Falling: How we fall and how we get up (Part 2)

Falling_ashley-bean

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.  Psalm 37:23, 24 

Now let’s look at the fall. When I fell three years ago in my house, I fell so hard that my children who were in the basement came running up to see what happened. They said it sounded like something blew up in the house! The pain was immediate and the injuries were long lasting. The cost and time involved to remedy the injuries was extensive.

I have heard many Christians who have fallen in sin say that they couldn’t believe that they were capable of doing what they did. They say that their fall seemed to sneak up on them from behind and blew up everything in their lives.

Many years ago, I found myself in that situation. I became involved in an ungodly relationship. Two weeks after the sinful relationship began, I woke up from my trance. I looked at what I was doing and realized that I was at risk of losing everything! I felt as though a hex had been cast over me that caused me to act and think in a way that was totally contrary to all of the pursuits of my life to that point. Who was this person in the mirror that could be so vile and selfish and blind?

I had to face the sin, come clean, and go through a season of deep cleansing with the help of my Pastor. The cost was extensive. The enemy had set a trap for me and because my eyes were not fixed on Jesus as my All-in-All, I fell right into it. I felt as though one day I was walking well with the Lord and the next day I was lying face down in my sin.

But the reality is that for a season of time I had not been guarding my heart and dealing honestly with my thoughts. The ground was beginning to freeze all around me and I wasn’t paying attention to the chill…until I slipped and fell. I was not taking sin seriously. I felt that I could handle it. Until it handled me.

I love how the Message Bible communicates the Scripture from Jude:

“Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong path. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven. And now to him who can keep you on your feet, standing tall in his bright presence, fresh and celebrating – to our one God, our only Savior, through Jesus Christ, our Master, be glory, majesty, strength and rule, before all time, and now and to the end of all time. Yes!”

When we fall, the hardest person from whom we have to regain trust and acceptance again is the person staring back at us in the mirror. The shame and pain of the fall can keep us limping for years if we allow it to. Believe me, I know. But God the Merciful Father has already covered that sin with the blood of His Son. So wallowing in our shame would be as silly as refusing to get up from the place where we fell and feeling undeserving of trying to get medical help.

Have you ever stumbled in your walk with the Lord? Have you almost lost your footing and needed to go to the Lord to receive cleansing, correction and sanctification? Have you ever fallen flat on your face as a child of God? Have you struggled to believe that God still loves, forgives and accepts you after your fall?

If you answered Yes to any of these questions, you’re in great company. David, of “David and Goliath” fame felt the same way after his big fall. He “fell” into an adulterous relationship with a woman, got her pregnant and killed her husband. That’s a pretty big fall!

Peter, the apostle who was one of the three men closest to Jesus, denied that he ever knew Jesus even though he was standing there when Jesus said, “If you deny Me before men, I will deny you before My Father.” That was a shameful fall.

Moses misrepresented God to the Hebrews and was not allowed to enter the Promised Land afterwards.

Jacob was a liar and a thief.

Rahab, a woman in the lineage of Jesus was a prostitute.

Noah got so drunk one time that his sons had to cover for him…literally…because we was naked in his tent.

The list could go on and on. But the moral of these tales of stumbles and falls is that Yes, God is able to keep us from falling. But if we do fall, He is able to pick us up, restore us and put our feet back on the level path.

Falls happen. They hurt. They can be costly. There will be consequences that could have been avoided. God doesn’t want us to fall. He is holding out His hand every morning to keep our feet from falling. But we have a cooperating part to play that cannot be ignored.

Proverbs 4 states clearly what our part is.

Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right or to the left. Turn your foot from evil.  Prov. 4: 25-27

The main point of these verses is implied so it might be easy to miss: we are never to attempt to hold ourselves up. We are not expected to fix our eyes directly ahead and turn our foot from evil in our own strength. We are in a relationship with our Heavenly Father where we make the decision to be obedient and pursue righteousness and HE does the work of making our intentions come to pass!

Now you:

Maybe you are in a place where you have slipped or fallen and the pain of what you have done continues to haunt you like Post-Traumatic Stress. You have flashbacks of the events and wish so hard you could go back and have a re-do…but you can’t. What is done is done. So how do you move on from here?

Here are steps that are outlined for us in scripture:

  1. Ask God to forgive you. Repent, which means make the decision to change, not just feel sorry about what you did. Realize the selfishness and darkness that led you to act in a way that allowed the fall and truly repent before the Lord for your actions AND for the motivations of your heart.
  2. Ask the Lord to change you from the inside out.
  3. Find a person you trust – maybe a pastor or leader in your church or a counselor – and tell them what happened. Ask them to pray with you for healing and cleansing. If your pastor or leader think that further times of prayer or counseling are a good idea to really get at the root of the thoughts that made you fall, do it! Put the time in to dig into why you chose to go a route that was sinful. If you had a fall like I did, you may have to take some large amounts of time to pursue inner healing and transformation to ensure that the roots are all gone.
  4. Lastly, forgive yourself and ask others to forgive you – if you can and if it is appropriate.

Let’s pray:

Dear Lord Jesus, please forgive me for turning to my own ways and my own selfish thoughts to meet my needs rather than come to You for fulfillment. Your ways are right and true and your ways lead to life. Narrow is the way that leads to life, but broad is the way that leads to destruction. I don’t want to be one of those who goes down that broad path – and I see how easy it would be to do that! I am going to need all of your help to change the way I think and feel and react in certain situations. I don’t want to fall in this area ever again. I know you can change me and make me whole. Please, Lord, don’t leave me this way! Cleanse me from the deepest parts of me all the way outward. I love you, Jesus. You have given me life and love and forgiveness that I don’t deserve. I want to give everything I am back to you because you are worthy. I give you thanks and praise for hearing my prayer and for making the changes in my heart and mind. In Jesus Name, Amen!

 

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