So you go to the conference, or the bible study, or the service, or the small group – and you finally decide to give your life to Christ. You prayed the prayer, you’re ready to turn from your old ways, and follow Jesus with your whole heart. There’s a fire burning inside of you that is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. And this continues for a few months, or maybe even longer, but then, your past starts knocking… softly, at first, but harder as time continues. You get a group text, and its that old group of friends that you used to always go out with (usually accompanied by a morning of regret) talking about making plans to go out this weekend because they haven’t seen you in forever, or that ex that still wants to be “just friends” and “hang out” (hey, maybe you could just go over there and tell him about God right? Hint – wrong). Or that coworker who comes to you and starts gossiping to you about all of the recent office drama, urging you to join in. Or maybe everyone your family starts telling you that you need to lighten up and “have a little fun” like you used to do. You don’t really see the harm in any of it – besides, you’re pretty sure you can’t be that easily tempted into your old ways.
But then, before you know it, you feel like you’re back at square one. If this has ever been you, believe me when I tell you, I get it. I’ve been there, more times than I’d like to admit. I’ve questioned “Am I really saved?” because it just didn’t seem like my struggles were going away and my life was as radically on fire as it was in the beginning. And I think we don’t talk about it enough. A lot of people tell you the day that they gave their lives to Jesus, they never looked back. They were forever changed, and while they may have had a few obstacles, they’ll never say that they have any moments of total backsliding. But I have. I’ve looked back. I’ve portrayed my life one way, as I slipped back into another. I’ve hidden it because it isn’t something I heard Christians talking about. Ive hidden it because I didn’t want to be labeled a hypocrite. I’ve isolated myself and my emotions because I thought, “I’m not supposed to feel this way”; I’ve felt ashamed, discouraged, and fearful of looking like a fraud.
What I didn’t understand then, what I want you to understand now… You aren’t alone. The best way for the enemy to grab hold onto your life is to completely isolate you. Why? Because then, is when you’re most vulnerable to fear, self-doubt, shame, and confusion. Because then, you may just believe that none of it was real, that God may have tried to save you but you were just too far gone to be completely changed. Satan is deceptive, and would do anything to discredit the work God had done in your life – and he’ll do it at any cost. The thing is, despite all of it, despite every moment of falling backwards, despite the self-doubt, and beyond the shame… You have authority over the enemy. You still belong to the King of Kings, and you are still called higher. You may have backslid, but it doesn’t mean you have to stay there. And it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t want to use you or fulfill the promises He has for you anymore.
God doesn’t promise the journey of following Him to be a smooth sailing one – in fact, it’s often quite the opposite. But do NOT let yourself believe the lie that you were not worthy of the work done on that cross. Following Christ is hard sometimes, and leaving behind everything you’ve known before you surrendered your life to Him isn’t always as simple as people make it out to be. Trust me, I know. But it IS worth it. YOU are worth it. And your story is just getting started.
With the Father’s love,
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