FALL RISK

When my son went in for surgery, he was given a bracelet that identified who he was and then he was given a second bracelet that read FALL RISK. When I saw this bracelet I immediately wanted one. I wanted one of these to wear for myself, so that I could look down at it to remind myself every day that I am indeed at risk of falling. We sometimes think that since we are a Child of God that we are no longer are capable of falling. So, when we do stumble and when do fall flat on our faces, we become this judge of ourselves.

Throughout my life, because of my critical view of myself and always wanting to do exactly what is right at all times. Because of my view of God being so perfect and therefore expecting me to be holy, the way that I saw Him sitting on His throne with judgment in His right hand ready to strike me the moment I faltered; I would spend the time after a fall in total anguish. I would beat myself up for weeks, even months trying to remedy my own failure. I felt that if I would punish myself enough that God would take me back into His loving arms and care again. Asking God’s forgiveness and mercy, receiving His grace for my imperfections was just too easy. I had no faith. I had no true understanding of God’s love.

As humans we are a FALL RISK because of the sinful nature we are born with and because of the sinful world that we live in. When we are born into the body of Christ we do take on a new nature, but that nature is dependent upon on Holy God. As we are born in Christ, we undergo surgery to remove many of the old habits, weaknesses, and imperfections in our lives. Surgery is performed to fix something, and there are surgeries that we go through as children of God. We do not go to the altar and come up a completely perfect. We come up changed, but there is work to be done and we must allow God to take us under and through some things so that we may be changed from glory to glory, moving from faith to faith. We are always a fall risk until the day we enter heaven. We live in a human body and we all make mistakes.

The danger of being a Fall Risk is not falling, it is remaining down. The whole character of a person is shown in their ability to get back up, dust ourselves off, take steps of faith to recover and resume our relationship with a merciful God. Because of the anesthesia we are under during surgery, we become a fall risk when we come out of surgery. The medicine Is strong enough to put us to sleep where we do not feel a thing going through surgery. God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam when He removed one of his ribs to form Eve. The anointing in our lives, the anointing that can cover us through a surgical procedure, it is heavy on the human body; and it is often something that we know little about. All that we know is that we feel good, we feel safe, we feel God’s presence. This anointing takes place for a reason. When God allows us to feel His presence, Him showing up is an awesome experience. However, here is the warning: after experiencing the anointing of God we become at risk for weakness and for stumbling; we become a target for the enemy. When you are in God’s presence understand that He is doing some amazing things in your heart and in your life. He is always performing something in your life to help you function better, whether it is a minor change of attitude or a major bondage that He is breaking.

Whatever the procedure might be, please understand that you feeling the anointing of God is not just so you can “feel good.” It is the power of God’s hands upon your life, doing something for you that you may not even know about. When we go into surgery, the surgeon always lets us know what to expect and what they will be doing, but because they have a greater knowledge and experience of such things, we do not fully understand the capacity of what is actually taking place. If a surgeon goes in to perform a minor surgery, but he sees something while you are open and exposed that he needs to fix in addition, he will go ahead and take care of that for you. In the Bible, David prayed for God to forgive him of his secret sins. Sins in our lives that we may not even realize are a sin, or things we may be holding in our heart that we not realize are still there, God has the mercy and compassion to correct all things.

Another reason we may be vulnerable and a fall risk after surgery is the boost of confidence that the anointing can bring. A lot of times after experiencing a strong touch from God in a worship service or breakthrough anointing is having an overwhelming sense of confidence. This is normal, but how we handle it is crucial. It is important that we stay focused on God and how it was Him who gave us that anointing to keep us going deeper and stronger. Because of that confidence we can feel like we can conquer the world without doing what we should always be doing. We may spend a little less time seeking God, spending time with Him, and this is a trap for every believer. Keep that open line of communication with God, keep your hunger and thirst for Him. Ultimately, we want an increase of His presence and there is no time to just sit down and take it easy. The place to sit down and take it easy, is in the secret place of the Most High. We may feel strong enough to think we can handle things on our own, but the truth is we can do nothing without Him.

PRO24.16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

There are so many benefits to the anointing of God’s presence, but there are many traps laid for the believer even after we receive that breakthrough. We must recognize that even though we are not feeling any pain of surgery, we still need God. That even though we may feel no discomfort, that medicine will wear off and we must be prepared for any attack that is certain at any given time. We are a fall risk, no matter how old we are in God, but our confidence must not lie in our abilities nor should our confidence be upon the great things that God does through us. We must be sober and vigilant, because the time of attack is at all times.

What happens if we do fall? What happens if we are overtaken in a fault? What happens if we do give in to temptation? How do we handle it? The first thing that we must do is make it right with God and keep going. Do not quit. Do not spend all of your energy wallowing in regret or guilt. Lay it down at the feet of Jesus and ask Him for forgiveness. Is it that easy? Yes, faith in God is the active resolver to all things. When we come to God, we must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder to them who diligently seek Him. Have faith that He died for the sins that you would commit even as a Christian.

There is a fine line between conviction and condemnation. Conviction is God’s way of letting us know that we did wrong, only to have us to come to Him and make it right. Condemnation is Satan’s way of nagging us, weighing us down with guilt, to the point that we such a weight of shame that even when we ask God’s forgiveness it still lingers. Conviction says, “Come to God, He loves you and He will restore you. His mercy is right there waiting to lift you back up and put you on your way.” Condemnation says, “God is angry with you. Look what you did. After all that God has done for you, look how you messed up. Look at how you failed.”

When we fall, we must be careful not to allow unbelief to grow in our hearts. Quickly doubt comes and tells us that we have nothing with God anymore, that He no longer listens. That God is disappointed in us. The disappointment of God as we have read is when people doubted. Jesus shunned multitudes of people because of their unbelief. Repent and start trusting God, that He is there and that He wants us to get back up and continue walking. The four lepers became determined when they declared let us go on, for if we go into the city we will die (there was a famine in the city), and if we sit here we are going to die. So, they set their minds that they were not just going to sit there. It was not the issue of their leprosy, it was the issue of food to sustain them through their lives. They were not saying anything about their long-term conditions, they were speaking of their short-term issue which was death from starvation. So, they determined themselves to get up and get going. They went to the enemy’s camp and God allowed the enemy to hear chariots and great noise, so the enemy ran away. The lepers were able to go into their camp and get the food and drink and even the spoils of great riches. If we sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. We cannot afford to sit and listen to the enemy tell us that we are failures and outcasts, but we must lift our eyes to Jesus. Look upon Him and live. Jesus said that, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me.” This has been interrupted several ways, but one way refers to His crucifixion, that because of Jesus being lifted up on the cross, He draws all men. He gives everyone the opportunity of repentance.

To repent means to turn around and go the opposite direction. When we repent, we must take it by faith and trust God at His word when He said that He would never leave us nor forsake us, but He would go all the way, even unto the end of the world. We put sin into categories and we determine within our churches and our minds that one sin is greater than another. We look for ways to justify “little sins” and not bother repenting over those. God wants to convict us of all wrongs and His purpose for conviction is repentance. Also, His conviction is to bring us into the truth of His word. That He will not leave us comfortless. He has sent His Spirit to comfort us and intercede for us.

Think about someone that you love, someone who you truly love. Say this person does you wrong on purpose. Because of your love for them, you do not find it hard to forgive them. True love forgives and keeps no record of wrongs. How many times have we fallen from grace? How many times have we known that something was a sin yet we did it anyway? This brings me to a couple of examples that were brought to my attention today.

Yesterday, I went back home from work to take care of my son because my heart was there. I needed to be close by to him in case he needed me. I spent the majority of the whole morning mowing the grass and weed eating, but knowing that I was close to him was important to me. I was able to get things taken care of that needed my attention. The weeds were so high because it had been weeks since I was able to take care of them and cut them down. This made the job much more intensive, it took more effort, and more fuel.

As I was cutting the weeds, God began to show me just how crucial it is to remain fixed in Him. We sometimes get busy with day to day things, and like my yard overtaken with really high weeds, our hearts can have an overgrowth in them. It is not altogether that we are willfully sinning, it is just neglecting. Neglecting our hearts and spending time with God because we are busy is not necessarily a sin, but it can be a danger. We are at risk for so much more when we neglect our relationship with a merciful Father.

The higher the weeds get, the more effort it takes to cut them down. If I were to keep them cut regularly, they are simply not as difficult to remove. However, it is almost as if I have cut the top half and then the bottom half, taking more time, energy, and fuel. What once took two full tanks of fuel, took me three. Just because we are Children of God, does not mean that we do not have things to cut away every day. So how do we cut them away from our lives? We spend close time with God and when we open up His word and just enjoy it, then He renews our mind. This cleansing, starts stripping away attitudes that grow up overnight. Weeds grow everywhere and anywhere. I remember being on a trip with a friend and we passed up McDonalds, and in everything I look for God. Well, sure enough even though we had passed up the place we were going to eat breakfast at, we turned around in a parking lot of a building that had weeds growing up on the roof. This just astounded me. If we had not passed it up I would not have seen those weeds. This shows you that no matter what weeds grow. No matter what the sinful nature is always present. You can uncover the earth and plant a garden, and weeds will find their way into it. You can walk down the street and see weeds coming up through cement. So, how can we not see that regardless of how strong we think that we are, we are prone to sin, we are prone to fall, and we are prone to be overcrowded with weeds.

Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 1 Timothy I4.14

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; Hebrews 2.3

Do not neglect the gifts that God has given you. There are so many blessings and great things that God has done for you, and there are so many more things that are ahead. We can allow distractions and life to stop us from weed eating, but the cost is greater later. Another thing that I discovered while working yesterday was that I was at a higher risk of falling off of my hill where I use the weed eater, because the hill is straight up and down. If I can see where I am stepping it is a lot safer. Because of high weeds I am at risk of being snake bitten, so I have to be really careful and more cautious than before. Here is a quote from an online website about keeping snakes away, “The real way to keep snakes away from you home is to keep your property from attracting snakes in the first place. Snakes like thick vegetation, buildings with gaps between the ground and the floor, ancient buildings that have fallen down, and so on. You need to make sure you are doing everything possible to keep your yard picked up and mowed. Un-mowed grass is one the worst offenders when you look at causes for snake infestations. It is a natural progression; the long grass breeds insects and the insects attract snakes.”[1]

If we read that quote, there is a lot in it that we can apply to our spiritual walk with God. The high weeds that grow in our lives, even when all the other plants are dying in the fall, can house some the most dangerous and harmful effects to our lives. Let’s look at how this is happening. First of all, we get busy with this and that and do not have time to spend with God and ask Him for guidance, help, and strength. So, as a result, weeds grow taller than before. We continue seeing that there are weeds, but we put it off, because we have so many other things to do. Before long the weeds attract insects which in turn attract snakes. When we do not run to God and spend time with Him, weeds grow and the enemy is attracted to weeds. The only way to truly stop satan from getting in, is to not make our heart a hospitable environment for him to move in on. This is not so much sin, by letting life get to us and we do not spend as much time with God, but it can be a dangerous set-up for snakes to take over.

Once the enemy moves in on your territory, it is harder to get him out. Why is this? First of all, satan always tempts us with something we want. You cannot tempt someone with something they do not have an appetite for. I used to not like Chinese food simply because I never developed an appetite for it. With the right restaurant, serving the right kind of tastes, I soon became addicted to the stuff! Satan will work and work and work until he gets the recipe just right to attract you. He wants you to fall and he wants to make you feel so unworthy when you do fall, that it takes a long time to recover. The length of time it takes from the moment you fall to the time that you repent and stand back up and continue walking is crucial.

 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. REV12.10-11

Satan is the accuser of the brethren. He is the one who cooks up the perfect recipe to suit your taste, tempts you with it, and then accuses you bringing up everything in front of you so that you will not turn back to God after falling. This is where it is harder to get the enemy out of the weeds. He will come to you and make you think, “What’s the use, I am just going to do wrong again. I am not worthy. After all that God has done for me and I mess up again. I give in to the temptation after all the mercy and love that He has shown me.” On and on the process goes, the accusations pound you. However, notice something: satan cannot tell the truth. These accusations are mixed with truth and untruth. He likes to mix it up because he wants to deceive you into thinking that there is no hope.

The way to remove satan from the weeds is to look to God, ask Him for forgiveness and have faith that the price paid at Calvary was for this very sin too, not just for your salvation when you first came to Him. You are submitting to God, you are humbly bowing before Him and are truly sorry for hurting His heart. Then resist satan. Resist the negative badgering thoughts of condemnation and guilt. If you do not resist them then you are lacking faith. Start reading God’s word to increase this faith. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. You read God’s word long enough and you feel your faith rise again. You will see the promises in His word that say, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5),” and “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (1 John 2:1).”

God can teach us anything out of everything if we just look and listen. Study to be quiet. (1 Thes. 4:11) We are prone to fall. We are a fall risk because we want to be more like Jesus. We want to walk like Him and talk like Him, so we are at risk of failing many times. If we did not want to be like Jesus then, life would be a lot easier to go with the flow. Not changing is easy, change is hard. Quitting is easy, picking ourselves back up and to continue walking, that can be hard.

An example that I would like to share with you; my daughter told me this morning on the way to school that one of the boys she has been in school with for the past five years quit school. My daughter’s class are seniors this year. The boy was asked, “Why did you quit?” He replied, “Because I am still in the ninth grade.” Something struck me when she told me this. Everyone else that he went to school with are graduating seniors this year, but he was still in ninth grade. His problem was not a lack of knowledge or a learning disability, his problem every year had been immaturity and not taking responsibility for his grades. Only you can take your grades seriously in order to pass and move on in growth.

This is the same way with Christians. Some of us are watching others graduate and pass tests, moving forward in their relationship with God. Meanwhile, we are still back in ninth grade. We should be farther long in our relationship with God, but somehow we have been held back. Are we being held back because we will not listen to God and take responsibility for our growth? Are we blaming everyone around us when we are the only ones who have the power to change? God gives each and everyone the same opportunity for growth. There are some limitations for some more than others, but He leads us and guides us. We are all on different levels of growth, some grow faster than others, but let us make sure that we are not giving excuses and let us not quit because everyone else is passing us up. In God there are no big I’s and little you’s. If we have the love of God in our hearts, then we will treat everyone with love and compassion, no matter how many times they fail and retake a test. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love is merciful and does not keep a record of wrongs. If you want mercy, show it and sow it into other people’s lives; even the mischievous teenager that keeps messing up on purpose.

Have you ever noticed that when you turn the porch light on at night, there is always a spider web close to the light? I never really recognized that maybe there was a significant reason why a spider would build a web there. I saw a web this morning and it dawned on me, “Spiders build their webs near the light, because moths and other insects are attracted to the light.” Did you know that satan will lay a snare right near the light? Did you know that satan goes to church every time the doors are open? Somewhere close to the light, you will find a web and a spider just patiently waiting for the naive moth to come by and get caught up in it. Oftentimes I do not leave a light on outside because it attracts so many bugs at night. I cannot open the door without several mosquitos and moths flying into my house. Moths are nocturnal and love the light. They love to dance around the light in the night.

We as children of God are attracted to the light of God’s word. We need something in this dark world to sustain us and keeping close to God provides this comfort from day to day struggles. So, when we examine the word of God, we can understand the analogy of a spider spinning a web near light to attract moths. In literature we can look at how writers use webs and spiders in metaphors and such, usually a web is something one can get caught up in. Also, I have read Walter Scott’s famous line from his poem Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave. When first we practice to deceive![2] Satan has only a few abilities. Because God has given us free will, to make our own decisions, satan’s power is limited.

We talked briefly about one of his tactics, which is accusing. He will accuse you and accuse, even when you have done nothing wrong. If he knows you have an overactive conscience, you will definitely be a target. The reasoning is simple, he does not have to do much to the person who has an overactive conscience, because he only has to plant a thought of guilt and that person who has a guilt complex, will torture themselves; thus doing his job for him. If you are one of these people, I will confess that I do struggle with it myself, satan can put a thought in your mind or a guilty feeling on you, and you may end up struggling for hours, days, weeks, or even months to be rid of a guilty conscience that God had nothing to do with.

God will instruct you so that you will no longer have that guilty conscience complex, feeling guilty and shameful over every little thing, or even things that are not even there. God fights fire with fire. Have you ever noticed that? You pray for patience and God makes a situation arise where you have to use your patience to get through it, therefore it yields more patience. You pray to be more like Him and then a trial comes and you end up seeing just how much of Him is not in your heart, thus leading you into a deeper relationship of dependence on Him. All things that God does is the absolute opposite of what we would probably do, but He knows what He is doing. It is like conquering a fear, sometimes the best way is to literally face it head on. That is not easy, but God will slowly and softly ease you into being ready for that.

Now, let’s get back to the spider. So, we said that spiders weave webs near the light and satan has weapons. One of those weapons is to lie. He cannot tell the truth. He can tell half-truths, he can speak the Word of God only to twist it into something it is not, but anything he does is a web to deceive you into believing something that is not true. Even the weapon of accusation, it is not truth. So, the next time you are under a weighty load of guilt and shame, you can guarantee that satan is lying to you. God convicts with love and compassion, drawing you back closer to Him than ever before. Satan lies and makes you feel like you are not even worth God’s time.

Another way of deceiving, we look at the spider that is so close to the light, satan gets so close to the word of God in imitation. He knows the word more than most Christians, because it is his sole purpose to make you believe lies, so that you will go to hell or live a horrible Christian life. The Bible says, “…to deceive the very elect if possible.” He can mix lies within the truth and people fall for it, those who know not the truth of God’s word. If you do not know the truth of God’s word, you are not a threat to satan. People by the thousands even millions have followed after cults and manmade doctrines throughout all of history, but satan did not have to worry about them. It was the ones who sought God, and determined that they wanted to find God, and hear from Him more than anything else in their lives. These were the threats.

He has to struggle with the ones who have come to know who they are in Christ. He wakes up before them, so to speak, to figure out how can overthrow them today. God has allowed them to know the truth, the truth has set them free, and I can no longer use my guilt and shame on them anymore. The truth of the Word of God exposes the enemy’s lies and overthrows his plans for us. He can no longer sit back and use the remote control to push our buttons. Before, he could push fear and we would run around, until we found someone or something that could substitute God. He could push the guilt button, and we would be wound up like a toy car, running around making ourselves feel miserable. Now, God has brought us into some truth, and satan has to get up and find another way. “That lie didn’t work.” We used to believe lies, but God enlightened our understanding and told us the truth, allowed us to see the truth exercised in our lives, and now we are susceptible to that web anymore.

When we sit in church or go through the motions of worship, we do not want to step out of the boat of complacency simply for fear of being a fall risk, satan has already won. We may be a fall risk, but I would rather be a fall risk than a bed sore risk. I would rather fall and learn to get back up every time and heal, than to be one who just refuses to even try. One who lays up in bed until infection has set in, that it is seeping out of every aspect of my life; my relationships, my words, my attitudes, etc. The victorious life lived is one that though we fall, we cry out to God and get back up. We do not live a victorious life laying around getting bed sores and blood clots, because we are too afraid to get back up.

If we never have any struggle, then are we actually changing? When I feel peace and love of God’s Spirit in my life, I feel a little nervous, because I am used to struggle. I am used to fighting. When I have experienced just having days of peace and joy, I am not used to it, I get bored. Those times are yet another season of the walk we have with Him. We know various seasons, such as waiting on God, when God is silent, the mountaintop experiences, the valley of the shadow of death, but do we know about the shadow days? What I mean by shadow days, is those days where Psalms 91:1 says, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” We live on guard and that is exactly what God said to do and how to be, but aren’t you glad that there are days when God wisps us away into the comfort of His love and allows us rest in Him?

[1] http://www.wildlife-removal.com/snakemothballs.html

[2] Scott, Walter. Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field (Edinburgh: Printed by J. Ballantyne and Co. For Archibald Constable and Company, Edinburgh; and William Miller, and John Murray, London, 1808).

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