Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I Don't Wanna Fall Away From You

Lately I've heard a number of people voice this concern: "Things are going so well, God is blessing me so much, but there's something inside of me that worries I might slip up and lose it all.  I don't want to fall away, how do I not fall away?"

This is a good concern to have.  God blessing us with this amazing abundance of love and grace, is like putting a box of diamonds into the hands of a child. We know that it's precious, but we also know what fools we can be when our selfish nature takes over.  When we're close to Him, we never want to let that go, but once the slight drift away from His presence begins, we usually have no idea how far and how fast we can be diverted.  When we realize what we've done, so much damage has already happened, we fear that we can never return.  Those who go through this spiritual roller-coaster have not yet reached the point of truly becoming a new creature. They're on the way, but haven't gotten there yet.

Thankfully, God is tougher than we are.  His mercy is everlasting - those aren't my words, those are His!  True repentance pulls us right back on track.  We don't have to earn His forgiveness, like many medieval monks used to think, who would sleep out in the freezing cold, or whip themselves until they bled to make themselves worthy of God.  The only thing we have to kill is our pride and our rebellious spirit.  If we're ready to return to God, He is more than ready to return to us.

If you grew up in families that held grudges, that gave each other the silent treatment or ignored those that displeased the rest of them, it may be hard to imagine a perfect and powerful God who forgives with open arms.  In fact, none of us have ever met anyone with such a generous heart as God, but that doesn't mean we can't start believing that He welcomes us - all of us who are truly sorry for the many times we've rejected Him, and who truly determine that they never want to fall away again.

There's that tricky verse in Hebrews about how it is impossible for those who have tasted the heavenly gifts to fall away and be restored again.  That terrifies many into believing that they are a lost cause and shouldn't even bother asking God to forgive them.  But most likely, those who keep striving and falling and striving again, are those who have never really made it to true freedom in the first place.  That means there is a level of closeness to God that you can reach where you are transformed and sealed in Him.  The temptation to ever fall away is so diminished, that you would have to willfully choose it over the life of freedom that you enjoy with Him every day.  That would be such foolishness, but apparently there are some who have done just that.

So shoot for that transformed life, that new birth when you can say without a doubt that you are His and His alone. And though you never want to fall away from Him, that fear of being snatched out of God's hand can no longer consume you because you are safe.  

I used to listen to this song over and over in the early 80's when Keith Green was still alive and pounding out radical Christian music on his piano.  Someone put images to the song, and even included this passage from Hebrews at the beginning.  Listen and read through the lyrics.  These words should echo our prayer to never drift away from Him again.

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