“Give your burdens to the LORD, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” – Psalms 55:22 NLT (http://bible.com/116/psa.55.22.NLT)
I couldn’t guess how many times I’ve heard someone say “Well, they must not be a Christian because a Christian wouldn’t do/say such a thing!” News flash: being a Christian doesn’t make me perfect, it means I know how broken I am and that I have asked Jesus to wash me clean. Jesus doesn’t want the perfect, He wants the broken. The only difference – emphasizing that: the ONLY difference between me and the most evil, depraved person is not anything I can do, no matter how good and kind and caring I can be – the only only difference is God’s Redeeming Grace. The evil, wicked person can be redeemed by God’s Grace, as simply as you and I can be. In fact, that’s why Jesus came. Listen to what He says:
“Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 NLT (http://bible.com/116/mat.11.28-30.NLT)
When we are weary, sick and tired of being sick and tired; when we are exhausted from dragging behind us all of our life baggage, that’s when Jesus can help us the most. From the most caring of souls to the most broken, wherever we come from, Jesus can help us. The reason we slip and fall as Christians is the same reason non-Christians sin. We take our eyes off Jesus and think we can take care of something ourselves, and we set ourselves up to fail. It doesn’t matter if it’s the whisper of gossip behind someone’s back, or the violent outburst of anger resulting in someone getting hurt or killed. Sin is sin.
“Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in Him. Anyone who continues to live in Him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know Him or understand who He is. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God.” – 1 John 3:4-6, 9 NLT (http://bible.com/116/1jn.3.4-9.NLT)
That section seems harsh, but it’s simply God telling us how it is. The big question today is the elephant in the room. If I am a Christian, does that mean I will never sin again? No, not at all. We are sinners saved by Grace, mended by the Potter, healed by the Healer, and washed clean with His blood. As a Christian, anytime I take my eyes away from Jesus, I am then looking at the world and doing things my way. Jesus doesn’t let us go when we falter. He holds us in His arms until we finally look up to Him and see that we have fallen. It may be immediately, and it might take a while (years, even). The only thing we have control over in this world is whether or not we will look to Jesus, or abandon Him for the enticing beckoning of the world – Satan’s playground.
I know from my own life experience that I will stumble and fall, and I will continue to stumble. It happens every single time I take my eyes off Jesus and I don’t commit every decision through prayer to the Holy Spirit. It happens when I pray and I don’t like the answer so I do whatever I think is right. My way. Ha. There’s a comment I’ve heard and I’ve used myself: “My way or the highway.” Think about it, and rephrase it: “Jesus’ Way, or the highway of Satan.” There are two roads through your life. I chose Satan’s highway for years, and can’t even begin to tell of all of the wrecks that happened. When we travel the broad and glittering highway of the world, we become battered and bruised and broken. Traveling the path with Jesus doesn’t mean we will never get hurt. In fact, because it is a narrow path, with precipices and deep valleys to go through, we have to hold on tightly to His Hand to stay on the correct path. When we take our eyes off of our guide, we will stumble and fall. The difference is that Jesus heals us of the hurts, and the enemy rubs salt in our wounds. Why do we think that’s better??
Keep your eyes on Jesus! He will guide us the way we need to go, and never, ever let leave us.
Thanks to my friend, John Lawton, for this depiction of the mountains and valleys we go through.