Even with our sincere and honest confession of sin to God, we will often drift back into old patterns and ways. How does God deal with this? ◊
At some point in our lives, we all have what many refer to as a “Come to Jesus” moment. Obviously this implies a religious epiphany, but the phrase is often used in simply citing a moment of recognition of a need to transform, reset, or recalibrate our life, or behavior, or a way of thinking.
This reset may even be acknowledged and memorialized with a shared or public declaration of our turning, or even a celebration at some point after that Come to Jesus moment.
We have an example of this in Nehemiah Chapter 12 as a major celebration and formal dedication ceremony is conducted after the walls around Jerusalem are completed and the people have rededicated their faith and worship to God:
Now at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought…to celebrate the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings and singing, with cymbals and stringed instruments and harps. And the sons of the singers gathered together from the countryside around Jerusalem…and the priests and Levites purified themselves, and purified the people, the gates, and the wall. (Nehemiah 12:27-30)
But then there’s a lapse, or even a collapse, that signals the falling away from a high-mark of attainment, or attempt at transformation, or at a minimum, good and noble intentions.
In Nehemiah 13, the final chapter, we’ll get a glimpse of how God and the Holy Spirit, exemplified in the person of Nehemiah, responds in bold strength and love to the ongoing sinful people of Jerusalem.
There’s a spiritual parallel in our own lives. One may have a literal Come to Jesus moment when they recognize their own brokenness and spiritual longing for connection and wholeness with God. They hear of God’s love, care, and plan for the personal redemption of all humanity through the sacrificial death of God Himself in the God/Man form of Jesus Christ.
One may come to God in prayer or in a public setting and acknowledge and confess their sinful ways. According to the Scriptures, they are declared “a new creation” reborn:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
But invariably we fail again, and fall. After all, we are all human with human foibles.
And therein lies the rub. One is a reborn Christian, yet one continues to sin or drift apart from God, or even “fall away.”
The Human Predicament
In our own power, this problem is not easily overcome. The natural response to this very common human predicament of recurring sin is as follows:
- Ignore it. – This is the easiest solution as one simply moves on with life and away from that long and now distant Come to Jesus moment that is rationalized away as quaint, youthful ignorance or innocence of a bygone era.
- Hide it. – This is more insidious as one consciously or unconsciously squelches the guilt and remorse with a cover-up approach that carries with it scars, damage, and psychological trauma that lingers near the surface or is deeply embedded in the soul.
- Address it. – While a renewed confession to God and rededication is the healthiest approach, many are often laden with ongoing underlying disbelief as they cannot fully forgive themselves and can hardly expect that God will ever love and forgive them as well.
The Christian world is full of people who are at various levels of Ignoring, hiding, or addressing the ongoing problem of relapsed sin. The good news is that God has made a provision for all of us.
He’s given us a Helper, a Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
A Personal Story
When I had my literal Come to Jesus moment at La Crescenta First Baptist Church at age 14, I was a naive young man who knew enough to respond in faith to a coherent Christian Gospel message and agree to reach out and submit to the Lordship of Jesus in my life.
I do recall another schoolmate who made the same “decision for Christ” that evening. What was strange to me at the time was that this experienced church-attender was coming back up to the front of the room to “rededicate” his life to Jesus again. While still naive, I had a hint here that this new life of Christianity was going to be an up and down experience.
Sure enough, I soon realized that the human heart, though surrendered to the God of my creation, was still susceptible to a world laden with spiritual darkness. With fits and starts on a slow path of learned submission and obedience to God’s Holy Spirit, I gained wisdom and knowledge of God’s Word, ways, love, patience, faithfulness, and power greater than any evil power in this physical world and spiritual realm.
And the battle is ongoing. But with God’s Helper and Comforter, the Holy Spirit, engaged through prayer and conversation like with a friend, I am growing in faith, strength, perseverance to forge forward in life through all the ups and the downs:
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)
In a very real sense, I now rededicate myself every day to the God of my creation who knows me, loves me, encourages me, forgives me, and leads me in all that I do.
It’s a better way to live.
Have you dedicated or rededicated your life today?
I had the leaders of Judah go up on top of the wall. I also assigned two large choirs to give thanks. – Nehemiah 12:31
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