It is the tragic experience of the Church at large that many who demonstrate initial Christian potential wind up being a tremendous spiritual flop.
The Judean king, Amaziah, is a study in contrast concerning why there are so many who become “a floppy on being Godly.” His story, which is told in II Kings 14 and II Chronicles 25, reveals that he got off to a good start. But, his end culminated in a personal, professional, and spiritual let down. While he could have made a valuable difference concerning the purposes of God, he ultimately did not.
The Scriptural details show conclusive evidence that Amaziah was not willing to do what was spiritually essential to gain spiritual success. It is proven by the facts that, though he projected an outward spiritual countenance, he harbored inwardly secret sins. Though he allowed himself to be nominally Bible-led, he was clearly not fully led and influenced by the Spirit of God.
The rub is that Amaziah’s flop can be traced right to the lack of spiritual preparation. This was a mistake in large proportions affecting himself and the kingdom he had commissioned to rule.
Another case in point concerns the Apostle Peter, who flopped when he denied the Lord those three times. Thinking that he was man enough to go the distance with the Lord, Peter declared that he would never back down. Yet, because of his lack of adequate spiritual preparedness, Peter, at that time in his Christian experience, did not succeed.
Some people comment concerning their own Christian flop by explaining, “I gave it a good try being a Christian, but it just did not work out for me.” Others state, “I just could not live it.” It seems like for many that just as soon as they attempt to switch to the divine narrowness of Godliness that worldliness only becomes that much more alluring.
The biting question thus becomes, “What is the key that ensures success in being the consistent Christian Godliness expects of me? How can I keep from being a flop on God?”
But, just as it has been demonstrated through Amaziah and Peter, building patiently the spiritual life is key. This is not some sort of imagined opinion. Rather, it is a persistent theme verified by Scripture in a variety of terms.
For example, “study to show yourself approved” clarifies it. “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” exemplifies it. “Take unto the whole armor of God” directs it. “Walk in the Spirit” teaches it. These are just a few Scriptural examples of exhortation for necessary preparation.
You see, spiritual preparation is the necessary under-girding we need during times of temptation to flop on God. Spiritual preparation strengthens us to persevere with such tenacity that being a flop is not an option. Spiritual preparation serves as sustenance to the soul for the long haul in the Christian walk.
Above all, spiritual preparation is not relegated to just a one-time experience. Rather, it is a daily expectation. Every day there must be that practice of spiritual preparation that comes from Bible reading, prayer, and spending time with God.
All of this, nonetheless, cooks down to a critical consideration. It is found in the fact that there is hope for recovery when we sometimes flop.
It is rather proven by the experience of Peter. His denial lapses proved the lack of adequate spiritual preparation for sure. The Lord knew it. After all, He warned that Peter was about to be “sifted.” And, was he ever! But, Peter recovered, particularly after the Resurrection of the Lord. Peter went on to become a mighty giant in the ministry for the glory of God.
It is important to remember that there is hope for recovery even though you have somehow flopped on God. You can most certainly be a Christian success story. Set things right with God, and then stay spiritually prepared the rest of the way.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.