For all the wonderful experiences and glories we are blessed to share in as followers of Jesus Christ, there are as many if not more trials, burdens, and afflictions we are called to walk in on Christ’s behalf.
(Job 5:7) 7 Yet man is born to trouble, As the sparks fly upward.
Although this statement is generally true in relation to all men, it appears to be expressly illustrated in the Christian life, especially for those who truly desire to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength (Matthew 22:37-38). From the word of God, we find difficulty not only a constant, but also an agent of teaching and sanctification.
(John 16:33) These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
(2 Timothy 3:12) Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
(Psalms 119:67-68) 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word. 68 You are good, and do good; Teach me Your statutes.
(Psalms 119:71) 71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.
(1 Peter 1:6-8) 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love.
(1 Peter 4:12-13) 12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
In relation to the troubles, trials and afflictions written into the passages from God’s word above, most would confess “We get it”, “We expect it”, “With God we can handle it and become better for it”. We may not like the pain and at times must beat back our desire to respond carnally, but we understand, the world hated our Beloved Christ, they will hate us; the difficulty will make us more like Him. Therefore we can take the pain.
Speaking of carnality, we understand there is a war waging in our members, between the Holy Spirit and the flesh (our old man). The letter to the Galatians clearly outlines this often painful war and Romans 6 through Romans 8:17, reveals how we can and ought to overcome in this war by the Spirit. When winning battles in this war, there is the pain of self-denial. In the midst of this pain we are strengthened by the Holy Spirit. This good pain, leads to stronger trust of God and operational faith.
There is also the pain of failing Christ or falling to temptation, when we are desire whole hardheartedly to yield to God’s Spirit and bring glory to Christ. This pain arises from enemy attack, or a trial revealing unknown and unseen weakness or sin, hurts the most. .
Occurring when we are in the midst of running hard after Jesus, the failing may be a momentary lapse of sobriety where we fall to a sin of sensuality–or may arise as we are taxed to the max, encounter a conflict and we lash out in angry outburst without righteous cause–or may be an increasing presence of apathy which leads to powerlessness, prayerlessness and an insensitivity to His word or Spirit–or may be associated with a complete failure in a particular ministry endeavor, because of a growing sense of pride or self-sufficiency.
Once more this pain is not because being embarrassed in the sight of men, but because in our love for Christ, we feel we failed Him, or ignored His leading, or our common humanity got in the way and we were’t faithful enough to bless Him as we desire.
The pain of failing the Lord Jesus Christ is the one of the worst pains, we who are devoted to Christ can feel. It is the pain of Peter, who did mighty exploits in Christ’s name, but often bit off more than he could chew, because of pride, a sense of commitment greater than the cost and plain old human weakness.
This past week I was reminded of this, in my own failings, as I reflected on all that could have been thus far, in my efforts for Jesus Christ, had I been a better more faithful man. In each failure it can feel as if we had denied Him, run from Him and failed Him.
In all honest e do fail Him at times and we ought to stop trying to ignore the pain, because it can be a source of our greatest growth, should allow the Holy Spirit to use it for the Kingdom.
We admit sadly that there are times when “ministers” give up and don’t care anymore. In despair, they quit on Jesus, walking away to live in carnality and sin. These are those who may have left there first Love ,which is a serious charge and one which we should pray and seek the Lord to never walk in. Apostasy is very real and in the midst of the pain associated with failure we are exposed and must follow the scriptural trail God has laid out for us. It is equally important to remember that every failure is not us walking away from God.
What do we do when we suffer the greatest pain of failing to glorify Christ as we ought to?
REMEMBER NO CONDEMNATION FOR THOSE WALKING IN THE SPIRIT
(Romans 8:1) There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
For those who’s chief desire is to glorify Jesus, for the sake of love, they must guard against condemnation. Although I am not in the camp of, “we’re all just sinners saved by grace”, I am also not in the camp of being afraid of worrying about the loss of the salvation I have in Christ, if I fall into a sin here or there in my life.
I am also not saying that falling into sin continually, or practicing a sin, is allowable under the new covenant, it is not for the Christian. Having God’s grace in Christ is not a license to commit any sin, or remain in it. But momentary lapses and failures do occur.
Despite all that, we must guard against our own inclination to despair and doubt when failing, which leads to self-condemnation, as the enemy laughingly whips us with the memory of our sin. In order to understand how to overcome feelings of condemnation, let’s look for a moment at sin and handle something we may have forgotten or never fully grasped.
1 John 3:4-8 4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 7Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
You’ll notice I used the King James version for this verse. The reason is that it is very helpful in understanding the nature of a sinner, as opposed to that of the saint, who is no longer a sinner. This does not mean that we no longer sin, but that we are not practicing sin as the rule of life. Notice in verse 6 where it declares “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whoesover sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him”.
The use of the “eth” expresses something lost in our modern English; that of a continuous progressive action. When we see the word “sinneth“, it means that the person is practicing sin as the rule of their life, or doing it continuously and more progressively. In this understanding you’ll notice the beginning of verse 6 declares the Christian does not sin as a rule of life, but practices righteousness as it reveals in verse 7. It is the practice of sin that makes a person a sinner. It is the practice of righteousness, continually and growing progressive in it, which identifies the saint: no matter how imperfect it may be.
This is the reason I am not in the, “we’re just sinners saved by grace” crowd, which often becomes and excuse to justify carnality. We need to stop diminishing the truth of our being new creations, those who are a chosen generation, royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that show forth the praises of Him who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light (II Corinthians 5:17; I Peter 2:9-10).
This knowledge is a necessary part of our faith, in overcoming sin and it’s practice, as we yield to righteousness, by the Holy Spirit (Romans 6:1-14, 8:11). This knowledge is also essential in our fighting back against the condemnation, which amplifies the pain of failing Jesus Christ our first Love. In the moments of pain, after a fall or failing, remind yourself that you are dedicated to the practice of righteousness not the practice of sin. Meditate on how you have learned and are growing in the practice of the righteousness of the Christ life, the Spirit’s leading and empowerment. If you are not then stop treading water, you may be in danger.
This knowledge exercised in faith dissipates condemnation, but to overcome the pain as intended, we must follow His diagnosis, operation and post operation instructions.
(1 John 1:7-10) 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
DIAGNOSIS, OPERATION AND POWER OPERATION INSTRUCTIONS
The Diagnosis We understand that pride comes before a fall. Although we are not “just sinners saved by grace“, we are capable of falling back into a pattern of the old man (I John 1:8). We can sin and must be humble about our human weakness and every hour need of the Holy Spirit. With this appropriate scriptural view, we can excel in soberness and reduce the likelihood of a catastrophic fail or falling.
The Operation In verse 9 we read a verse well know by Christians, but in definite need of renewal in our minds. This is the operation of God, where He quells our sorrow and pain over the failing or fall, and cleanses its pattern in us practically. Remember this is an act of the cleansing of the conscience and the life practice, supernaturally, by the Blood of Christ, as applied by the Father through our faith.
Operation Instructions Verse 7 gives us the post operation instructions. Regardless of how we feel, we must walk in the light of the truth, concerning who we are in Christ and the power that is in His blood. This is difficult when we fail Jesus, but it is the only way of faith. We must discipline our minds to what God’s word says, rather than what we feel.
In this we have fellowship with other who follow Christ in faith. Here is a most important part… with a person you have fellowship, confess your fault and need (James 5:16). We often need a brother or sister in Christ to help remind us of the truth, and the presence of Christ in their physical presence.
By walking in the Light as He is in the Light, having true fellowship with each other (iron sharpening iron), we guarantee the benefit of His blood continuing in its original power and intent for those called by His name.
I am truly sorry if this became a little clinical. My intent is to help you understand you’re not alone and your sin or failing is not greater than God’s love for you. Don’t forget that. Too many pastors and leaders are walking away from our faith, killing themselves, or simply treading water for decades in apathy. We will fail Jesus, but He will never fail us and our sadness and pain at failing Him, reveals our love for Him.