When I wrote and published the fourth post in my series Spiritual Warfare - You’re in a Fight to the Death, it was about the times that Samson and you have hit rock bottom. I thought that I was done with that series, but then a friend suggested that I meditate on “rock bottom”. The suggestion was made that I really did need to follow-up with a fourth post. I agreed, so here it is--what you do after you hit rock bottom in as you engage in the fight of your life.
In that last post I wrote that when you reach rock bottom you may feel like a failure. You let pride and the desires of your flesh get the best of you over and over. But even with all your failures God isn’t finished with you. You may be at rock bottom, the bottom of the barrel, but that’s not the end. Remember, Samson’s hair grew back;
Judges 16:22 (NLT) But before long, his hair began to grow back.
Your climb up from rock bottom may start with something else, but it will start.
Job 42:10 (NLT) When Job prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes. In fact, the LORD gave him twice as much as before!
The first step up from rock bottom is to admit that you had been chasing something in life that didn’t fully satisfy you. Even before you gave your life to Christ and became a believer you knew that there was something missing. That something missing was God. Now that you are His you are constantly reminded that only He can completely satisfy you. If you have never given Christ your life, you may never be able to recover from being at rock bottom. At the end of this post, I'll tell you haw top become His, so that you can effectively use God's spiritual weapons..
Once you admit that that there has to be more that just a great job, a great family, a big house, a big car, or lots of money, then you have turned the corner and are on the way back to God. Your choices were to keep looking for that something that you were missing on your own, or you look to the One who gave you the desire in the first place.
God intended that we experience His love. What we long for, God doesn’t just have-- He is.
Romans 5:8 (NLT) But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
I Wish I Could Start Over
When you are at the bottom you wish you could have another chance--a “do over”. Everything’s a mess. You are full of regret and disappointment and you want another chance to get it right. But you’ve mess up so many times that you don’t think that you deserve another chance.
It doesn’t matter. No matter how many times you’ve failed God will always give you another chance.
Psalm 86:15 (NLT) But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
Micah 7:18 (NLT) Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love.
However, starting over may not be from the point where you fell to rock bottom. God may have other ideas. His plans for you are for better than you can even imagine. When you leave it up to Him you are able to leave the past behind.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT) For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
God’s plans for you are to take away the pain of the past, revise the purpose in the present, and give you confidence about your future. With this renewed confidence you can start to live the life that God has planned for you.
Joel 2:25-26 (NLT)
The LORD says, “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts. It was I who sent this great destroying army against you.26 Once again you will have all the food you want, and you will praise the LORD your God, who does these miracles for you. Never again will my people be disgraced.
But you can’t do it by yourself.
I Can't Do This on My Own
You may have to get rid of some stuff in order to really experience the new chance that God has given you. You may still be holding on to something. It may be a habit or activity that nobody knows about. If you hold on to the old then God may not put the new into your life.
You may need to call a trusted Christian friend or counselor and talk to them. You may need to join a support group. But don’t try to do it on your own.
You need to confess whatever it is that you’re holding on to that’s keeping you at rock bottom. When you confess God says that He will forgive you and cleanse you. Confession is acknowledgement or admission, and agreement with God. To confess is the first step in turning away from whatever is holding you back and turning to God whose plans for you are for good.
1 John 1:9 (NLT) But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
Confession doesn't mean feeling bad. Confession and repentance can really lead to being refreshed..
Acts 3:19-20 (NLT) Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.20 Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah.
God Does Love You
Now as you see things starting to turn in your favor be careful that you don’t start thinking that you don’t deserve God’s favor. It is true that we don't but by His grace God has lifted you because He loves you.
You have one set of feelings about yourself and God has another. You look at your past filled with failure and disappointment. He looks at you with love and compassion. No, you don’t deserve another chance but God is giving it to you anyway.
Romans 8:28-30 (NLT) And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
Don’t let your past mistakes and failures define you. You are not who or what your enemy, Satan, says that you are but you are who God says you are. You are His child.
Jeremiah 31:3 (NLT) Long ago the LORD said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.
That’s the message that God gave to Israel through the prophet Jeremiah and that’s what He’s saying to you today. He loves you no matter what.
A Man Who Hit Rock Bottom and Rebounded
I wrote about Samson and his rock bottom experience in my last post but here’s another story, which is in my opinion, a more extreme example of being at rock bottom and then rebounding.
You know the story of Jonah. He disobeyed a direct order from God and ended up in the belly of a whale or great fish. I would say that’s rock bottom.
Here’s what Charles Swindoll says about Jonah’s experience.
“Pitch black. Sloshing gastric juices wash over you, burning skin, eyes, throat, nostrils. Oxygen is scarce and each frantic gulp of air is saturated with salt water. The rancid smell of digested food causes you to throw up repeatedly until you only have dry heaves left. Everything you touch has the slimy feel of the mucous membrane that lines the stomach. You feel claustrophobic. With every turn and dive of the great fish, you slip and slide in the cesspool of digestive fluid. There are no footholds. No blankets to keep you warm from the cold, clammy depths of the sea. For three days and three nights you endure this harsh womb of grace.”
C.S. Lewis once wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures but shouts in our pain.”
Jonah is in pain and God is shouting. Jonah finally hears. He did what you should do.
He Remembered the Lord
Jonah 2:1-7 (NLT)1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from inside the fish.2 He said, “I cried out to the LORD in my great trouble, and he answered me. I called to you from the land of the dead, and LORD, you heard me!3 You threw me into the ocean depths, and I sank down to the heart of the sea. The mighty waters engulfed me; I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves.4 Then I said, ‘O LORD, you have driven me from your presence. Yet I will look once more toward your holy Temple.’5 “I sank beneath the waves, and the waters closed over me. Seaweed wrapped itself around my head.6 I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. I was imprisoned in the earth, whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O LORD my God, snatched me from the jaws of death!7 As my life was slipping away, I remembered the LORD. And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple. (Emphasis mine).
When Jonah had almost given up hope he turned to God for help.
He Renewed His Commitment
Jonah 2:9 (NLT) But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the LORD alone.”
Jonah is expressing complete commitment to do God’s will because he knows that his salvation is a gift from God and no where else.
He Received Forgiveness and Another Chance
Jonah 2:10-3:3 (NLT)10 Then the LORD ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach. 1 Then the LORD spoke to Jonah a second time:2 “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.”3 This time Jonah obeyed the LORD’s command and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to see it all.
This was Jonah’s second chance.
From Here It’s Only Up
God wants you to live in confidence that he loves you. When you really understand that you see endless possibilities to serve Him and others. It means living a life that is better, bigger and more meaningful than ever before. You don’t ever have to do it on your own. If you find yourself looking for substitutes again, thinking you have all the answers . . . now you know what to do. Give it to God. When you give it to Him get prepared to experience more than you ever thought possible. You can have hope where there was once discouragement. You can show others the way to your new found victory in spiritual warfare. You are more than a conqueror.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (NLT)17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
You Too Can Climb
If you are a Christian and a believer all of these things apply to you. If you’re not then they don’t and you may never be able to climb up from rock bottom. The key is having a relationship with God and the only way you can have that relationship is through His Son Jesus Christ.
If you want that relationship so that you can make that climb to the top, here’s what you need do right now;
Romans 10:9 (NLT) If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Pray this prayer in all sincerity. It doesn’t matter where you are. You may be at you desk on your computer, or somewhere on your laptop, you may be reading this on your smartphone, or your tablet. It doesn’t matter just pray in all sincerity. Don’t just say it if you don’t really mean it, because if you do you will just be speaking words. But if you are tired of trying to change things in your own power, and are ready to turn your life over to the One who can make you a new creature with a renewed heart and mind pray;
“God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I believe that His death and resurrection provided for my forgiveness. I trust in Jesus and Jesus alone as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you Lord, for saving me and forgiving me! Amen!”
If you truly understand and believe what you just prayed then these promises of eternal life apply to you. So do all the other promises that God has made to believers. To find out what they are and how they apply to you find a bible believing church and start to fellowship with other believers. Welcome to the family of God my brother or sister.
This blog is for you! If you have any questions or topics you would like me to address please use the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.