I believe that one of the most dangerous times to stray in our walk with Jesus is right after a huge spiritual victory. I’ve been studying 1 Samuel for some time with some men in our church, and we saw this play out in David’s life in chapters 26 and 27. In chapter 26 David has the opportunity to kill Saul while he’s sleeping. Now the whole reason David has this opportunity occurs because Saul is ruthlessly hunting David down to kill him. David, in an act of complete faith, decides to let God be the one who determines when Saul’s time on earth is done. David didn’t know if Saul’s death was 1 month or 10 years away. He could have been in exile for another decade for all he knew. But in that moment, David completely trusted God and made the right decision.
In the very next chapter though, it starts with these words, “Now David said in his heart, one day Saul will kill me.” David then goes on to make a pretty bad choice. Where was the faith? What happened to trusting in God to deliver him? I think what happened to David, happens to us all the time. Right after we see God work in us, right after we say ‘no’ to temptation, right after we walk by faith, we stumble. Now let me say, I believe that this is more of a reflection of our own human nature than the power of God. When God saves us and brings us into His family through the blood of Jesus, He gives us the Holy Spirit. That’s huge! God the Father has given God the Spirit to indwell all of His spiritually born children. That means that God never stops working in us. So why is it in us to stumble after victory? Here’s one thought that I hope will keep you from the stumble.
1. The danger of 1 percent – One of my favorite passages of Scripture is Hebrews 12:1-3. In this passage, it speaks of the importance of keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus as we run this life race. When we allow Jesus to be that motivation and the object of all affections and desires in our hearts, we will run well. I think the tendency we have is to start feeling really good about our efforts after a spiritual victory and then we start taking our eyes off of Jesus. Sometimes it’s just by 1 degree or percent, but that makes a huge difference. If you change the course of your direction by 1 percent, it may not seem a big deal at first, but after 10 steps you will be in a completely different place than where you should have been.
We fool ourselves and stumble when we think that our righteous actions are because we are, by nature, righteous. We walk away from the truth of the gospel when we start thinking that our right choices happened because of us. We are, by nature, sinners. Any good thing that comes out of our lives is a result of God, the Holy Spirit, working in us to make us like Christ. I believe that one of the best things we can do after a spiritual high or after making a good, godly choice is to humbly thank and praise God for producing that in our lives. If we get into the habit of continually giving God praise after every victory and blessing, we’ll be less likely to think that we had anything to do with it, and that will keep us from moving our eyes off of Jesus.
What God desires is complete dependence on Him. He wants 100% of the focus on Him. He wants us to love Him with all our heart, all of our soul, and all of our mind. Don’t let that dependence or focus or love drop by 1% today. No matter how good yesterday was for you, you desperately need Jesus today.