Thursday, March 16, 2017

Restoring the Straying

Chuckle: On my first call, as a part-time opinion poll sampler, I said, "Hello, this is a telephone poll." And the man replied, "Yeeeah, and this is a street lamp."
Good Quote: "The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others" --Albert Schweitzer

"My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20 NIV).
God specializes in doing what no one else can do. He makes new creations of us through our faith in Jesus. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV). And even when we stray away from Him, He makes provisions for bringing us back -- restoring us to Himself. James appeals to us as believers to be God's instruments for the restoration of fellow Christians -- those not living and serving as they should.
The New Testament emphasizes that we can have an impact on the lives of others by loving, nurturing, ministering, and encouraging one another. We all can stray, and most Christians have experienced times of drifting away. Sometimes, this is called "backsliding." This begs the question: How far can you backslide? If you have been genuinely saved, you can never backslide far enough to lose your salvation, but you can certainly lose the fellowship with your Lord, the power of the Holy Spirit in your life, and the joy of your salvation.
It is clear from our passage that James is referring to a person who has wandered from the truth and fellowship with his/her Lord -- a believer who has fallen into sin. Notice that James refers to his readers as "brothers," and says that "If one of you (brothers/sisters) should wander from the truth." This is a believer who no longer lives a life consistent with his/her professed faith and beliefs. James urges all Christians to be active in helping backsliders return to God.
In I Corinthians 10:12, Paul warns all of us: "If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you do not fall!" The Christian who can fall/drift away the easiest is the one who never thinks he/she is susceptible. People say, "I would never do that" while criticizing someone else. Sometimes we fall into the same sins for which we condemn others. Maybe we become too proud of our lives. We must be careful to keep our focus on our Lord, and allow Him to live through us.
By taking the initiative, we can pray for the straying person, and acting in love, we can meet the person where he/she is and help bring him/her back to God and His forgiveness. Of course, for us to have this attitude of responsibility, we must love our brothers and sisters as Jesus loves us. Jesus said to his disciples and to us, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, If you love one another" (John 13:34-35 NIV).
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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