Being a Christian is no “silver bullet” that makes life easy or without challenges. Living for God isn’t easy but living without Him is more difficult. Choosing to be a disciple of Jesus Christ makes you more aware of your sinfulness and weaknesses.
In order for the transformation process to work in us, what is inside of us must come out. How we respond to our bouts with failure will determine how quickly we rise from them. Failure isn’t final.
“He (our shepherd) restores our soul.” Psalm 23:3
There is a grave misconception that sinning, post-salvation, angers God and is grounds for rejection. This could not be further from the truth.
Yes, God hates sin.
Yes, sin will lead to death, spiritual and physical.
Yet when we fall, God is offering to restore us.
David was a man well-acquainted with sin and weakness. Yet it was not his struggles that defined him; it was his pursuit of God.
He wrote in Psalm 42:11 “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”
Cast down is a term that refers to a person who has fallen into sin but it goes on to illustrate someone “stuck in sin”. The intent of sin is to overwhelm your senses to the point that you become incapacitated. Sin wants to sever you from God. Repeated sin will sear your conscience.
There is hope!
Our Shepherd is quick to restore us when we fall. He is not sitting in condemnation over us!
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
He is not gloating in our misfortune.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
We can be proactive and avoid many pitfalls in life by observing the following three things that lead to being “cast down.”
#1 Temptation and sin.
James 1 explains that sin is an inside job. It is the result of entertaining internal desires. The saying is true, “what we feed will live and what we starve will die.” If we feed temptation it will increase. If we starve temptation it will decrease in our life.
Paul says in Hebrews 12:1, “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” Willpower cannot break the cycle of sin in your life. Only the Holy Spirit can empower you to resist temptation and avoid the pitfalls of sin.
To live an abundant life we must learn the secret of contentment.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain,” 1 Timothy 6:6
Not every day is going to be a Friday.
Not every experience is going to be a 10.
Not every situation is going to have a positive outcome.
It’s not that way for you; it’s not that way for anybody. The grass is not greener on the other side. “The grass is greener where it is watered.”
Contentment in God is not settling for less; It’s discovering His purpose and presence in the season you’re in, knowing that God is leading you to higher ground.
#3 Comfort Zone
A comfort zone can become a danger zone. Comfort zones cause us to make decisions based on the wrong motivations. A comfort zone can sometimes be an attempt to secure rest apart from God.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29
Comfort zones are unnecessary when our rest comes from being with God. The longer we stay in a comfort zone the less we depend on God for our rest and increase the likelihood of becoming cast down.
God is personally vested in your care and well-being. He is leading you on “paths of righteousness for His name sake.” He’s not going to leave you or abandon you but will stick by you, for better or for worse. When you fall, repent and reach out for His hand that is extended to lift you up!