“…Obedience to God’s call would result in a life of safety and security. Obedience, was implied, would lead to effective ministry and results and even success. ‘The safest place to be,’ I was told more than once, ‘was to be in the center of God’s will.’ And that sounded both true and reassuring.”-Nik Ripken
If you are a Christian of any sort, whether a baby Christian all the way up to mature, congratulations! You need to be celebrated, for the people of the world will not celebrate you for following God’s Son, Jesus Christ who took the way the world operates and turned it upside down where the world has at its mantra “everything to better me” versus Jesus Christ’s mantra of “everything to better others.” Jesus Christ commands people for helping others, where humility wins out over peacefulness.
Everything about Jesus Christ goes against the people in the world (worldly people). But weren’t we worldly people to, once? Yes? Yes, we were. And we, Christians, find ourselves turning to worldly people ways of finding solutions to our problems whether it minor to catastrophic. However, being a Christian means you have to wait on the Lord, but with all the pressing demands of the world Christians don’t have a second to waste. So what is the God-fearing and respecting Christian supposed to do?
What could be better than sharing my constant battles waiting on the Lord and the demands of worldly people in a fast world? The whole perspective of my life changed when I turned 18.
See, shortly after I turned 18, it was early summer. Not a full week had gone by when I was in a horrifying, almost fatalistic car accident, for I got into my accident June 28th, 1989 around 6 am (with hours to complete before a full week of summer had passed by into all eternity). I had several pieces of glass lodged into my head plus an open traumatic brain injury Thus began my journey into the land of waiting on the Lord and the demands of worldly people living in a fast world.
For even after it was clear that I would survive (1-month coma until 3 weeks in my rehabilitation stay where I made a solemn vow to the Lord that I would live out whatever life He had for me), I still found recovery extremely frustrating and difficult. However, once I asked a doctor walking down the hallway of the rehabilation hospital how long would I have expressive aphasia, he just looked at me and said never. It was devastating that my recovery would only be partial at best. There was nothing I could do; I would have to start accepting my “new normal” as Jeff Huxford, M.D. describes it in his new book, “Finding Normal.” *-a book about a doctor who had just reached his ultimate goal of being a doctor only to have it ripped away twice by a closed traumatic brain injury.
It is not easy. In fact, I continue to warn people about the dangers that contributed to my almost fatalistic car accident. Yet I do not know where I would be without that car accident. Before the accident, I was confident that I knew what God wanted for my life since the age of 14. It took the accident to reevaluate my life that I was God’s, and He could do anything with my life. So, I let Him- 3 weeks out of 2 1/2 months into my in-patient rehabilitation process.
You may say, “Excellent story. But how does this have to do with failure as a Christian?” Ever since my accident, I have become more self-aware (to almost a detriment), except that it makes me lean on God more. I am being honest.
I have a master’s of science in human services, but I haven’t been able to use it because of my slowness, the way that I talk due to expressive aphasia, my slowness of speech, and a constant limp on my right side. Most of the time, I don’t notice my constant limp except on deep, ominous, dark cloudy days to when the barometric pressure decides to go up or down. Yet the rest, I am pretty much aware of on good days, self-loathing on worst of worst days.
During the worst days, I feel like I can’t do anything right, leaving me with an over-sense of failure. As a Christian (especially a True Life Christian), am I supposed to feel that way? Yes and no. Let me explain.
Coming from Genesis 1-3, the first man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve, introduced sin into the world. Ever since then, the human race has tried to reach up to God. However, since sin separates us from God, Adam and Eve had to leave the Garden of Eden, and the Garden of Eden was guarded by an angel. Since sin separates humanity from God, God had to send His Son (Jesus Christ) to take the weight of the whole world’s sin (both past, present, and future) and die a bloody death on a cross, thus sin was paid for as long as humanity has to accept Christ (John 3:16-21). Yet three days later God the Father raised Jesus Christ, God the Son.
However, I am supposed to explain the overwhelming feeling you and I get in response to failure as a Christian. This is where one of my favorite passages of Scripture comes into play. Romans 8:26-28 says this:
Also, the Spirit helps us with our weakness. We do not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit Himself speaks to God for us, even begs God for us with deep feelings that words cannot explain. And He knows what is in the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit speaks to God for His people in the way God wants. We know in everything God works for the good to those that love Him. They are the people He called, because that was His plan. (NCV)
So for you True Life Christians out there, I have some more good news for you! What Happens When You Fail As A Christian? You are forgiven because Jesus Christ has taken punishment for all sin all of the time, but do not take that forgiveness for granted. As it says in 2 Corinthians 13:4-6:
For He (Jesus Christ) was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are also weak in Him, but in dealing with you we will live with Him by the power of God. Examine yourselves, to see whether or not you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or you do not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?- unless, indeed, you fail the test! I hope that you find out that you have not failed the test. (ESV)
Remedies for What Happens When You Fail As A Christian:
1. You are forgiven!
2. Ask for forgiveness anyway because that keeps you sensitive before God. Examine yourselves.
3. Rejoice over your continual forgiveness!
“… This is what God offers His people. This is God expects of His people, and His people will respond with obedience and trust. I am not suggesting that I always got it right because I didn’t. But still, the way to be so trusting seemed clear, and the need to be obedient was beyond question…”-Nik Ripken
How has the year 2018 been for you? It could have been the year of surprises, disappointments, or both which if in all honesty is like that for many of us. Whether you have the past year as full of many pleasant surprises or disappointments leading to disasters, I have some good news for you.
”What good news do you speak of?” many may wonder. What I am about to tell you unfortunately been communicated before in various words. As you read this, I beg of you not to treat this as another broken new year’s resolution. In fact, I heard with my own two ears that 80% break their new year’s resolution sometime in February and that most of them have to do with exercising, losing weight, and/or eating better. Year after year, we keep doing the same thing.
In a recent church service, the Bedford Campus Director gave a pretty interesting way to overcome this sense of failure to keep the New Year’s Resolution. He suggested one day at a time. He gave personal examples of things, such as health and personal fitness, and he is now confident that after a time he won’t be drawn into those behaviors again. He then got a little bit personal as he told us of a personal sin that he has been struggling with but knew it had to come out of his life if he would ever want to move forward with this one area of his spiritual life.
“One day at a time,” he said, “with being intentional about giving it to the Lord.” Give your life to the Lord, that is the only way to have A True Wish For The New Year!