March 29, 2018

Trying Not To Stumble

God uses the world around us to speak His lessons of truth. Biblical analogies are endless when we look at nature and our bodies. Consider our physical birth and our spiritual birth. Often, it is through much labor and pain that we come to recognize Father God and experience spiritual rebirth. Feeding our spirit with the Word of God can be compared to our backyard garden. To grow food, we must water and fertilize the seeds that eventually nourish our physical body.

Looking at your body, would you consider yourself healthy and agile? Are you able to walk and move forward in each day without stumbling? Are you strong? Do you exercise and work on keeping your body fit? Hopefully, you have answered yes to many of these questions.

Just as we work to keep our bodies healthy and strong, we need to work on building up our spiritual muscles. What are we feeding our spirit? How are we training? Spiritual maturity requires discipline and will keep our feet from stumbling.

What causes Christians to stumble? Sin. Temptations can lead to sin but thankfully we have a promise from God that says He will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bare. Temptations are often tests of faith used to exercise our spiritual muscles. Free will is a gift and with it comes the supernatural strength of God. His strength enables us to endure temptations and thus avoid sin.

We should always be on our guard and never prideful in our standing with the Lord. We may be in a good place spiritually, but if we are not dressed in the armor of God or feeding our spirit with the living Word daily the devil will attack. He watches and waits for opportunities to jump on the weak. He is an ever-prowling lion looking for vulnerable prey. Many mighty men have fallen, just consider David, Moses, Jonah, and Peter.

“These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Co 10:11-14 (NIV)

Having a daily devotion time is critical. Like the manna God provided for the Israelites during their time in the wilderness, Scripture is spiritual manna for our spirit. It is to be collected and enjoyed daily. It is our spiritual nourishment, which provides energy and sustenance. From it, we build up our faith in Christ. Immersing ourselves in the word of God enables us to recognize and overcome temptations that could easily lead to sin.

“Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” Psalm 119:165 (NIV)

But what if I’ve already stumbled, allowing sin free access to my heart and life?

It is never too late to repent and turn from sin. God is close to the broken hearted. He hears the cry of a repentant soul and freely forgives. God answers prayers so that we will not be deprived of learning more about His grace.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

If you have stumbled because of sin, you must first acknowledge it by confessing the sin to God. If it is heart felt repentance, God will know. Going to those you have wounded through your sin requires strength, but God will be by your side.

Sin separates us from God and repentance restores our relationship with Him. When we are in step with Christ, our Christian walk will be blessed, even though it will remain an upward climb.

Our lifetime race to eternity is bound to have some stumbles. God knows our propensity to sin and lovingly waits for each sinners confession. He will lift us up every time we stumble. But if we are in the word of God daily, it will prevent frequent stumbles into the temptation of sin. Prayer and fellowship is also important if we want strong ankles.

After sleeping with Bathsheba and having her husband murdered (2 Samuel 11), David recognized his sin and repented. His prayer is worth reading and studying. There are natural consequences for our sinful actions but we always have the promise of God’s forgiveness and undying love for us.

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight-That You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:1-10 (NKJV)

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