Your Response Determines What You Receive
In this season of my life, the Lord has been specifically working on restoration. It is easier for a person to speak out of victory but it is purely His Mercy for a person to speak out of defeat. How gracious is our God that He looks upon us even in our failures and loves us the same! How wonderful that He teaches us the most valuable lessons in our valley moments!
But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the LORD, ‘because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.’
I started this year acknowledging that I had lost my zeal for the Lord and had let go of my first love. I allowed other things to take my time and one by one, slowly but surely these things began pulling me away from His presence. I began disconnecting with my spiritual family, from my mentors and I noticed how offense quickly settled in. I tried on my own to get back up and start over but kept failing and kept getting discouraged. And just like that I had fallen prey to the two deadliest weapons in my book, that Satan uses to destroy a believer:
1. Offense – To keep us away from fellowship with our spiritual family
2. Discouragement – To keep us away from the presence of God
Many believers in their spiritual adolescence have succumbed to these two hindrances to their spiritual growth. But maturity is to realize that your response determines what you receive! Maturity is in putting our pride aside and humbling ourselves in order to accept and submit to the spiritual authority placed over our lives.
Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!
Offenses must come. Offenses are inevitable. But to be offended is a sign that we are still clinging to the old nature of our self that is supposed to have been crucified with Christ. I thank God for the spiritual leaders of this house that toil and war for us in prayer and reach out to us in love on so many occasions. Although they reached out to me on many occasions, my offense at being convicted by my own failures kept me from opening up and rendering me trying to climb back up on a slippery slope having pushed away the hand that the Lord had sent to help me.
Another misconception I had about the Holiness of God was that it condemned me in my failures and because of this I could not go to Him in the time of my need. Discouragement keeps us from entering into the very place that we are supposed to enter boldly. Adam and Eve from walking in close communion with God, from what I imagine having probably walked with God in the garden, ended up hiding from God when they fell.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
They heard the footsteps of God and hid. I think we can agree that hiding problems from someone we are intimate with simply causes more strain on the relationship. I had failed to understand that the Holiness of God does not condemn us, it invites us! Darkness becomes the light that it is exposed to but what we choose to leave in the shadows remains in the shadows!
But everything exposed by the light becomes visible–and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.
And after months of having shut myself out of fellowship with my spiritual family as well as staying out of the presence of God, one night, the Holy Spirit gently began nudging at my heart and I woke up convicted knowing that He was still calling me, knowing that the failure of Peter did not disqualify him from His mandate, from His calling, I got on my knees and repented. I knew and understood that I had to stop responding with offense and discouragement in order to receive my breakthrough! I believe a day later, one of the leaders of this House reached out to me asking if I had any prayer request, to which I responded with humility and honesty knowing that God had sent him. With his help I came up with practical ways to get back and I would like to share those here:
1. To spend some time alone with God everyday
2. To become accountable to someone in church leadership
3. To attend church meetings online
4. To try to build fellowship with church members as well as leadership
5. To sit back and analyze every once in a while to figure out what might be killing my hunger for God
And so in the midst of my journey to restoration, The Lord gave me an opportunity and put it in my heart to be vulnerable enough to share my failures and how God in His Mercy helped me get back up. In conclusion, I want to quote our Prophet Shyju Mathew, “The secret of the standing man is not that he never fell down. The secret of the standing man is that he learnt the art of getting back up, over and over again!”
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