I've been working with a young man who is trying to kick an addiction. He has been working very hard, trying to do things the right way. For several months he's made the right choices. Today he failed.
The good news is that he is discouraged with himself. If his heart was hardened, and there was no hope for change, he wouldn't be discouraged.
I wouldn't be writing this if I were only talking about this one young man. Addictions come in all sorts of flavors, and I work with multiple addicts. In fact, to be honest, I was born with an addiction to sin, that I have been fighting all my life. And, since the flesh never gets better, I'd guess I'll be fighting it for some time to come.
Jesus died knowing that we would spend our earthly lives as recovering addicts - drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, gossip, anger, self, self-righteousness, judgmentalism - you name it, the list goes on and on. We all struggle.
Good news can be found throughout the Bible, but today, Psalm 147:2 seem appropriate. It says, "The Lord is rebuilding Jerusalem and bringing the exiles back to Israel."
Obviously this was written for the nation of Israel. BUT, if Jerusalem is significant because God has chosen to dwell there, then it could be said that since God has chosen to dwell in our hearts that they also represent a Jerusalem of sorts. AND, if Israel is the Promised Land, blessed by the Almighty God, THEN: "The Lord is rebuilding my heart and bringing me out of exile and back into the Promised Land of right living with Him." It doesn't say He is done, just that He is rebuilding.
Jesus did the hardest part on the cross. His work is complete. We are in right standing with God if we have believed in Jesus. But our sanctification (the process of becoming righteous as we learn to live life God's way) won't be complete until we cross the finish line and enter Heaven.
A step in the wrong direction doesn't have to be an about face, it can
just be a step backwards. Yes, setbacks can be disappointing, but they
do not have to define you. Character is not living life perfectly. Character is what is built when you mess up. Don't give up the fight. He is calling you forward. Take a step that direction today!