There are days when we all feel it – we are failing at this Christian life.
The man who would later be known as the Apostle Paul thought he had it all right. In Philippians 3:3-7, he gives us his resume. When it came to being a follower of God, no one did it better than Paul.
And then he fell off his horse.
Paul was on his way to Damascus to do even more for God when Jesus knocked him off his horse and temporarily blinded him. Then Jesus told Paul that he’d been doing it all wrong.
Some people who accept Jesus look for a list of rules to follow. We want to be as good at the Christian life as we are at everything else. God, in His grace, allows us to fail. He makes us realize that we can’t do it on our own.
We can’t measure up. Instead, we need help. In John 16:7-15, Jesus told us where to get help. The Holy Spirit’s will teach, guide, correct, empower us, and convince us of our sin (called conviction).
The enemy of our souls would love for us to wallow in the Spirit’s conviction. People who think they are defeated are easy targets.
Instead, God’s conviction helps us to rely on Him. When we are willing to lean on Him, He will guide us, correct us, teach us, and empower us. When we realize that we don’t measure up, we are in the perfect place.
Trying to get it right on your own is sin. If you keep hitting a wall of sin, you don’t have to feel trapped. Here’s the way out:
Bring it to God. Our first step is always confession – if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 ESV) – God will heal your heart and show you how to do life differently.
Listen. God will make changes in you to deal with the stresses that cause you to defend yourself in new ways.
Learn. The Holy Spirit will teach you not only how to overcome weakness, but also how to walk boldly. This is not because you are doing everything right, but because you have the Creator of the Universe working through you.
Share. Then the Holy Spirit will empower you to bring others to Jesus.
We are all tempted to try to do things on our own, and like Paul, we find ourselves knocked off our horse. Many cultures say that when you are knocked off your horse, you just get back on. Paul shows us instead that we need to confess our need for God, listen to his voice, and let Him change us. Then the Holy Spirit will empower us to make a real difference in this world.