Christian maturity is not a steady upward growth curve. Instead, Christian growth is an up and down proposition… although I believe it is generally an upward trajectory.
There are stretches of times we mature in Christ. We grow in the Christian disciplines (Prayer, Worship, Bible Reading, etc.), then… for whatever reason… we regress in our sanctification (Maybe a better word is “maturity”). Instead of moving forward, we slip backwards. There are times when we backslide. It’s the classic two steps forward, one step back… ten steps forward, two steps back… throughout life.
This happens to the best and most dedicated of God’s family. It happens to the heroes of the faith, and to those who very few people know of. All believers have mountain top experiences, that are followed by the deepest of valleys. Our lives are more like the graph to the right than the one above. (Note: The graphs are for illustration purposes only)
Examples: Noah… obeyed God to build the ark… then got drunk after the flood. Abram… followed God’s call… then lied about Sari. Moses… led Israel out of bondage… then sinned by striking a rock to bring forth water instead of speaking to it. David… was a man after God’s own heart… but committed adultery and murder. Peter confessed Jesus was the Son of God… then denied Christ three times… then preached at Pentecost… and then was a hypocrite by refusing to fellowship with Gentile believers. Paul was taken to heaven and talked with Jesus personally… yet wrote that what he wanted to do he didn’t do but what he didn’t want to do he did… that the desire was present but the ability to carry it out wasn’t there. (Sorry for all the links, just wanted the Scripture references to be available)
In short… even the best of us fail (That means you and me). We can only repent to God confess our sin to Him. Our failures are a reminder that we have to trust in God at all times and that even our sanctification is in God’s hands and subject to His will.
Encouragement/Application: Just because YOU fail does not mean your faith has failed nor that The One you trust in will abandon you. You will have great times of fellowship and growth, but don’t be surprised when you slip… just confess and continue following Christ. Those who keep following Christ, in spite of their failures, are the ones who are genuinely saved. For the follow-up post, click here.
I guess this helps me with the article I just read about Ray Boltz. AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! I really don’t get it!!
If you don’t know what I’m talking about let me know.
This post does not apply to Ray Boltz in my estimation (Mr. Boltz recently admitted to being gay… left his wife of 30 years… along with his 4 children.). He is hopelessly blind to his lost condition outside the revelation of God. My personal thought is that he never has been, nor is he now, saved. I write that because of what God caused to be written in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
Mr. Boltz is not regressing, he has abandoned. There is a difference between failure and abandoning Christ. Peter failed… Judas abandoned Jesus. They may look similar to us, but they are universes apart! David failed and immediately confessed His sin. Peter failed and confessed his sin. Judas failed and never repented. Ray Boltz is unrepentant in the face of clear Biblical teaching thus it seems from Scripture he was never saved to begin with… regardless of what he says he feels.
This brings up the idea of the possibility of false conversion. This is what happened in Judas’ case. He believed intellectually… preached the Gospel… performed miracles… but was lost as a goose! Simon the magician also believed, was baptized, and followed… but was lost (See Acts 8:9-24). This also happened to Billy Graham’s closest friend, Charles Templeton (Billy Graham was his understudy. Mr. Templeton preached to tens of thousands. But then became an agnostic.)
In Matthew 7:21-23 it is recorded that Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'”
I call that passage “The Judas Factor.” Just because a person prays… gets baptized… preaches… teaches the Bible or any of a hundred Christian things, it does NOT mean they are saved! Thus Paul wrote 2 Cor 13:5, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”
I hope that helps. If not, shoot me an email…