Most of us regret admitting it when we’re wrong. (Come on. Be honest. Admit it!) It hurts our pride. It’s uncomfortable and difficult to do. But we each know the value and joy of a restored relationship that has been damaged due to a harsh word or inappropriate and unkind action. It is difficult to humble ourselves and seek reconciliation with someone we’ve offended, but it’s so important.
You’re not alone in your mortality, believer. As a Christian, “I’m just human” is never a valid excuse for our inappropriate human behavior, but it is a valid explanation. We are still mortal beings with a spiritual mind. There is a conflict. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh : and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:16–17).
So in agreement with the Apostle Paul, we conclude, “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do” (Romans 7:15–19). In easy to understand terms Paul is saying: “I do not do the things I know I should be doing and I end up doing the things I shouldn’t!”
We all fall short of the glory of God, don’t we? And we each sense the very real daily battle for “holy” and “Christ-centered” living. You’re reading an article from someone who has received the mercy, grace, and forgiveness of God so many times, that I blush at the thought of it. There’s good news! It’s not too late to start being right. Yes, that’s not a typo. I said “being right” not “doing right”. When our “being” is right, our “doing” will follow. What’s right?
The answer to the question “What’s right?” is crucial. How do we assure our being is lined up with God’s perfect will? How do we shape up our being a Christian—or follower of Christ? We begin with a self-examining question. Have I left? In other words, is Jesus Christ more real to me today than He was when I first received Him? Do I love Him more now than when I first believed in Him?
“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write…” Here is where we discover the answer to the question, “What’s right?” The behavior of the people at the church at Ephesus describes so many in the Christian life. “I know thy works
, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted” (Revelation 2:2–3). These believers not only worked, but they labored and they toiled for the things of God. And they kept working and kept laboring. And in the midst of all their good work, labor, and endurance, they maintained a healthy doctrinal stance. “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate” (Revelation 2:6). Good workers who loved and stood for truth. What’s the problem? Aren’t these things right? “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love” (Revelation 2:4) In the midst of all the “good” was this rebuke from the Lord.
Remember, the mark of a successful and victorious walk with Christ is not from the things we do. It is from a healthy understanding of who we are in Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is the power and the grace that enables us to do the works of God. For “without Him you can do nothing” that is real or genuine in the Christian life. He never suggests we “will” do nothing. He teaches without Him we “can” do nothing. And I know, you’re probably thinking about. “I can do
all things….” But keep in mind that it’s “…through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
What should we do about it? “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:5).
Remember. Remember from where you have fallen. You may need to go all the way back to the first year of your Christian life. Do you remember the great joy of simply knowing Jesus? As a new believer, you knew very little about the Christian life, but you knew Him and He was enough. Remember?
Repent. Stop in your tracks, turn around, and run to Jesus! Long to know Him all over again. I assure you that He will put you on the right path. Long to specifically know Jesus Christ in the written Word of God. Specifically talk to Jesus in prayer. I assure you that your first works which were covered in the power and grace of Christ will return. He will become Lord of your life once again and be preeminent in all things. He will become the love of your life. Have you left?