Wandering, But Not Lost
There are many Christians who have been, or are going through, a "dry spell." They may even have fallen back into sin. The Bible tells us that our "adversary the devil walks about like a lion, seeking whom he may devour." Friends, just because you are saved doesn't mean that you won't still be chased by the enemy and wooed back to your former life. You may wonder, "Has God forgotten me? Why doesn't God hear my prayers? Why am I going through this?"
I know someone who seemed to once be on fire for the Lord. He was saved in the early 90's and radically delivered from alcohol. There were many years of dedication to the Lord and growth. However, over a short period of time, the enemy attacked him and he lost his way, turning from everything he knew to be of God. Why does this happen? Do you feel that you have lost your way? 2 Peter 1:9 tells us that we, as believers, can become shortsighted, even to blindness, and forgetful that we were once cleansed from our old sins when we lack the fruits mentioned later in this article. That explains how someone, who was once a godly person, can be deceived by the enemy to the point that they cannot even see it. There are those who may even begin to doubt their salvation.
You've heard the old saying that we were never promised a rose garden. Well, it's even in the Bible! 1 Peter 5:10 says that God will perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle us AFTER we have suffered a while. Evidently, it is God's plan that we experience seasons of suffering. Think about it - how do you really grow to depend on the Lord? If we have everything we need because of our own works, then why do we need Him? I think all of us have had to come to a point in our lives where we are at the end of our rope. But that's precisely where God wants us. In fact, it would suit Him just fine if we lived in that state every day. The word tells us that out of our weakness, we are made strong. Make no mistake about it - God will not share His glory with anyone. He alone must be the reason for our joy, happiness, and strength. That's why the next verse gives God the glory (vs. 11).
If you have found yourself wandering in the wilderness, there is a plan from God to bring you out! (2 Pet. 1:5-8)
Step 1: Be diligent. We must decide to pursue God regularly, even when our flesh doesn't feel like it. That may mean going to church, when we really don't want to, or reading the Word, even though it's late at night.
Step 2: Add virtue to our faith. A person is saved by faith. We must simply believe that Jesus died for our sins and offers us the free gift of salvation. That's only the beginning of what God wants to do in our hearts and lives. He calls us to begin living a virtuous life. Would people look at your life and your house and see evidence that you are a Christian?
Step 3: Add knowledge. This comes through the teachings of the church and reading of the Word. The Lord wants us to grow daily in the knowledge of Him, His principles, and His promises. This information is essential for daily, practical Christian living.
Step 4: Add self-control. Restrain from sinful behavior, bad habits, and addictions. "Resist the devil" and his plots to keep you in sin. What is it that occupies your time so that you cannot fellowship with God? Whatever it is (TV, internet, hobbies, overworking, sin), it's time to practice balance and self-control.
Step 5: Add perseverance. It is time to put down our notion of "I want it and I want it now." God will never bow to our time line. We have to develop a thick skin and refuse to give up when life throws us curve balls.
Step 6: Add godliness. Our desire should be to become more Christ-like each day... more of Him, and less of us.
Step 7: Add brotherly kindness. God calls us to be kind to one another. There will be people in your life who you may find very difficult to like. But we are not asked to like everyone; we are commanded to LOVE one another. This kind of love is something only God can infuse within us, and is poured out from us through this process.
Step 8: Add LOVE. When you come to the point in your life where you start seeing others in a different light (more like how God sees them), you know that you are well on the road to really having the love of God in your heart. This love allows you to dodge firey darts (insults, actions against you) and see through to the hurting heart of others. When we have God's love towards another, we are the most effective witnesses.
With all of these fruits, the Word tells us that we "will be neither barren nor unfruitful." Wow, what a promise! Just because you veered off the path that God had you, He doesn't leave you behind. In fact, once you are saved, God never stops trying to grow you. It's up to you to listen to His guidance. He may not keep you from suffering the consequences of your actions, but He wants to bring you into a life of victory. His purpose and plan for you depends on it!
When you make the effort to pursue these fruits, you will see a dramatic change in your life and heart. Don't allow the enemy to rob you of the victorious life Jesus died to give you! When you are saved, you may fall from time to time, but you are never lost!
Copyright 2005 From My Heart To Yours