“For I am the Lord, I change not! (Malachi 3:6)
The gifts and call of God are without repentance!” (Romans 11:29)
Have you ever felt like you’ve blown it?
Does your conscience sometimes say to you, “Look, you have made a mess of your life thus far; what makes you think you will ever accomplish anything for the glory of God?”
Well, if that thought has ever crossed your mind, I’ve got news for you. For some of us converted sinners, moments like that had broken in upon us more than once. If only we could have a strong, vibrant faith. Just what would it take for us to be more than conquerors for Christ?
Listen to the man who brought his demon-possessed, mute son to the Lord Jesus. Jesus said to him, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” And this father, weeping, cried out to Jesus, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”
Or take the great Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul, who was not only extremely intelligent, but had been caught up into Heaven itself and learned things about which he couldn’t even speak (see 2 Corinthians 12:2-4):
“I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I wish: I do not; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish.”
Now, if these gentlemen had problems, what about me and you? Let’s see if we can get some fundamentals about the Christian walk down pat.
First of all, all of Christ followers stumble. The function of our old nature is to trip us up. Satan and his minions revel in watching us fall down as we trudge the narrow path to the Celestial City.
But wait, there’s something we must realize: We’re not the only ones on this path. All Christians stumble; but all true Christians will reach the Celestial City.
Here’s what Paul admonished his son-in-the-faith Timothy: “If we believe not, yet He abides faithful; He cannot deny Himself.”
We all know our enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil. Isaac Watts, the converted slave trader wrote,
“Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
to help me on to God?”
Of course not. This world system is diametrically opposed to Christianity. We have plenty of foes to face. Paul confessed that in his flesh nothing good resided. And Satan, “prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Satan desires to defeat us the same way he defeated our first parents: by unbelief, that is, failing to trust what God has said and done for us.
Secondly, we must realize that God knows what He is about. He cannot and will not void His purpose for me or you.
“Because whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son…and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
God gave gifts – abilities, talents, and traits to each of His children. He called us to do something as His representatives on earth. We stumble, we sin, we doubt, we fail to grasp or avail ourselves of those provisions for victory that He long ago gave us.
But He has not changed His mind about those abilities with which He has entrusted us. He will not retreat from His goal of seeing us conformed to the image of His Beloved Son on our earthly pilgrimage until we step over the threshold into the mansion He’s preparing for us.
Thirdly, we need to realize that God will perform what discipline is necessary to assure that we become conformed to the likeness of His Son. He converted us and we can be assured that he will convict, correct, and chastise us to bring us into conformity to Christ.
So what do we do?
Realize our fickleness and recognize God’s faithfulness.
We are about failure; He is about success.
We are about defeat; He is about victory.
“If our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart and knows all things.” “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
God has quickened us from spiritual death and has positioned us in the resurrected life of His glorified Son. Though we stumble in our walk here below, by our continued repentance, trust and obedience, we stand tall, enthroned in the arms of the One who stands before the Throne of God as our intercessor – our defense attorney. And we are indwelt by the Spirit of God who takes every step we take, encouraging us to rise from our stumbling and march on as victors.
Perhaps it is best summarized by John Bunyan, who in Bedford Jail, sloshing through the Valley of the Shadow of Death declared,
“Oh, world of wonders (I can say no less),
that I should be preserved in that distress
that I have met with here! Oh, blessed be
that hand that from it hath delivered me!
Dangers in darkness, devils, hell, and sin
did compass me, while I this vale was in;
yea, snares, and pits, and traps, and nets did lie
my path about, that worthless, silly I
might have been catched, entangled, and cast down;
but since I live, let Jesus wear the crown.”
May we be challenged by God’s word through the ages and His work through His servants. And may we turn from our fickleness, and in His power, “run with endurance the race that is set before us,hastening to that day when we can see Him face to face.
From: Heart Wishes For a Friend
By: Beryl Clemens Smith