For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” -2 Peter 2:20-22 ESV
There is no going back! You cannot go home! Many times, we get the inner desire that we want to ‘go back’ to the ‘good ole days’. We can look back at simpler times, times that were not so complex, that it was easier. Being a Christian is NOT easy. Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegory written by John Bunyan. It tells the story of a person called ‘Christian’ on a journey from his hometown to the Celestial City. On the way he faces many difficulties, challenges and obstacles, yet he perseveres faithfully to the end. The story of John Bunyan parallels his character, Christian; He was arrested for preaching the gospel. His wife died leaving him with four children, one of whom was blind. Yet he refused to give up preaching the gospel. He wrote his greatest work in a prison cell. It has been a source of spiritual inspiration and help to countless readers. Translated into over 200 languages, it has never been out of print since the day it was first published in 1678.
Leader, A Christian life is not easy. You will face many difficulties along the way. But these need not derail you. In fact, as you go through difficult times staying close to Jesus, you will emerge stronger, wiser and more Christ-like. One of Satan’s biggest temptations is, EASY. There are 2 buttons out there for every believer; The EASY button or the GO button. The GO button consists of 2 words; AVAIL and COMMIT. Are you available to be used by the God of the universe? Are you like Isaiah and are WILLING to do whatever GOD has ordained for you? And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” (Isaiah 6:8-10)
Conduit, James, Jesus’ half-brother, the founder of the Jerusalem church knew the equation: You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4) We are on a rescue mission, and sometimes we are saving people that don’t need they NEED SAVING. We are at war, a SPIRITUAL BATTLE. We are battling with the world, and we are battling with our flesh. Just before His arrest, Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, and He said to His disciples, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). Because of this battle, the disciples were caught unawares in Gethsemane. The word for “spirit” in this passage is the Greek word pneuma, which in this context refers to the soul of man or the mind. The word for “flesh” refers to the human body and nature, with its moral and physical frailties. The disciples’ spirits were willing to do what was right. In fact, just a few minutes earlier, all of them had pledged their lives to Jesus: “Peter declared, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.’ (Matthew 26:35). But, as it turned out, they couldn’t even pray with Jesus for any length of time. Their flesh was weak. They fell asleep because of their physical human weakness. By affirming that “the spirit is willing,” Jesus was saying that He knew the disciples wanted to stay awake and pray, but the weakness of the flesh had overpowered the spiritual desire to pray and watch. Jesus was not scolding them but exhorting them to beware of the weakness of the flesh. Continue to fight the good fight and to know that there is nothing to go BACK TO. Our future and our Savior are before us, ahead of us and we are too LOOK FORWARD to the PROMISES of GOD. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14) There is no going backwards, our PROMISES are in front of us, SOLDIER ON!