Devotional—The Struggle of Sanctification—After the Failure, Now What?
We did it! Feeling confident and overjoyed with our plans, we placed a bid on the home, started the business, left a stable career, or proposed to our soulmate. Yes, we are on top of the world. After waiting for years, finally, everything was going as planned, and then suddenly the turmoil started. The seller changed their mind about the house, the list of prospective clients refused to commit, and our soulmate told us they don’t think this is the right time for marriage. Our world crashes, bringing intense sorrow and more uncertainty, but why?
Strong emotions [love and trust] along with financial stability often drive us to fulfill our desires. Using strategic planning, and confidence in trustworthy partnerships, many individuals move forward because they are convinced that their plans are failproof. Fully trusting in their abilities, the loss was never considered. With disappointment and anger, they usually place the blame on others.
On the other side are those who feel desperate because of loneliness, lack of achievements, or the desire for financial stability. They are fully aware that their pending decisions are risky. But console themselves with the thought that it’s better to try than to do nothing at all. So they gamble and go all-in with the mindset of a 50-50 outcome, sadly, they lose. With regret, they admit their current situation is worse than their prior circumstances.
God has given us the ability to dream, but our dreams must align with His plans for us. The natural result of sin drives us to pursue our heart’s desires with or without God’s approval. Believers are also influenced by the world we live in. It is easy to become entangled in the worldview of success—pursue your dreams at all costs and failures are part of the process, just pick yourself up and try again. Yet, there is a high probability that you do not have the help to restructure your life because of your losses.
The Bible gives us a history of the consequences of pursuing our heart’s desires. One would think that King David would be disciplined after killing bears and lions as a shepherd boy, God using him to kill Goliath, and waiting for 15-plus years from his anointing by the prophet Samuel to becoming king. Yet, David saw and desired a beautiful, married woman and sent for her to come to the palace.
“One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof, he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba …the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” (2 Samuel 11:2-3).
Sin causes us to forget about an Omniscient [All-knowing] God who reminds us that He knows what we have done.
God sent the Prophet Nathan to speak to David: “Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites” (2 Samuel 12:9).
The Consequences: In reading the rest of the story, David suffered an immediate consequence, Bathsheba became pregnant, but the baby died. The long-term consequence had no end: “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you.'” (2 Samuel 12:11 NIV).
God’s love and mercy: “Nathan replied, ‘The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.'” (2 Samuel 12:13, last part, and verse 14).
After our failures, now what? Confession, Repentance, and the Consequences!
Human Effort: With humility, we take the same heartfelt action that David took, “Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Samuel 12:13, first part). Read Psalm 51 for David’s prayer of confession and repentance.
We may measure sin as great or small, yet, all disobedience is rebellion against God. Even with true repentance, God allows some to recover quickly and others to experience the full impact of their transgressions. The level of suffering should not be our focus. Every disobedient thought that we act on is a sin that separates us from God.
Sin desensitizes us—we easily fall into subsequent temptations without feeling any remorse. And eventually, we no longer hear the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. Our desires become more worldly as we drift further away from God.
The plight of humanity: “As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10-12). “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23).
Our Heavenly Father is aware of the condition of our hearts, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9), which is the reason, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).
God will never give us the burden of trying to figure out what we should do with our lives. Yet, our dreams must align with His plans. Always pray for direction before you make decisions that will bring devastating results. He will never leave us or forsake us even when facing the consequences of our actions. Thank You, Jesus.
Prayer: Father God, against you, we have sinned. We confess and ask for the forgiveness of our sins of disobedience. We pray for the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. Please lead us on the path of righteousness and give us direction for our lives. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.