a short while, but it won’t be an overwhelming struggle. You won’t be walking the walk by yourself; you’ll have the empowering grace of God by your side.
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Until Next Week,
©2021 Katherine Walden