When you read the story of David in the Old Testament and how he was called a man after God’s own heart, you’d be left to wonder “isn’t this the same man who took the wife of another and killed that man?” Isn’t this the same man who was known for so much moral issues?
Well, it’s the same man and in fact, his moral decadence made him the more qualified candidate of God’s grace just like everyone else. It is in our weakness that God’s strength is revealed. The limit of God’s love is seen in the extent of his love us for us. This means that God’s love is without limit.
David’s moral problems never made him less qualified, it never made him an enemy of God and God remained merciful and gracious towards him. No wonder a writer wrote saying
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV
David was not consumed despite his flaws, your flaws don’t make God angry with you, it doesn’t reduce how God sees you. Just like David, despite your flaws, regardless of how deep they are, God’s love and compassion will not and cannot fail.
Every morning it seems new, same mercy but different experience. Regardless of how much David misbehaved, he didn’t stop being a man after God’s own heart.
Now, isn’t it surprising that many people today expect believers to be people of perfect morals, people who do not have sexual feelings, people who do not have desires and people who get it right all the time?
Just because someone is a believer doesn’t mean that they don’t have flesh and blood. It also doesn’t even mean that they do not love God. Have you come across prostitutes who are much more compassionate and kind? Have you come across people that seem immoral in our eyes but the moment we bring God’s word to them it breaks them and causes a change faster? What is a more sure way to prove love for God than loving others?
The organs and desires that are active in your body are also active in others. If there are things that catch your fancy, it will likely catch the fancy of others. Being a believer in Christ doesn’t necessarily make your body impotent. You will still feel hungry, you will still desire pleasure, you’ll still desire what many people desire and this is why it is you and not the Holy Spirit who subjects your body under control.
The chemistry of the body is not a creation of science but the works of the Divine. Science can only explain how it works, God designed it to work. If it is not working, then you are not normal.
Don’t stand half-naked before someone and then go out to say “Oh! He claims to be a believer but he gave me a second look…” Their body wants what you want, they are also tempted by what tempts you. It doesn’t make them less a believer just as not being tempted doesn’t make you a better believer.
If you are prone to certain mistakes, they may also be prone to the same mistake. Yes, there is such thing as self-control and yes, where you are weak, another may be strong and where you are strong another may be weak.
This is not an attack on self-control. Self-control is however not the work of the Holy Spirit and that is why it is called “self-control”. Yes, I know about “fruits of the Spirit” and it is different from “works of the Spirit”. They are not the same.
Believers are not immune to temptations, don’t act very surprised when a believer does something wrong, don’t even judge them as though you would be better if you found yourself in their shoes. If you have the means, correct them in love and be patient with them.
As believers, we are not a group of physically perfect people, we aren’t a group of people without blood in our streams or people who are sexually dead and impotent. We are simply broken people, with addictions and weaknesses who believe that we cannot rely on our strength, we cannot save ourselves and therefore we can rely on Jesus who has done it all for us.
Saying “I am a believer in Christ Jesus” doesn’t mean saying “I am infallible, I can’t be wrong and I’ve got it all figured out”, it means saying “God so loved me while I was lost in sin that he gave Jesus to bear the burden of my sin while I am credited with the righteousness of God.”
It also means admitting my failures and how unhelpful I am to myself and accepting the victory of Jesus and all he has done for me. While I strive to show forth fruits as one who has encountered God and empowered by him, when I stumble, it shouldn’t be surprising because I never claimed I can’t stumble.