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Courage in the Fight

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Question #1:  Robert, I am going through extremely tough times right now with family and other issues but I always try to look for things to be grateful for. I try to pray for others first, forgiveness for my sins second and for faith. Worrying and anxiety are other demons I deal with on a daily basis. The harm in worrying is actually two-fold it seems. Not only does it cause harm to your body (stress) but it does you absolutely no good, a complete waste of time. So, keeping that in mind I try to stay in today and leave the rest up to God. Unfortunately, most days are not like that and I do worry, deal with anger and anxiety. Please keep me in your prayers as I will do the same. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I was keeping you in my prayers and that I am glad you were able to get things up and running again, I know it's important for you to continue your website. True Christian sites are outnumbered by pornographic filth and all other evil (worldly) things, about 1000 to 1.  God Bless,

Response #1:  Thanks for your e-mails and thank you especially for your prayers. I will keep you in mine as well. The longer I live the more it is clear to me that everybody has problems and difficulties, believers and non-believers alike. But it is also very true that Christians are tested. Everyone who tries to live a sanctified life can expect opposition (2Tim.3:12). It is very admirable but not realistic to expect to win the battle of maintaining the proper mental attitude day by day every day. This is the first ditch of our defense, and the place we most often are engaged and repulsed by the evil one (or our own sin nature reacting to circumstances). Life is tough on very many levels, and your effort to try and see God and His blessings in everything that happens is exactly the correct approach to take. One thing to point out is that the more we "load up" on the truth, the more we focus on the Bible, the more we make the effort to apply the truth we have believed and the scripture we have read to our lives day by day step by step, the more effective we become in this part of the fight. It is even possible to enjoy it at times, or at least to find the joy in the Lord's support and encouragement of us in the struggle (cf. 2Cor.1.3-7; Jas.1:2). This is the not stuff for the spiritually immature, of course. It takes time and spiritual effort and, above all, much truth stored up in the heart and believed in completely in order to get "good" at this sort of combat. But it is certainly true that, whatever the source, and whatever the precise way in which the testing comes, we have to face it the same way regardless, with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. So there is really no point in worrying too much about what is discipline and what is testing, what is from inside and what is from outside, or from where or whom attacks may come. We can never know the answer to these questions with authority in any case, and regardless we have to employ the same spiritual tactics to meet these assaults. The best thing is to do precisely what you are doing: trust the Lord and soldier on in the same manner in which you have advanced thus far so far. Don't over-react or over-focus on past mistakes, failures, or concerns. Keep looking ahead to the reward that comes to all who love our Lord and serve Him faithfully in this life.

In Him who showed us the way in all things, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #2:  Dear Dr. Bob - I hope this note finds you well. It has been some time since our last communication and much has happened in that time. I find myself full of questions - seeking answers in constant prayer- and waiting patiently and I can still say honestly, with the peace of Christ Jesus.

Since locating your site - I was struck by this week's email comment that any and all whom God intends to find this site will - I arrived here simply by searching the Biblical significance of the #40 for a friend- my relationship with our Lord has deepened and grown to a level that I never thought possible.

As I used your site in conjunction with the Word and prayer, I came to feel that I finally had achieved a personal relationship with the Lord. Frankly, I almost despise that term for its worldly connotations. Pat Roberts and his yearly "talks" with God....I daresay we feel very similarly regarding such. At any rate......I began to pray in earnest to become closer to the Lord. I wanted to know Him and Him to know me even more. And then......things began to happen....a lot.

I don't know if you recall, but our last communication was right after I experienced a severe physical challenge. I was very accepting of the whole thing. I knew that the Lord had a plan in it somewhere - whether it was His will to reveal the reasons to me or not was really not my concern. I had prayed for sometime to be used and for us to grow closer - perhaps this was a refining? I began to heal, both physically and emotionally and life returned to normal.

In October, a very dear family member was diagnosed with an incurable disease. After some difficult times, Jesus came to take her home.

Which brings us to last wee, got to work....it had been a month to the day since this had happened, and I was fired from my job. I was bewildered. Then, I had a thought - Could it be? Well of course not, that's just ridiculous. Could it be that I am being tested? I WOULD NEVER compare myself to Job, nor Paul nor Peter - I am but an infant in the faith compared to those men - I'm model of any Biblical figure period. I am but a human trying to navigate the Desert on the way to the Promised Land. Lately though, I am beginning to feel a little pressure. I sometimes hear that voice, you know the one, that says go ahead....doubt. But I can see in the physical troubles I had that good would not have come otherwise. As to the job, I hated it anyway. I had already interviewed for another position. And if I don't get it then I'll get another one. On the other hand, I worry that I have somehow become arrogant to even think that I am even worthy of such a test. Aren't these reserved for the truly righteous? Like Paul and Job and David and Elijah and Moses? I may have become arrogant, but I am not so silly as to have confused myself with the likes of those men.

All of that to elicit your response and Scriptural references to this.....do you think - and obviously I value you your opinions and insights highly - that the Lord God still tests us in this type of fashion? At any rate, please accept my apologies for this extremely lengthy email. Please respond only at your convenience. It is a great ministry to the Good Shepherd's Flock that you are doing. You help Him tend many sheep.

May the Lord continue to use you as His vessel - In His love

Response #2:  It's very good to hear from you. I do remember our conversation and your situation. And I have to say right at the outset that your letter ministers to me in a very powerful way. I feel great joy that you have been helped by this ministry, even as my heart goes out to you in your time of trial. But I also feel very humbled by your words, because all that this ministry could ever be, at best, is a way to get closer to the true power in our lives, the written Word of God and the One who empowers it, the Word of God Himself, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And it is faith that is the key which unlocks its power, for without faith, nothing can be accomplished for Him (Heb.11). Through many ups and downs, much searching and seeking, many personal failures and insufficiencies, I have found over and over again that the only thing really capable of producing a real, meaningful, deep, lasting, powerful, and sustaining relationship with Jesus is His Word – and it has to be believed absolutely. There are peaks and valleys because we are weak. We get distracted – life is distracting! We get our eyes on managing the material part of our lives (and of course we are called to be good stewards of that field as well); but we get over-focused on things that in the end are only so much dust, and we tend to forget our Lord's words, "don't worry, you're much more valuable than the birds of the air or the lilies of the field; your Father knows what you need, and He won't let you down" (Matt.6:25-34). Unfortunately, or fortunately, I know what it is to be up against it financially, to be staring complete disaster in the face. And when you are under that kind of pressure it is easy to forget the truth, that God knows all about your problem and that He will never let you down. When the answer to your prayers doesn't come immediately, when it seems to linger long, so long it doesn't seem possible that it could ever come in time, that you could ever bear up under the strain to the extent necessary, that is the time when we are forced to decide to fully believe the truth He has told us . . . or not. Because what is scripture but the very words of God most high, the very thinking of the One who died for us on the cross, so great is His love for us? All His promises are true, and we are here in no small part to show that we believe what He has promised us. I can – without question fortunately – affirm and say without any reservation that He does answer, that He does deliver, that His promises are true and that we will never be ashamed of believing them – though we will regret every time we didn't. No matter how deep the pit, He will pull us out.

Keep your lives be free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my Helper; I will not be afraid. What can [mere] man do to me?"
Hebrews 13:5-6 NIV

All the promises of God are "Yes!" in Jesus Christ (2Cor.1:20), and we can, we must count on Him. It's counter-intuitive to the secular world, but in fact it is really the case that without suffering, without trouble, without testing, there would be a real upper limit to our spiritual growth. None of us is equal to the likes of Abraham, David, Job, Elijah, or any of the other great men and women of scripture. But all of us are sons and daughters of God, parts of the Body of Christ, with an equal share in our Lord on that glorious day of days to come (Matt.20:1-16). And we all have our purpose here on earth. Part of that purpose in each and every case is personal spiritual growth and the help we give our fellow believers in that same quest. And there can be no better, no quicker path to grow in our faith and to grow closer to the Lord we love than through the pressures of testing. We may not be of the same caliber as the greats whose names are memorialized in the Bible for all time, but nonetheless we are called to grow as they did and likewise to share in the sufferings of Christ (Acts 5:41; 2Cor.1:5; Phil.3:10; Col.1:24; 1Pet.4:12-13):

Beloved, don't be amazed at the fiery ordeal of testing you are now undergoing, as if something out of the ordinary were happening to you. But to the degree that you are [truly] participating in Christ's sufferings, be joyful about it, so that at His glorious revelation, you may also rejoice with great gladness. If you are indeed being reproached on account of Christ's name, you are truly blessed, for the Spirit of glory, even the Spirit of God, rests upon you. Now let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evil-doer or a meddler, but if [anyone should suffer] as a Christian (i.e., a "Christ-person"), let him not be ashamed of it. Let him rather glorify God under that name. For it is time for the judgment to begin, starting with God's household. And if it first begins with us, what will be the end of those who do not believe God's gospel? For [as it says], "If the righteous man is barely saved, where will the ungodly and sinful turn? (Prov.11:33)". Therefore let all those who are suffering according to the will of God entrust their lives (while doing what is good) to a Creator who is faithful.
1st Peter 4:12-19

As Peter tells us, we all go through testing to some degree, and as he certainly implies greater suffering and greater growth go hand in hand, both through cause and effect. For on the one hand, the evil one allows no advance to go unchallenged, and on the other hand, it is only through the experiencing of God's grace in testing that we truly can know His strength and power and goodness to the utmost:

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations there was given to me a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness". Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2nd Corinthians 12:7-10 NIV

It is also important to keep in mind that God is always with us in the fight – the Father and the Son make their abode within us who love them (Jn.14:23), and the Spirit is the seal of our adoption and security (2Cor.1:21-22). He doesn't call upon us to do anything we are incapable of doing, even if it may seem that way to us, and He always provides a way, either from or through the test and trial that has beset us:

You have not suffered any testing beyond normal human [experience]. And God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tested beyond your capacity, but, along with the test, He will grant you the way out, so that you can bear up under it.
1st Corinthians 10:13

I cannot tell you how encouraging I find your attitude, your love for the Lord, and your steadiness under fire. No doubt, the Lord is using you to demonstrate to the world seen and unseen the power of faith in the truth, the power of the Word of God in a willing heart. And He will demonstrate His faithfulness to you as well.

I apologize for the insufficiency of this letter, but I have confidence that the One who comforts us in all of our afflictions will not fail to give you the comfort He ever provides in times of trial (2Cor.1:3-7), and will see you through to the far shore of this stormy sea in His own good time and in His own good way just as He has done for all the great believers of scripture, just as He has done for me in my life and in the lives of all our brothers and sisters who fight the good fight of faith here in the devil's world.

I will not fail to remember you in my prayers.

Your friend and fellow soldier of Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #3: 

Dear Dr. Bob,

Please, you must never apologize for any response as being insufficient. Your dedication to the Lord, your answers that always include Scripture (which I value - I can look them up - read the entire passage for myself) are never insufficient and often shed new light or a fresh perspective for me.

This passage in particular: You have not suffered any testing beyond normal human [experience]. And God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tested beyond your capacity, but, along with the test, He will grant you the way out, so that you can bear up under it. 1st Corinthians 10:13

really spoke to me because as far as I can tell, losing my job was a way out. I cannot, in the confines of this email, explain to you the misery that job was. I detested it. I attributed my truly miserable state to the fresh grief of my relative's passing. I think the job was the test. The Lord's deliverance was getting me out.

Money holds no fascination for me. Never has and the older I become, the less I like it. Oh, yes, I have to have some to get by in this wicked world. Sometimes I do feel that sting that comes from "maybe if I was a better Christian"......which usually prompts a late night with your site and some serious study.

My thinking is like this - if you depend on money very much now what are you going to do when the antichrist is revealed and things change? When forced with the mark of the beast, I don't think people realize that children will be involved also. It won't just be so easy as saying, Oh, no I'd never deny Christ. Maybe not. But, phrase it this way - if you don't, then your child will be killed too.....and it will be your fault because he/she won't get a mark and will starve. Or be killed. And you will have killed them. And that goes against everything a parent holds dear. I agree that the Tribulation will not be pleasant. That mark is going to do a lot of separating and force a lot of choices - as is its intent. Each day that dawns anew, I feel more certain that we are moving ever closer to that time.

I really didn't mean to go on so long this time. I just have no love for money. I've seen it make people ugly. Most of the people I know have been in the business so long that the love of money has eroded their soul to the point that their inner light - the light in one's eyes - is gone and all that's left is ugly.

I have Jesus and that's enough. He's blessed me though with a wonderful family and friends as well. And, I have enough earthly stuff. I'll be fine. I don't love money, but I also don't believe that the Lord God faxes or mails checks either. Which just means that if I end up waiting tables, well, then that's the job He wants me to do now. Besides, as was made so plainly evident during my relative's illness and passing - you really cannot take it with you when you go.

Love in Christ,

Response #3:  I want to thank for this e-mail. It really does minister to me. It is incredibly encouraging to see somebody actually apply the truth of God's Word so wonderfully well. Anybody can talk a good game when nothing is at stake. Thank you for your example, expressing such level-headed and insightful application of truth under what most people would deem considerable pressure. I especially agree with your perspicacious understanding of what is truly important and how the circumstances around us which we take for granted can change so dramatically and so quickly. That will unquestionably be true during the Tribulation; it can also be true to lesser or greater degrees even before hand. Certainly, when one looks at the upheavals of war, revolution, pestilence, and miscellaneous disasters around the world today or in the fairly recent past (the Second World War in particular), it is very clear that only a thin strand of gossamer separates us from the Abyss. Were it not for the Lord and His faithful and present superintendence and provision, we would not make it through a single day. Security of any kind is an illusion in strictly material terms. Praise God that we have an eternal security through faith in Christ that guarantees our survival here to do whatever Jesus has in mind for us to do, and a warm welcome into His eternal embrace when our work here is done. I suppose we all know this on some level. Truly living it as you are doing is something else.

Thank you again for your words and your walk.

In Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #4: 

I keep falling into sin. I get so worked up and discouraged about Hebrews 10:26 and Hebrews 6.

I keep feeling that those passages state that there is "no more sacrifice" for me because I came to Christ as a teenager and then left some years later and lived in willful sin. I lived selfishly, selfishly for myself for many years despite conviction that I should return to Christ many times during those years. I am feeling dry after this last fall like I don't care and it scares me. I get so discouraged and depressed and full of despair, then I go looking for comfort in the flesh and I sin.

I don't sense God's presence and I wonder where I stand, like if it is all over for me. I can't seem to get peace and confidence that I am forgiven, or that God still has salvation for me. I don't sense the Spirit, I feel like I am lost in the dark. I need a voice or something solid from God. I am scared and feel hopeless.

Response #4: 

Sorry to hear that your struggle for victory has not been easy. It often takes determination, self-sacrifice, and patience to win out over deeply seated patterns of sinning. It is often a hard fight, but it is a necessary one. First things first: on the one hand, a Christian has to have the attitude of no compromise with sin, and this does lead to self-reproach whenever one fails. On the other hand, a Christian also has to have a solid grasp and unshakable belief in the mercy and forgiveness of God based upon the sacrifice of Jesus Christ who died for all sins, for this is the only way to counter the depression and disappointment of failure – and we all stumble and fail from time to time. It is true that being caught up in a "loop" where it seems that the same mistakes and the same failures are never going to stop repeating is very discouraging, but there is nothing else for it than to persevere with 1) doing what God has called us to do (i.e., repent, confess, and move on), and 2) believing what God has called us to believe (i.e., that He does forgive and that victory is possible, even it takes longer and is more rough of a process than we should like).

I know that I am swimming against the tide here, and that many other sources of so-called Christian influence are saying just the opposite, but it is very important to remember that how you feel is not the issue. Indeed, how you feel can be incredibly misleading. How you may feel about something does not change God, does it? How you feel about something does not change what the Word of God says or doesn't say, does it? Therefore it is essential to all spiritual growth to learn how to separate what the eye sees, what the ear hears, and even what the heart feels from what we know is true from the witness God has given us in His holy Bible.

By this we know that we are of the truth, and before Him we persuade our heart, that [even] if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart and knows everything.
1st John 3:20

We know that all of our sins have been forgiven in Jesus:

In whom (i.e., Christ) we possess our ransoming [from sin] (i.e., redemption) through His blood, the forgiveness of our transgressions according to the riches of His grace.
Ephesians 1:7

In whom (i.e., Christ) we possess our ransoming [from sin] (i.e., redemption), the forgiveness of our sins.
Colossians 1:14

We know that our sins are forgiven when we confess them:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just so as to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1st John 1:9

We know that inordinate fear is a sign of immaturity and not the proper response to failure:

There is no fear in love, but love, [once] perfected, throws fear out. For fear has [an expectation of] punishment, and the one who fears has not been made perfect in love.
1st John 4:18

For we know that it is the Word of God to which must pay attention no matter what our eyes see, our ears hear, or our hearts feel:

If we accept the testimony of men, God's testimony is greater. For this is the testimony of God which He has testified concerning His Son. The one who believes in the Son of God possesses this testimony within him. The one who does not believe in God makes Him out to be a liar because he has not believed the testimony which He has testified concerning His Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. The one who has the Son has this life. The one who does not have the Son does not have this life.
1st John 5:9-12

As the verses above make clear, it is loss of faith which separates us from God, loss of faith in His Son, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Sin indeed harms our relationship with Him, but as long as we pick ourselves up when we stumble and make the effort to repent, confess, and move on, trusting in Him to work out the details, we may have difficult times (brought on by the divine discipline of a loving Father designed to help us learn, even if gradually and eventually, to stay away from everything harmful to us), but we will be able to get back up on the high road to Zion and continue our spiritual growth and our spiritual advance.

It's not about sensing God's presence, or feeling the Spirit, or an overflowing emotional high about being a child of God. All of these things are well and fine (potentially), but it should go without saying that no one "feels ecstatic" even a large part of the time, and a person can certainly be a good Christian without feeling ecstatic almost any of the time. It's not about what we feel but what we know, what we believe, and all the decisions we make day by day about what to think, what to do, and what to say that determine our spiritual growth and the state of our relationship with Him. Focusing upon how we are feeling is to get things completely inside out. If we are doing what we should be doing in a sanctified and consistent way, then our feelings will respond of their own accord to the deep inner truth of our advancing spiritual lives. It is impossible and downright dangerous to try and get things to work the other way. As I say, I am bucking the trend here, but that is certainly what I believe the Bible teaches.

As to the passages you are concerned about, in addition to the detailed treatment in Hamartiology (Basics 3B), please see the following:

Hebrews 10:26 again.

Does Hebrews 10:26 teach loss of salvation?

Does Hebrews 10:26-35 ("deliberate sinning" etc.) mean that a believer can lose his or her salvation?

Are those in Hebrews 6:4 who "crucify the Son of God afresh" lost?

"The false doctrine of 'positional security'" (in Peter #27)

Hang in there my friend. God's forgiveness is not in doubt. Commit yourself to a program of disciplined Bible reading and Bible study, and to following it up by believing His truth and applying it to every aspect of your life, one step and one day at a time. You may not find it easy, but you know in your heart that God can help you do this through His power, grace and mercy. Let Him help you.

In the Name of the One who died on the cross that all our sins might be blotted out forevermore, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #5:

 I just keep feeling unforgivable. I keep falling into sin. It is like I was hearing in my head that I was trading heaven for hell and I still kept going. A number of members of my church have come by to convict me but I continue to sin. I am hopeless I am just hopeless.

Response #5: 

I don't know what more I can say than I have already said, but I will give it a shot:

1) If you still believe in Jesus, you are still a believer, and there is always hope for believers in Jesus Christ, a blessed hope of eternal glory that makes all the problems and trouble and suffering and sin of this life pale in comparison when properly considered.

2) It doesn't matter how you feel. God is not impressed by how you feel. As is pointed out in great detail in 3B Hamartiology, recovery from sin is a threefold process: i) you repent (i.e., make a determination to turn away from the sin in question); ii) you confess (i.e., you admit your sin to God); iii) you rest in God's forgiveness, assured that what He has told you is the truth when He told you that if you confess, He will forgive (1Jn.1:9). Repentance is a true change of heart, not an emotional display of guilt feelings. Confession is a simple admission, not an emotional apology to God. Resting in God's forgiveness is both real and necessary – we can have relief in our forgiveness, and it is essential that we do, for failing to rest in forgiveness is essentially doubting God, either His ability to forgive or His character in promising to forgive.

3) Putting aside the "sin which easily besets", as Heb.12:1 puts it, is often not a simple process or a momentary action or the result of a pledge or an oath or an emotional experience. Turning away from habitual sin can be a grueling, lengthy, difficult and ugly process. It can take time. It can also take pain. As it says at Hebrews 12:4, "you have not yet resisted to the point of blood in your struggle against sin" (cf. 1Pet.4:1). This is combat, and combat is hard, dirty, ugly, and often painful. Yet it is necessary.

In short, I am not surprised that you are having difficulty turning away from your bad behaviors. Not because I know anything about you, but because this is the typical experience. It is nice to see people throw their hands up in church and proclaim how now they see the light and have turned away from their sin. About 99% of the time, however, such emotional displays don't mean a thing because they don't last very long. Not because they are not genuine or heartfelt, but because "the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak". Without true commitment and spiritual growth, a one time proclamation is bound to be meaningless.

So how do you do this? Again, to repeat myself in a slightly different way, this is a process that can take time and often involves pain, difficulty, set-backs, false starts, and defeats (just as no war is ever clean and without serious defeats and casualties). So don't give up!!! What is needed is determination, and the believer's determination is measured by and in many respects indistinguishable from his/her faith:

1) Determine to do this: Scripture is filled with stipulations, encouragement, and reproof for all manner of things a believer should or should not do. Make up your mind to follow the truth on this by responding to it. Do what the Bible says. Feeling bad about failure is not the issue. Telling other people about it doesn't do much real good. Visits or interventions by a thousand well-meaning souls from Billy Graham to the fellow next door are ultimately of absolutely no account. This is about you and your response to God and His truth. Don't hide behind the false idea that this is all pointless. It is only pointless if you decide not to fight. You have to take personal responsibility for your past mistakes and for your future actions. No one controls your behavior – except you. Ultimately, victory is entirely in your power, and even though "the world, the flesh and the devil" virtually guarantee that you will never be 100% successful, many believers with far less going for them than you have have faced much steeper hurdles and have dug out from much deeper holes. You can do this!!! But you have to decide to do it no matter what the cost, and you have to follow through no matter how long and tough the fight.

2) Grow up – spiritually: The more you learn about scripture, the more you read it and the more sound Bible teaching you take in, provided you believe it, the better able you will be to meet all of the challenges of the Christian life, the struggle against sin included. Truth is the ammunition that the Spirit working with your spirit uses in this fight. But if you are low on ammo, the fight is harder than it otherwise needs to be. When, for example, you read in Hebrews 11 about the struggles our brothers and sisters in the past have had, you can't help but be encouraged. Or, for example, when you study about the nature of sin in a detailed, biblical way, you will have a better understanding of the precise nature of the struggle, about the precise nature of sin; you will be reminded about Christ's sacrifice and about God's mercy and forgiveness, and you will be less inclined to fall prey to false ideas (like being unforgivable). This is just a guess, but I'm guessing that you haven't yet made your way through 3B Hamartiology where all of this is discussed in great detail. That's certainly OK. This ministry does not have a monopoly on the truth. But to grow up spiritually, you have to have good offense as well as good defense. You have to grow closer to the Lord through the Word at the same time that you push the world farther away in terms of eschewing sin. You can't come into a truly sanctified life without growing in the Word and its teachings – it's just not possible. And when you read your Bible, pay attention and believe; and when you listen to or read teaching, pay attention and believe (or if you feel the teaching is heretical, find a place/person/ministry that is not so – God will provide this if you truly care to have it).

3) Trust God: If you are really ready to turn away from any sort of behavior that is clearly sinful and/or self-destructive, you have to have God's help. The first step here is to acknowledge, remember, and apply in your life the fact that God is helping you, will help you, does love you, and will answer your prayers. Do you need wisdom? Then pray and He will provide it (Jas.1:5-6). Do you need specific help? Then pray and God will provide it (Heb.4:16). Believe God when He promises to help, wait confidently for that help, don't doubt that the help will come, and be grateful when it does. The Exodus generation, although they had seen the most wondrous miracles, failed to trust Him in later times of trouble, testing Him and failing to rest in Him many times. It was because of just such unbelief that they didn't enter the land of promise (Heb.3:19). Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Heb.11:6). All believers have sinned and failed, often in spectacular ways. David committed adultery with another man's wife, a loyal, trusted, and honorable subordinate, and then had the man murdered in order to cover up his sin. Did God cast David aside? No, He did not. Make no mistake, what David did was horribly wrong, couldn't have been more wrong, and David let himself in for 14 years of the most intense divine discipline as a result. But when he – in faith – confessed his sin to the Lord, he was forgiven (2Sam.12:13; cf. Ps.32; 51). Though David had hard times as a result, he learned from his mistake, and God's blessings to him continued even simultaneously with the trouble he brought upon himself as a result of his actions. Now from what you have shared with me nothing that troubles you is anywhere near as bad as what David did, and without question, David was a greater believer than either of us by far. So if God forgave David, He will forgive you and me too. Only see to it that you confess, and that you accept the fact of your forgiveness.

All is not lost. It is just that it is high time to be moving on down the road. God will help you do it. Trust Him and determine to do this no matter how much time and effort it takes. He wants you to do this – He will be there with you in the doing of it every step of the way. Rather than failing to forgive you, He is at your side and on your inside prompting you to fight this fight. There are no magic solutions and success is unlikely to be immediate, but, God helping you, you will gain the victory in this fight, and go on to lead a productive spiritual life in the service of Him who died for us.

You may find some additional comfort at the following links:

Faith in the fiery trial.

Faith and Encouragement in the midst of Fiery Trials.

Encouragement, Isaiah 6:11-13, and the Hope of Repentance.

Encouragement in Christian Sufferings.

In need of encouragement.

Also, the Peter Series is specifically focused upon the problem of coping with personal tribulation of the sort with which you are suffering (see the link).

 

In Jesus' Name,

Bob L.


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