In our household we must be strategic as to when to dress before leaving the house or we’ll find ourselves full of pet hair, especially when wearing something black. It’s part of the way of life for us because of our love for fur babies. But no matter how hard I try, I always find pet hair on my clothes. That was the case while I was serving this past weekend. As I sat listening to those around me discuss a passage from First John, I looked down at my black pant leg and discovered some stray white cat hairs. By the color and shape of them, I could tell which pet they had come from. The culprit’s name is Austin – he’s a talker.
Picking off Austin’s hairs reminded me of how the Lord views and sees us as He plucks sin from our lives.
“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written,
every one of them, the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.”
– Psalm 139:16
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
-– 1 John 1:9
One piece of hair had intertwined with the fabric of my pants, so I had to weed it out. As I did so, I recalled one of the parables that Jesus talks about – the weeds. You can read it here Matthew 13:36–43 ESV – Then he left the crowds… | Biblia, and this link leads to a fantastic explanation of that parable What is the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares? | GotQuestions.org.
Our worship leader mentioned he had recently completed a study on the Book of Revelation. His face lit up as he shared but then he shook his head and warned, “Man, we don’t want to be one of the fallen away. Pray not to fall away.” That shook me because I’ve been in a season of struggle with self-confidence, and I tend to revert to being afraid of the Lord – His wrath – instead of remembering how much He loves us – how much he loves me. Because I’m a former prodigal, my fear of being worthy crept in.
Before returning to the Lord just over five years ago, I didn’t understand how the Holy Spirit works in believers. I had faith in Jesus but because I was in a family caught up in domestic violence and alcoholism, I thought the Father had shunned me – not connecting that Jesus is God!
“I and the Father are one.”
Jesus incarnate! What does “incarnate” mean? How was Jesus God incarnate? | GotQuestions.org. I knew it, but really didn’t get it. Because of my home life situation and my mom’s mental health issues, I never spoke up or asked questions about the battles in my head and in my spirit. I didn’t understand spiritual warfare. I was too afraid of being like my mom and having similar mental health concerns. As I’ve matured in faith, and in hindsight, I know the Holy Spirit has been moving in me since my acceptance of Christ. Yet still my faith can falter – and I pray daily for it to strengthen, which is sometimes done through methods just like this, writing it out and sharing.
About a year ago, I incorporated the word “remember” as my safe word for when my self-confidence takes a hit. For times just like this. So, I want to make sure I understand what it means to fall away from the Lord. Let’s do some research together.
First, I want to know if being a prodigal is considered fallen away. Google found a great explanation via a podcast discussion Prodigal, God Still Has You – Theocast – Reformed Theology. Listening to it brought up a lot of emotions for me – relief and joy mostly, with tears of joy. When I’m reminded to remember what God has brought me through, even with my choices, and how He has never left me, I relax and smile. I don’t understand His ways; His grace is sufficient.
“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 of my
weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may
rest upon me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9
So, I know I haven’t fallen away. But could I? Let’s find out. Apostacy sounds like such a fatal word Apostasy – Biblical Cyclopedia, and it’s serious. Scripture is chock-full of different descriptions for sin like “works of the flesh” (Gal. 5:19), “lured and enticed by his own desire” (James 1:14), “earthly” (Col. 3:5), and “one man’s trespass” (Rom. 5:15), just to name a few. Followers of Christ are taught to consistently pray, be in the Word, and the Holy Spirit will guide us. It’s our trust and faith in Jesus that keeps us from falling away How can I have assurance of my salvation? | GotQuestions.org. With trust and faith in Him comes repentance What does the Bible say about repentance? What does it mean to repent? | GotQuestions.org. If we have trust and faith in Jesus, that’s all we need – He is our choice. He’ll work out the rest.
“And this is the testimony, and this life is in his Son.
Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have
the Son of God does not have life. I write these things
to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that
you may know that you have eternal life.”
1 John 5:11-13
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness,
but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish,
but that all should reach repentance.”
2 Peter 3:9