I encourage you to be diligent in recovery from failure before God
Major or repeated sinful failure in the Christian life is an effective tool in the hands of Satan. He uses temptation to lure us into sin; he then uses our sinful stumblings to instil a sense of uselessness and hopelessness. If he can convince you that you will never be able to live for Christ victoriously, he’s won the battle.
As believers, it’s a terrible thing when you wake up to the fact that sin has won a victory in your life. The sense of guilt and failure can be crushing. Yet you need to remember that you can “confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help” (Hebrews 4:16 NET). Because, “who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love” (Micah 7:18). God’s mercy is far greater than our failings; therefore, we are unable to fall outside of His loving reach.
The Bible is loaded with examples of imperfect believers who got caught in sin, often repeatedly. Yet their faith in God, plus the working of the Holy Spirit, would not allow them to wallow in permanent defeat. If you evaluate temptation, sin, and failure by human standards, you will be left in hopeless despair. King Solomon, who knew failure well, instructed; “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil” (Proverbs 3:7). No matter how many times you have fallen, repent, call upon the Lord and follow Christ. Perseverance is one of the Christian’s greatest weapons against long term failure.
God’s enemies are not stupid; they know how to use your defeats to grow permanent discouragement and damage. Choosing to follow their discouraging advice may well prove to be the most fatal decision of your life.
Allow others to help
Allow yourself to be restored and helped back to a right walk with the Lord by those who are stronger in the faith (Galatians 6:1). Respond favourably to your fellow Christians who exhort you to turn from weak living and be restored to a stronger lifestyle of obedience to Christ (Matthew 18:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:14). Accept the assistance when offered to you by believers who themselves have been restored from failures. Forgive those who have let you down, or even abandoned you in your time of need (Matthew 6:15). “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment” (Proverbs 18:1).
There are many lessons to be learned from Kings David’s sin and restoration found in Psalm 51. Come to the Lord in confession for cleansing (Psalm 51:2-4). Invite the Lord to purge the desire for sin from your heart and to replace it with a renewed passion for Jesus Christ as Lord (Psalm 51:7, 10). Seek the Lord to restore the joy of your salvation, and uphold you with a willing spirit (Psalms 51:12). Open your mouth and tell others of the kindness and goodness of God and of what He has done for you (Psalm 51:15).
Use the lessons learned
Resolve to use the lessons learned from your failings and the Lord’s restoration, to help others who are going through something similar; “Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you” (Psalms 51:13). Realise, if you “humble yourselves before the Lord, He will lift you up” (James 4:10 NIV).
I encourage you to resist the temptation of remaining in sinful living. Be diligent in recovering from failure before God. The Lord will be honoured, you will be blessed, fellow believers will be encouraged, and your unsaved friends will be evangelised.
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.bbf.net.nz