Getting off the Path
(Guest writer Josiah Edwards)
We have all gotten off the path, we have all fallen into temptation, we have all rebelled against God, we all have our seasons, and we have all gotten off-track. Some of us are in it right now. There are many consequences to this but I am only going to mention 8 of them. This is really important because I myself have fallen and gotten sidetracked. Only Almighty God can get you back on track - the only requirement is that we have to recognize what we've done and repent on our own free will.
The 8 consequences:
Number 1. We lose our peace and joy. This occurs when our eyes are not on God and our focus has changed. You see, our source of peace and joy comes from God but when we are sidetracked and have gotten off the path we lose our peace that surpasses all understanding because we are not looking to Him.
Number 2. Anxiety overwhelms us. When we have rebelled against God and take our eyes off Him, anxiety comes into our situations because we are so worried about what we are going through and not trusting God. We are anxious about our life because we keep dwelling on the past, “oh if only if I’d had made this decision, if only that didn't happen, if I’d just listen to her or him.” You see, when we get off the path we start losing faith in God. Anxiety is a faith battle. “God, I’m coming to you because I don’t know what’s going on in my life, I’m afraid, I’m worried, I fear about this problem, but I know God that only you can help me.”
Number 3. We lose our direction - we get lost. I really don’t have to explain this one because it is very simple, and some of us are simple people so I’m going to give it to you as simple as I can. When we get off the path and take our eyes off God we lose our direction. When we are walking with Him, filled with the spirit, and when we are looking towards God, He is our light to follow - but right at that second when we lose our focus we get lost in our own thinking, our own flesh, and the world of which we live in.
Number 4. The blame game. Right when we do wrong and sin against God, we don’t want to take responsibility, we want to blame everybody else for our mistakes, we want to blame our past, we even want to blame God for the situation that we’re in. Instead accepting responsibility for our actions, we blame, blame, and blame.
Number 5. Look to the world and not to God. We take our eyes off God and put it on the world’s system and what they believe is right. We get into sin whatever it is - sex, parties, drugs, alcohol, pornography, cussing, getting into bad relationships with other people, and so forth. Basically we get into sin and rebel against God.
Number 6. It ruins our testimony. When other people know that we are Christians and we take our eyes off God, get into sin, and do the things that we do, in the process people will look at us differently. We lose our impact, they will say “Their not Christians, I don’t see anything different about them.” Some people don’t read the Bible but they do read the people who read the Bible. And so of course our testimony is ruined.
Number 7. We drift in our Bible reading, prayer time, and our relationship with God. Lost in our direction we drift more and more from God, deeper into sin. The devil has won when we start drifting in our Bible reading, prayer time, and our relationship with God. If the devil can get you away from reading your Bible, he has a stronghold against you. When we read the Bible we are getting a clear direction from Almighty God. “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). When we have sin in our life God will not hear us: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me…” (Psalm 66:18). Therefore, if we are not immersing ourselves in His Word and if God won’t hear us when we pray, then what happens? Well it is very simple: we lose fellowship with God.
Number 8. We will not have victory. When we choose to disobey God and get away from Him, we will absolutely not have victory in our life because we have allowed the devil, the world, and our flesh to take over our life and will not - cannot - win, it’s bondage and it’s a cage that we cannot get out of it.
So how then do we get back on the right path after going against God and rebelling against Him? Fortunately, we are given an answer to this Biblically:
Number 1. To repent of our sins. We have to make a 180 degree turn, getting our eyes back on God and our backs toward the world.
Number 2. Admit that we have rebelled against God. Don’t blame others, don’t blame your past. Admit yourself that you went against God.
Number 3. Ask for forgiveness. Get on your knees and repent, and ask for God to forgive you. He will forgive you, because He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins so that we can go to God when we sin and ask Him to forgive us.
Number 4. Ask Him to fill up your life again. Ask God to bring the peace and joy back, to set your heart on fire for Him.
Number 5. Live Victoriously. Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him.
There is one more thing I would like to mention. This is called the Threefold Conviction. You see, when we are lost and get off track God wants us to remember 3 things:
- God loves you unconditionally and wants the best for you. According to Romans 8:28, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose.”
- He has the desire and the power to help you. When you feel like you’re down and out, God wants to help you.
- He promises to help you. Not only does God want to help you, He promises to help you. God wants to relieve you of your worries, so you can expect Him to do just that.
Another important thing to remind ourselves of is H.A.L.T. - Hungry. Angry. Lonely. Tired. We can guard ourselves against these moments of weakness by remembering H.A.L.T. First, never allow yourself to get too hungry. When the body is weak from lack of food, poor decisions are likely to follow. Respect your body and provide the sustenance it needs. Second, don’t permit yourself to get too angry. Anger can cloud judgment and lead to regrettable decisions. A third caution is not to let yourself become too lonely. When your feel isolated, you may find yourself willing to do almost anything to feel accepted or loved. Fourth, don’t allow yourself to get too tired. Sleep is essential for wise decisions. When you deprive your mind and body of its necessary “down time,” poor choices become likely.
Being wise in these four areas can prevent thoughts of “If only I hadn't…” later on.
Commit now never to make important decisions when you are too hungry, angry, lonely, tired. Instead, be honest at those times and admit you’re unprepared to make sound judgments. Then delay the decision until you can approach it with prayer, patience, and godly wisdom. God will help you get back on "the path" if you allow Him.