Thursday, January 5, 2012

Surviving a Fall

     On our five acres, we have an abundance of trees in which the squirrels love to play.  They are the natural acrobats of God's creation leaping from place to place with no fear and a great deal of ease.  I love watching them every morning play outside our bathroom patio doors.  Two trees are in close proximity so our squirrel friends run across our roof, drop onto our fence and then leap into the tree.  Occasionally, they will sit on our fence for a time while enjoying a nut.  Their agility and speed amazes me.  However, there are occasions when they do make a misstep.
     One day, my husband and I were in our pool relaxing when we glanced over at a nearby tree where several squirrels were chasing one another.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a squirrel leap and miss the tree he was aiming for.  We heard a thud on the ground as he fell.  There was silence for a moment as the stunned squirrel lay on the ground,  Then, quick as a wink, he jumped up and ran up the nearest tree once again.  I thought it was surprising that the squirrel survived the fall from high up, but they are resilient creatures.  Then I wondered.  Are we as resilient as the squirrels when we fall?  As believers, we should be.
     Traveling life's highways has its challenges every day.  Sometimes, we are asked to walk a tightrope through some sticky situations just like our squirrel friends navigate the power lines in our neighborhood.  At other times, we can bounce across circumstances like our acrobatic friends with no problem at all.  Then, there are days when we fall.  The temptation to sin overcomes us and we give in to doing what is wrong in God's eyes.  We know when we have missed the mark, but our response is key.  We can either turn and repent before the Lord seeking His forgiveness, or we can rationalize what we have done and continue on in sin.  For example, think about being on a diet.  We start out quite well until we see a delicious chocolate cake sitting on the counter  calling our name.  We give in and eat one piece.  It tastes so good, but we know we have just broken our eating plan.  We can either repent of our action and resolve to avoid such temptation with God's help, or we can use the excuse that since we ate one piece we might as well have another.  After all, we have already messed things up today.  We can do better tomorrow.  However, tomorrow will not necessarily find us stronger.  It is only when we confess and repent before the Lord that we can get up like that stunned squirrel and bounce off to another adventure in living.  I John 1:9 tells us:  "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  This is how we can survive a fall dear friends.  Rationalizing our behavior will not revive us.  In fact, verse 10 in this same chapter reads:  "If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us."
     God knows when we have fallen.  Scripture tells us that He knows the number of hairs on our head, and He is aware when a sparrow falls to the ground.  He is aware of our transgressions whether we tell Him or not.    As believers, we have the ability to choose right from wrong because Christ has set us free from the slavery of sin.  We do not have to fall.  Before we came into relationship with Christ as Lord and Savior, we had no choice.  The Bible tells us in Genesis that after the Fall into sin man's heart intention was to do evil from his youth (Genesis 8:21b).  We are born with the sin nature.  Only the shed blood of Christ can set us free, and when we come into a believing relationship with Him, He breaks the chains that have bound us to guilt and shame.  This is good news!
     Now, when we fall (and we all still do), we are able through confession and repentance to be restored in fellowship with God.  Like the squirrel that hit the ground so hard, we are able to get up and move on in our walk.  We are not permanently down for the count.  This is why David was able to pen these words:  "The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in His way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand" (Psalm 37:23-24).  It is a blessing to know that we have an advocate, an attorney who argues our case before God the Father - even our Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the reason we can survive a fall just like that squirrel.  If we are willing to repent of our sins and not rationalize them, He will restore to us the joy of our salvation and give us the strength to resist temptation.   Selah!

4 comments:

Diane said...

Barbara, I loved this today. It's exactly what I've been meditating and praying about this morning after finishing Deuteronomy. We fall so often, but praise God, He is ready to pick us up again.

(but really, did you have to bring up the diet thing? lol! arghhh.:)

Christina said...

Oh, Amen and Amen. I was just thinking yesterday, of my own failure, sin, and humiliation -- it is ALL very much part of the process. Learning to see it as such is, in and of itself, an act of grace. But praise God -- this is our assurance: "for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." (Phillipians 2:13)!

Another honest but encouraging post!

Thank you!

PS Diane is funny! Ha ha!

Barbara Thayer said...

Oh Diane....sorry I did mention the "Diet" word here...but I am glad that you were encouraged by what I shared. Isn't God so good to forgive us when we turn to Him! What great love He has for us and that gives me all the more encouragement each day to keep on keeping on knowing of His great care for us! Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

Barbara Thayer said...

Christina...it is so true that we are growing and learning much like little children do. It is glorious to know that God is busy at work in our lives reconstructing all that sin has tried to destroy in us. His righteousness being imputed to us is such an amazing thought! How gracious a God we serve. Thank you as always for stopping by. It is so good to be in the company of godly women with whom I enjoy sharing. Blessings!