Is it ever possible for me to have the same joy, peace and boldness in Christ that I had before I backslid several years ago? If so, then how? I feel as if there is no more hope for me.
The example that comes to my mind is King David when he sinned with Bathsheba. II Samuel 11:2-4 records his sin, “And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house.”
If you will read on in the story, you will see that Bathsheba conceives. To try and cover it up, King David calls her soldier husband home, and tries his best to get him to spend time with his own wife — hopefully, to cover up his sin and make the child appear to be theirs. But that did not work out, so David commands his general, Joab, to put Uriah in a hot place of battle, and then retire from him so he is killed. Joab does not do exactly that, but does place him in a dangerous position, and Uriah is killed.
At this point, God steps in, and sends His prophet Nathan to David. Nathan starts out with a little story that shows how mean some people can be. The story gets David really angry at the mean man, and then Nathan lets David know that he has been the mean, wicked man. II Samuel 12:7-12 says, “And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.”
At this point, David suddenly realizes how far he has backslidden in his life, and immediately confesses his sin. II Samuel 12:13,14 says, “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.”
What we must always realize that the pleasures of sin are very short-lived, and never worth it. Hebrews 11:24,25 says, “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.”
David immediately goes into mourning for the child, because the child’s sickness is a result of his sin — and not the child’s fault at all. The result of David’s true remorse for his sin was that he was willing to suffer physically himself as long as the child was suffering and sick. II Samuel 12:15-19 says, “And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick. David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth. And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them. And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead? But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.”
After having showed true repentance, David then surprises his servants. II Samuel 12:20-25 says, “Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat. Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved him. And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name Jedidiah, because of the LORD.”
Notice that even the Lord sees fit to bless the next child born to David and Bathsheba, and will choose him to be king after David.
David truly was sorry for his sin. Psalm 38:17,18 says, “For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me. For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.”
If God did not forgive us, then we would all lose hope and give up even trying to serve Him. Psalm 130:1-4 says, “Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD. Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.”
God does not just forgive us, but also cleanses us from all of our sin. I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, AND TO CLEANSE US from all unrighteousness.” He does not just “pick us up,” but He also “cleans us up.”
Notice Psalm 51, which we are told that David wrote after his sin with Bathsheba, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. WASH ME thoroughly from mine iniquity, and CLEANSE ME from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: WASH ME, and I shall be whiter than snow. MAKE ME TO HEAR JOY AND GLADNESS; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. RESTORE UNTO ME THE JOY OF THY SALVATION; and uphold me with thy free spirit. THEN WILL I TEACH TRANSGRESSORS THY WAYS; AND SINNERS SHALL BE CONVERTED UNTO THEE. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall show forth thy praise. For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. THE SACRIFICES OF GOD ARE A BROKEN SPIRIT: A BROKEN AND A CONTRITE HEART, O GOD, THOU WILT NOT DESPISE. Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.”
David did not pray that God would restore his salvation, but the JOY of his salvation. Notice then what would happen, “THEN WILL I TEACH TRANSGRESSORS THY WAYS; AND SINNERS SHALL BE CONVERTED UNTO THEE.” There is the boldness and joy of which you spoke and long to have back again.
We can have a boldness for Christ when He is truly first in our lives. Proverbs 28:1 says, “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but THE RIGHTEOUS ARE BOLD as a lion.” The key to regaining boldness for Christ is truly repenting of our sin (which may mean that we need to make restitution for what we have done wrong to people) and then living righteous, holy lives every day. David did that, and God restored the joy and blessing.
That does not mean that we will not have to live with the consequences of our sin. The apostle Paul had great joy, but also great suffering in his life as the consequences of his sin. Acts 9:10-16 says, “And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, LORD, I HAVE HEARD BY MANY OF THIS MAN, HOW MUCH EVIL HE HAS DONE TO THY SAINTS at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: FOR I WILL SHOW HIM HOW GREAT THINGS HE MUST SUFFER FOR MY NAME’S SAKE.”
Paul suffered much from the consequences of his own sin, but God can give the grace needed to have joy in a person’s heart. Like when Paul was beaten and thrown into jail. Acts 16:22-25 says, “And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And AT MIDNIGHT PAUL AND SILAS PRAYED, AND SANG PRAISES UNTO GOD: and the prisoners heard them.”
It means a life of dying to self and not getting mad at God for the consequences of our own sin. It means living a holy and righteous life every day. The more holy your life is, the more the boldness will return. But this time, there will be a true humility, because you will realize the pit from which God rescued you. Psalm 40:2,3 records David again, “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.”
Is your total faith and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation? If so, then put Christ first every day.