I’m back after taking a few months off to focus on the spring semester. I’ve made it no secret that the last almost year I’ve spent in Jonesboro, transitioning to full-fledged “adulthood,” has been a very trying and very stressful time, and it has been a time filled with failures, more than I can count.
I have struggled to pay attention to God’s Word. I have seen my pride and laziness reach unseen and unusual levels, and I’ve seen idols in my life rob me of time with God and joy in God. I have gone from a mindset and lifestyle centered exclusively on God to a lifestyle where God becomes just another part of my life, another box on my to-do list.
Yet, as I reflect on the many ways I’ve failed God, I cannot count one instance where He has failed me. As I write this tonight, I see where God has forgiven me and is working to overcome these failures and sins in my life. I am excited about what God is doing in the future, and by God’s grace, I know I am growing more and more into the man God has called me to be, day by day. Slowly but surely, God is not only restoring me to the life I had before I moved, where Jesus was front and center in my life, but He is working to help me love Jesus more, trust Jesus more and live more fully for Him. While I have failed, God has not failed, God is not failing and God will never fail me.
As hard as it is to confess my own failures, we cannot speak of God’s grace if we don’t speak of our need for that grace. God’s grace is great because our sin is wicked and because we are worse than even we know. And I believe that not only is it time to move forward in my life from almost a year of a less-than-satisfying Christian walk, it’s time for some reading this to do the same. While you may not find yourself struggling in the exact same way, we all, at different times in our life, hit a snag in our following of Jesus. What we do in those moments is crucial. We will either continue in that struggle, turn our back on Jesus, or we will keep going.
So how can we keep going? What can we do to do that?
- Pray honestly and earnestly. If you’re going to keep going and keep following Jesus, and you see things in your life that would keep you from doing that, the first person you should tell is God. Get honest about what’s keeping you from living fully for Him, and trust God to forgive you and help you. Prayer is a vital, necessary component of a life fully centered on God.
- Trust your Savior. No matter how far you’ve fallen, how much sin you see in your life, how bad your struggle is, there is blood that has been shed that can cover that sin. Confess it and turn against it and turn to Jesus. Trust in His power.
- Seek fellowship with other believers. God has used my new church home, as well as godly brothers in Christ, to convict me, encourage me and remind me of the promises of God.
- Worship. Spend time singing to the Lord, meditating on His Word, attend church consistently and make your life about God by praising Him daily.
- Spend time in God’s Word. This is where I’ve struggled the most. Bible reading, study and memorization are vital to applying God’s Word. All four of those actions must be taken, but it starts with reading God’s Word. Don’t put it off. Don’t get bogged down trying to catch up in your plan if you use one. Just get in God’s Word.
God loves His children, and He disciplines them because He loves them (Heb. 12:6). Let God’s discipline and God’s grace lead you to repentance, and let it remind you how good life with Him really is. So if you’ve fallen, if you’ve lost that focus on God or joy in God, remember Him and come back. Don’t give up. Keep going.
Lord, may we never give up in the Christian life. May we keep going. May we remember your grace is strong enough, not only to save us when we began following you, but every single day. May we read your Word, pray more, worship more and trust you more. May we keep going, by your grace.