When a Christian Falls

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What do you do when a Christian falls away? (Charisma archives)

I once heard Jack Hayford say that we have elevated Christian leaders to the status of celebrities and, therefore, we are willing to overlook their obvious lack of character as long as they continue to entertain us. The tragedy of this truth is that preachers minister more than words, they minister spirit as well. By this I mean that an idea is not all that is communicated through a sermon; it is also the spirit--the disposition in the heart of the leader--that is communicated to the hearts of those listening.

In Proverbs 6:32-33 we read, "Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; he who does so destroys his own soul. Wounds and dishonor he will get, and his reproach will not be wiped away." According to this passage, a wounded soul is the result of adultery. But what does a wounded soul look like?

Since the soul comprises our intellect, emotions, conscience and will, we'll break down the definition of a wounded soul into these four categories:

Intellect. There is always a level of deception involved in sin, but a soul that has been wounded by sexual sin results in a greater degree of deception. Once the act has been committed, the level of deception increases.

Emotions. The offender will almost always demonstrate emotional deadness toward his or her spouse. In addition, the one who has fallen into sexual sin will demonstrate a myriad of emotions, ranging from anger and depression to insecurity and fear.

Conscience. Often a person's conscience becomes hardened after the sin has been committed. This makes it initially difficult to recognize the seriousness of the transgression and leads the person to minimize the impact of their actions.

Will. The will of a person who has fallen into sexual sin becomes weakened, making it that much more difficult to resist the temptation the next time. If the healing process doesn't take place, more than likely, the individual will fall again in the same area.

Thankfully, the healing process is possible. Isaiah 61:1 tells us that Jesus has an anointing to bind up the "brokenhearted." Isaiah 42:3 lets us know He will not break a "bruised" reed, an analogy for people whose hearts have been bruised. But we can't fast-forward through the healing process--it takes time.

3. Renewing your mind. Choices we make do not increase God's grace, forgiveness or love for us, but they do make a difference in our lives here on earth. There are certain disciplines we can embrace that position us to receive the power of God's grace in our lives. The only way a person can break free from the strongholds or destructive thinking patterns that caused him to fall into sin is through the renewing of his mind.

In Romans 12:2 we read, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." This verse indicates that the result of renewing our minds is that we experience a transformation in our lives. It is only through meditation on God's Word that we experience the renewing of our minds.

As we meditate on the Word of God, we attack and tear down the strongholds in our thoughts. This is important because it is our thoughts that determine our actions. Your body or your life can never go in a direction that your thoughts have not previously gone.

As we meditate on God's Word, we are allowing the Word to paint a picture for us of strength, purity and victory. The process of exchanging these pictures is the process of "renewing" our minds. As you meditate on His Word, allow the Spirit to breathe His Word into every chamber of your soul.

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