We only start over once with God
People aren’t perfect, even the best of us are far from it. So what does God think when we mess up, which we all do, and fall away from Him? God created us the way we are and He knows our strengths and weaknesses, the problem is Satan can figure it out too and will attack our weaknesses to get us to fall away from God. God knows this, and knows that we aren’t going to be able to avoid all of Satan’s traps. Every Christian has their tough times and falls away from God, but He welcomes us back every time we turn to Him. When we come back, do we have to start over and work our way back to where we were? For newer Christians, this wouldn’t be too much trouble, but for some who have been close to God, the thought of starting over can be devastating. But we only start over once with God, when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior. That’s what Jesus refers to in John 3:3 as being born again. Once we’ve been born, we start growing, if we fall off, we don’t start over at birth, we don’t have to go to the back of the line or to the bottom of the ladder. God doesn’t promise to restart us, He promises to restore us.
When Moses lead the Israelites, God’s chosen people, out of Egypt, God gave Moses this message for them
“And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. Deut 30:1-3 (ESV)
God knew that they were going to turn away from Him, but God didn’t tell them that they would have to start over when they returned. He promised that he would restore them their fortunes. This message is repeated throughout the bible. God promises us in Jeremiah;
Therefore thus says the Lord: “If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth. They shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them Jer 15:19 (ESV)
And again in Job;
If you will seek God and plead with the Almighty for mercy if you are pure and upright, surely then he will rouse himself for you and restore your rightful habitation. Job 8:5-6 (ESV)
All we have to do is seek Him, go to Him and ask for mercy and He will restore us to where we belong, with Him. This means that no matter how far we’ve fallen from God, we can always repent and turn back to Him and He will restore us to where we were. When we are ready, we can pick up where we left off, not from the beginning. The only thing we can’t get back is time lost growing with God, so if you have fallen away, don’t wait or be afraid, seek Him now.
Sometimes things happen that are out of our control, Satan can knock us down trying to get us to fall away. If he is successful, and we fall away, we just have to go to God and he will restore us. But, if we keep our focus on God, and stay close to Him and hold on to our faith through Satan’s attacks, God not only will restore what Satan has taken away but will restore more.
The book of Job is an example of this. Satan destroyed everything that Job had, including Job’s family, trying to get Job to turn on God. But Job remained faithful and God rewarded him for his faith.
And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and ate bread with him in his house. And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him. And each of them gave him a piece of money and a ring of gold. And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He had also seven sons and three daughters Job 42:10-13 (ESV)
If we are victorious, God will reward us, if we fall, God will pick us up, dust us off, and we can keep going. If you are going through tough times now, or for when you do, I leave you with this message;
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:6-11 (ESV)