James says “We all stumble in many ways.” (James 3:2) This passage of scripture is easy for us to understand since we have all experienced “stumbling”. Even though God tells us to be holy as he is holy (1 Peter 1:16) we know that we all struggle with various sins.
How do you respond in the face of failure as you seek to obey the Lord? Say, for example, you succumb to temptation and fall into some sin. Many of us:
- Condemn ourselves.
- Wallow in the shame and feel sorry for ourselves for a period of time.
- Feel as though we are incapable of loving God, or being loved by God.
- Question our ability to be effective servants for the Lord after such failures.
- Give up trying.
The Lord does not want us to sin. His goal for us is to be set free from sin and live in the “glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21) We want to set sin aside, and as a result we need to examine our lives after failure. How can we live a life where we learn a greater level of obedience to the Lord?
The list above of potential reactions to sin represents wrong reactions. When we face situations where we have sinned we should:
- Repent. This means turn away from the sin and turn to the Lord. Don’t wallow in the failure. Immediately turn to the Lord.
- Thank the Lord that He has shown you that you sinned. If you don’t see that you sinned, you cannot seek God for change.
- Confess to the Lord, and remind yourself that He alone is the source of your satisfaction, purity, and strength.
- Pray that the Lord would reveal the following:
- What you did wrong.
- The signs indicating that you were being tempted. Make a personal note of these for future reference. When these present themselves again in your life, you can react appropriately next time.
- Your specific areas of weaknesses?
- Seek the Lord for the ability to have your eyes open for the future.
- Ask someone whose maturity in Christ you respect and ask them to pray with and for you.
- Memorize an appropriate passage of scripture such as the one listed below.
Try this for at least a month.
Memory verse: 1 Corinthians 10:13