When my kids were learning to walk, one of the very first things I taught them was how to fall. Knowing how to fall is crucial for good, confident walking, and for walking without fear.
Like children learning to walk, we are going to fall. How does our Father want us to respond to and deal with falling? Over the next two posts, I want to talk about how to fall in such a way that gives you confidence for walking with Christ.
Unfortunately, I am a master faller — I fall everyday in my walk with Jesus — but I am thankful that over the years, He has taught me how to fall, and what He desires of me when I fall — how He wants me to respond to and deal with falling.
Like my kids learning to walk, we are going to fall. The question is not, “are you going to fall?”, but “when you fall, how will you respond, and how soon will you get back up?”
Let’s set the stage here with a look into God’s Word. From the Scriptures below, I believe we can draw 7 key conclusions about how to fall INTO God’s gracious restoration:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9
(1) Be honest with God about what you’ve done. He already knows anyway, so hold nothing back! Lay it all out there before Him as honestly as you can. This is true confession.
The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. But I have come to give you abundant life. – John 10:10
(2) In the previous post, I revealed the true source of our feelings of shame, guilt, accusation, and condemnation. These things DO NOT come from God! Jesus brings abundant life, not deadly self-hatred. When you come to God in confession and repentance, remember that He warmly welcomes you as your loving, gracious, abundant-life-giving Father.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness. He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor his anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who reverently adore Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who reverently adore Him. – Psalm 103:8-13
(3) More beautiful language here about God’s tender, Fatherly love toward us! You don’t have to beg for His forgiveness; He wants to remove your transgressions from you! He is not angry with you. You are His child, He has deep compassion for you, and He eagerly wants to release you from the suffocating grip of your failures.
“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart” …Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and… the Lord will reply… “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.” – Joel 2:12-25
(4) Not only does He want to remove your transgressions from you (as the Psalm 103 verses say above), He also wants to restore to you the life lost through your devastating engagement in sinful activities! He is so AMAZING!
But now, this is what the Lord says: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine… “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” – Isaiah 43:1,25
(5) Whoa… what!? For Whose sake? He blots out our transgressions, He redeems us, He calls us by name to be His – for His own sake! He has a vested interest in us. We are His! We belong to Him. He bought us with a precious price, and He wants to get everything that He has paid for!
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. – Matthew 5:23-24
Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” – Luke 19:8
(6) Quite simply: own your mistake, take responsibility, and make it right. Whatever you broke, whomever you hurt – go back and take the forgiveness and the restoration you have just received from God, and do whatever you are able to do to bring reconciliation to the damaged situation or relationship.
Do not go back to Egypt! – Isaiah 31:1
(7) Even though following Christ can at times feel difficult, unpopular, and uncomfortable, DO NOT return to the land where you were a slave, thinking your life would be better there. Sin has a way of taking an addictive hold over our lives, and we become slaves to our sinful compulsions. When Christ delivers us from this slavery, and we find that following Him can sometimes be tough, we are tempted to “return to Egypt”, like the Israelites after God had delivered them from Pharoah’s oppression. When life got hard following God through the wilderness toward the Promised Land, the Israelites wanted to abandon God and go back to Egypt! The land of their horrible enslavement! We do the same thing when we hit a bump in our faith-life: we look back over our shoulder and give serious consideration to those pet sins from our past that at one time felt like “home”… conveniently forgetting that they were cruel slave-masters that were destroying our lives. DON’T GO BACK THERE!
In the next post, I’ll focus in on a particular instance in Scripture where Jesus very lovingly and patiently restored one of His most beloved disciples after an especially devastating fall…