Seven quick steps to getting back on track.

Ever wake up right in the middle of your life? You scream “How did I get here? I don’t want to be here!” and with horror you realize that you have been drifting. You have not been actively tending to your course and so instead of you determining your direction and driving your life, your circumstances have been driving you! Driving you down roads you don’t want to go to places you don’t want to be with people you can’t trust. You wake up and realize how far off course you are and you become embarrassed and ashamed. “I used to be stronger that this” you might say. You have forgotten who you are.

Mufasa’s Ghost: You have forgotten who you are and so have forgotten me. Look inside yourself Simba. You are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the Circle of life.

I remember several years ago I found myself in this exact spot. Over the course of several years I had been given many wonderful opportunities to minister in our church. Usually on the last Sunday night of each month I would teach. It was such a blessing and real training time for me. Our pastors’ name was Mark Jacobsen. He believed in the perfecting the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ – Eph 4:12. He was always working with people & grooming them in the areas of their gifts. There was a period of time though, where I stepped back from the ministry opportunities because I was busy at work. I didn’t have much time to prepare. Over a period of months I also stopped praying as much and didn’t study as much. I began to lose ground spiritually and morally. I began to get loose with my personal standards and in some of the things I was allowing in my life. I remember the day Pastor Mark approached me and asked me to teach. I said “I’m not really in the place I should be to teach”. He looked me right in the eye and said “YOU decide whether or not YOU will be a vessel of honor”. Those words have stayed with me all these years. They have served me well and still guide me when things in my life get unstable and the temptation to compromise shows up.

Fresh Start

What did I do? I straightened up and got back to business. I decided to be a vessel of honor. It’s a decision that only you can make. It’s also a decision that you will have to make over and over again as you walk out your life. I can say with full assurance that it is the only way I want to be. I don’t want to be a mud pot. I want to be a gold pot.

Pastor Mark used to tell a story of a severe flood and a man who had a small row boat. While rowing he came upon another man who was treading water, totally exhausted and about ready to give up. The man in the water cried out “Help me” and the man in the boat replied “dry yourself off and you can climb in my boat”. The man in the water said “Please, just let me in your boat” to which the man in the boat replied again “Sure, as soon as you dry yourself off you can climb right up in here”. Pastor Mark would say “Some people think that you have to clean yourself up and spruce up your behavior before you can come to God, but the truth is you can’t do that on your own. Get a man out of the water and into the warm sunshine and guess what happens? He dries off.”

Don’t let where you are keep you from turning around. You are not too far gone. You are not out of God’s reach.

Steps to recovery.

  1. Remember God is with you. Heb 13:5b says for He has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. You may have stepped away from Him but He didn’t step away from you.
  2. Remember that He loves you and He’s the one who’s helping you to wake up. Jer 31:3 says The Lord has appeared of old to me saying, Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, with lovingkindness I have drawn you.
  3. Remember the Prodigal Son? He asked his daddy for his inheritance early and then left and began to blow it on what the bible calls riotous living. He was out partying and living it up but eventually ran out of money. Then a famine hit and he began to suffer. He got a job feeding pigs and for a Jewish boy pigs were considered unclean. This was a dirty and humiliating job. He was so desperate that he considered eating the pig slop. Then the bible says “He came to himself”. He said “even the servants at my father’s house have food enough to spare and I am dying from starvation!” He decided to go to his father and ask for a job as a servant. He said “I’m no more worthy to be called your son”. This is how we think sometimes isn’t it? But Thank God that’s not how God thinks! When the father saw his son approaching, the father ran to him, fell on his neck and kissed him. This is how God thinks!
  4. Remember 1st John 1:9. When you’ve missed it, go to God & call it what it is – sin. He promises not only to forgive what you confess but also to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.   Just pray “Lord, I thank you that Jesus came, died for me, rose from the dead for me and by his sacrifice I am redeemed. I’ve messed up and I know I’ve messed up. I confess my sin before you and call it what it is. It’s sin and I know that I shouldn’t have done it. I thank you for forgiving me and cleansed me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.” It’s a matter of humbling yourself. It’s pretty simple and it’s the bible way to clear the slate.
  5. Forget the past! Isaiah 43:25 (WEB) I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins. God forgets your past, you forget it too- (Phil 3:13).
  6. Make a plan. Build your life while you are strong to carry you through while you are weak. Think about when you messed up. Try to structure your situation to avoid the triggers that take you down the wrong road. Ask God for the wisdom to see the triggers.
  7. Look for someone to help. Awaken the heart of ministry in you. I have found that serving & ministering to others helps me put my problems into a better perspective.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s up to someone else as to whether or not you can be used. So many people are waiting for permission to become excellent. You’ve already been picked! Eph 2:10 says For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them. God already has something wonderful planned for you.

Reverend Doug Jones, National Director of Rhema Ministerial Association International and Rhema Alumni Association said something on Facebook several months ago that resonated with me so much that I wrote it down. He said “Refuse to wait for others to recognize your potential. Slip your life out of neutral into drive, you will be surprised where it will take you”.

My prayer for you is that you will find the course for your life that God has planned for you. It’s the best life you can live. It’s the life that takes you to your full potential.  Join the conversation by leaving a comment below.

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4 Responses to Seven quick steps to getting back on track.

  1. Deborah says:

    Thank you Art. This really helped me think about what my life has become. I know I am the one who has to persevere through every trial that arises in my life with Gods hand upon me. Thank you for sharing what’s in your heart.

    • Art says:

      Thank you Deborah. I am often comforted knowing that We are never alone and we’re never without real and ever-present help.

  2. Mary says:

    Thanks Art for such a good message. I especially like the comment in #7 “awaken the heart of ministry within you”. We all need to be bold enough to believe that God is able to work in us and through us. Our ministry is our responsibility-regardless where God has us serving. Each of us will give our own account before God.

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