Summary: If you should look up one day this week and discover to your dismay that sin has crept into your life, I want to give you a strategy for STARTING OVER... AGAIN.
Passage: Gen. 13:1-4
It’s been observed that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is easy to see in our daily lives; how often do your victories give way to failures? How often does a great day end on a sour note? How frequently does a string of positive worship, reveal rotten fruit on the vine of our lives?
This trend goes beyond the individual experience of Christians and blends into the body of Christ as well. Richard Lovelace in his book "Dynamics of Spiritual Life" observed that the key problem with revivals is the failure to take into account that every assault on the enemies territory will be met with a vicious counterassault.
So if, perchance as we discussed this morning you should come under attack and if that attack should cause a failure. If because of that you find yourself not walking where you should... If you should look up one day this week and discover to your dismay that sin has crept into your life, I want to give you a strategy for STARTING OVER... AGAIN.
Do you remember what has just happened to Abram in Genesis 12:10-20? He convinced his wife and everyone with him to lie to Pharaoh and pretend she was his sister. He did this for all the reasons that we fall into sin.
Remember that the foundation of Abram’s failure was that he failed to take God’s word into account. Abram fell into fear, he fell into second guessing God, he fell into lying, he fell into sin, because he didn’t keep God’s word in his heart. He lied about his wife, and it nearly cost Sarai her purity, the Pharaoh his life, and Abram his safety. And it did cost the family a place to stay. They had to leave Egypt (12:20).
So what do you do when you realize that you’ve moved out of obedience and into sin? The first thing you should do is:...
1) RETRACE YOUR STEPS:
(Gen.. 13:1-2 / CREF: Gen.. 12:5,8,9)
"So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev,
he and his wife and all that belonged to him, and Lot with him."
Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold."
Compare that text with Gen.. 12:5,8,9. There you see Abram doing the same things here, that he did at first. He took his money, his wife and his nephew and moved. In Genesis 12 he’s moving from north to south, while in Genesis 13 he’s moving from the South Back to the Middle of the country. Why is he doing that?
*** He’s returning to a previous point of victory. ***
My dad and I used to take annual trips up to Michigan in the spring to go mushroom hunting for Morel mushrooms. Typically we’d bring back enough for 1 or 2 good meals, the rest we ate in camp. But we always enjoyed the trip. What always amazed me was my dad’s ability to find his way in the forest. We would walk literally for miles around the woods, finding these little mushrooms.
Most of the time you had to walk with your eyes to the ground or you’d never get any. I remember more than once wondering where we were, and wondering, even more importantly if we’d ever get back to camp. But my dad never seems to have gotten lost. If I would say something to him, he could easily climb a hill and point through the woods to some landmark he’d picked out, which would clearly mark our path back.
That’s what you and I need to do. If we find ourselves getting lost, we need to climb back up the hill with Jesus, look around us and find the landmark we’ve picked out. Then we need to go back to that one place before our troubles started. We need to:...
2) RETURN TO THE PREVIOUS VICTORY:
"He went on his journeys from the Negev as far as Bethel,
to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai,
to the place of the altar which he had made there formerly;
Abram looked into his past and decided to return to where he had once walked well with God. Long before he had ventured into the southern hills of Canaan which is called the Negev, he had lived for a time in Bethel. And when he had lived there, he had worshipped God. There he had built an altar to God. There he had experienced the giving of the promise, he had known the fullness of the spirit and had enjoyed living in righteousness. That was Abram’s landmark.
That’s what we need to do when we find ourselves in sin, we need to RETRACE OUR STEPS. Get out of the area, There’s no use staying there. If Abram had stayed in Egypt they might have killed him, but they escorted him out instead. If you choose to ignore your surroundings and to stay where you are tempted to sin, you might well fall again. You have to leave the area; retrace your steps and return to the point of previous victory.