Are you a stray? I think I am sometimes. Once in a while I get the feeling that I will never understand anything. Or anyone. I wonder what I'm doing here, even though I know exactly what I'm doing here. I know God has a plan. I know God has a purpose. I know God laid out the path I'm supposed to follow. And I try hard to stay on that path.
Occasionally, I stray off the path. I won't call it the beaten path because I don't see many who want to really walk on it. They see it as limiting, tiny, impossible. I see it as wide open though narrow, and I see limitless possibilities there. I want to walk that path. I want to stay on that path.
But there are so many distractions along the way. Most of these can be incorporated into the path, but some of them call from the rocky shoulders in loud voices and it's hard to ignore them. If they're not on the path, they're not something I should be involved with, right? Can I get them onto the path somehow? Depends on what it is, I suppose.
One of these distractions is the perfectionism trap. If I'm not perfect, then I have failed. If I've made a mistake, then I've been tossed off my path anyway. Why would God have any use for me at all? I can't seem to get it right anyway.
But God does have a use for me. So I stumbled. So what? I'm getting back up. I refuse to be afraid to face The One I love best of all. I know He will welcome me with open arms and forgive me. All I have to do is own up to my failures. Hand them over so maybe I won't keep tripping over them all the time.
Are you ashamed to face God? Do you feel like you've just messed up too bad? I want to reassure you right in this moment that you haven't. If you will sincerely kneel down at His feet and admit, then throw away, that mistake, it's over. Don't hide from The One who loves you.
Remember, He made you. If you've strayed, no matter how far it took you away, in less than one minute you can be back home again. You'll be wondering why it took you so long, why you waited. Refuse to give in. Satan ruins a lot of lives because he convinces us that after all the things we've done, God will never forgive us. We're horrible, worthless, unusable.
We stink like piles of garbage that have been sitting in the hot sun for days. Satan is a great liar and he tells us the things we may want to hear. He kicks us when we're down. God tells us the truth. He picks us up and hugs us.
Once you know the truth, it's very hard for Satan to trip you up as often.
This is for the strays, those who have known the love of God, yet backslidden, or erred in some way, and just don't know what to do now. Here's what you do. RUN, don't walk, back to Your Father. Confess and ACCEPT His forgiveness. Then let it go and stop rehashing it over and over. It's done. Jesus says, "Go and sin no more." That's what you have to keep trying to do. We are reaching for a goal here. Due to our humanness, the likelihood of our sinning 'no more' is very slim. But we must press on by studying the Bible, finding out everything we can about our chosen path, and pushing forward with everything we have within us. We are being called to fight for that which we believe, and we have been told it will be very difficult.
If you just lay down and accept Satan's lies, then you've lost. Yesterday I read an article about the conviction of a young man who stole from, tied up, and raped an 87 year old woman for more than an hour. Yet, I know that if that young man whose act of depravity sickens me, sincerely asked for Our Father's forgiveness, he would receive it. Sin is sin. Whether viewed by us as a biggie or a smallie, it doesn't matter to God. He doesn't differentiate between them. One is no better nor worse than any other. One person is no more important to Him than the next--we're all equally important to Him, He loves us all the same, saved or not. If you find yourself at the opposite end of the pole--the one where you know you have done nothing wrong, you're saved, and gosh, that just makes you so much MORE than the next guy, well, I'm very happy for you but in reality, I don't know anyone like that. It's a process, this Christian walk, an active lifestyle, a constant throwing out that which is not needed and picking up that which is. I implore you to climb down from your perch, and humble yourself. You're showboating, and no one needs that. He still loves and cares for your unsaved brother just as much as He cares for you. He may want to use you to humbly demonstrate that love and care for Him.
If you've strayed, or are straying, please come back home. We miss you!
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Beth, as always you've written a thought provoking article and a much needed message! Goodness, we all have strayed and if it wasn't for God's mercy - well I hate to think where I woudl be today! I think there are a couple important parts in your message - #1 recognizing we all stray and we can get back up and go on #2 we must love the strays- we must climb off our self-righteous perch and remember that it is only God's mercy that gets us back on the right path!!!!!!!! Great message sis!!! Praying for you!!!!! Jounda