I’ve been a Christian for twenty-three years,” Cheryl said. “I’m just not getting anywhere. I’m as weak as I was when I first accepted Christ as my Savior. I still fail. I just don’t know if it’s worth it.” Tears streamed down her cheeks as she continued to talk about her failures. “By now I know all the right things to do, but I don’t do them. Sometimes I deliberately do something mean-spirited or unkind. What kind of Christian am I?”
“Probably a growing Christian,” I said.
A startled look appeared on Cheryl’s face. “Growing? Did you hear–? ”
“Yes, I heard. But if you weren’t growing, you wouldn’t lament your failures. You’d be satisfied about your spiritual level or tell yourself how good you are.”
“But I’m so discouraged, and I fail God so many times.”
I went on to tell Cheryl she was correct–that she had failed. All of us do at times. If we’re not careful, we allow the devil to point to what we haven’t accomplished and where we have been weak. When that happens, it’s easy to feel bad or want to give up.
That’s not the way of the Spirit. No matter how we mess up our lives, God doesn’t give up on us. The Spirit constantly nudges us.
We can allow our thoughts to dwell on what we haven’t done or how spiritual we ought to be after all these years in our Christian faith. If we focus on what we’re not or what we haven’t accomplished, we are allowing the devil to make advances on the battlefield of our minds.
“Don’t quit. Don’t give up.” That’s the message we need to hear. I think of Isaiah 43:1b-2: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you…; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you.”