Avoiding Retreat

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“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)

It’s another night in my life of mentoring young men and encouraging them how to live a God-centered life, followed by a failed test leading to an obvious sin in my own spiritual walk. Isn’t it fitting that as soon as we make a stand for Christ or encourage somebody else in their walk, that we hit a wall in our lack of obedience to Christ and choose defeat rather than victory? We literally choose not to win… You ever been here before?

Men, do you have those days where you feel inadequate as a Christian?

The days where you want to run from your responsibilities? The days where you fear living a “sold out” life for God? It’s easy to retreat and hide and live in a shell doing what feels good in the moment like the rest of the world, right? Moses and God had a similar discussion.

“But Moses pleaded with the Lord, ‘O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.’ Then the Lord asked Moses, ‘Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” – Exodus 4:10-12 (NLT)

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“When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, ‘Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:6-7 (NLT)

I know this battle and the fear of falling on my face and becoming a laughing stock as a Christian. We can choose to listen to that discouraging voice to shut us down spiritually and escape into our sin and temporary “feel good,” or we can choose to run to Christ and learn what He wants to teach us in our moment of weakness. It’s a deliberate choice to follow Christ or to run away and live for ourselves. Keep in mind that living that lifestyle of constant sin is empty, lonely, and unfulfilling.

Are you passing these tests? God’s watching and keeping score…

I’d like to encourage you though, when you’re feeling weak and inadequate, to remember that God uses common, sinful men who have willing hearts. Look at how David and Paul were some of the biggest studs of the Bible, yet they were former murderers and adulterers that God still used. God rarely uses the “obvious choice.” Shoot! Jonah actually ran from God and His responsibility! Look how that worked out for him…Not so great. Even Jesus’ disciples were simple fishermen and tax collectors.

God looks at our hearts!

Satan wants to condemn us but the Holy Spirit wants to convict us to make the necessary changes needed for our spiritual maturity. Don’t let Satan’s lies defeat you but allow the Holy Spirit’s pressing on your heart to change you. If you’re taking a stand for Christ and living a set-apart lifestyle, then Satan will try to oppress you and bring you down, but God wants to lead you to maturity in your Christian walk as His Spirit prompts you. Are you listening? Keep going, man of God!

“But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all).” – Romans 8:9 (NLT)

Stay the course and do your best as you rely on God’s strength to keep moving forward. Obey the Holy Spirit’s leading as He lays it on your heart and make the necessary changes in the way you live. Pray for God’s peace, wisdom, and direction. God knows we’re not perfect and His grace and forgiveness is sufficient for us in our struggle. Don’t retreat!

Push ahead in God’s strength and leave the rest behind.

Sincerely, with All of God’s Love for You,

Jeremy D. Pestor

 

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