After we have sinned, we begin the process of trying to come back to God; unfortunately, on that road there are roadblocks that hinder us from that return. I sometimes imagine what the prodigal son must have faced as he journeyed back home to his father. No doubt, some of these roadblocks were in his path as well. Here are some things we must carefully avoid on our way back to God.
1. Stop thinking that you must be like you used to be. How did that work out for you? Forget what you were in the past and press towards the mark of what you are supposed to be in the future.
2. Don’t think that success equals restoration. One of the things that causes people to fall is, the belief that achievement is what pleases God. No, doing right pleases God and He brings about achievement. When achievement is in our own power we are more likely to fall.
3. Stop thinking that you need to be perfect. It was the desire to appear perfect that caused you to fall. Had your transparency revealed your sinfulness, perhaps you would not have made those mistakes and committed those sins. God is doing the perfecting, not looking for perfection.
4. Stop judging yourself. The worst thing that you can do is to try to forgive yourself or punish yourself. Don’t be your own judge. Move forward and accept the forgiveness that you have in Christ.
5. Stop looking for approval. This is tough. When someone is trying to return from a fall, they are hungering for someone to say that they are okay. A lot of times, it was your need for approval that led to your fall. Remember you are accepted in the Beloved. Let that be enough.
6. Stop thinking that your restoration depends on how others think of you. You are not what people think you are, at your best or at your worst. You are what Christ says you are. Live with that in mind.
7. Stop thinking that your achievements will be a measure of your return. If achievement drove you before your fall, it will begin to drive you after your return. You will not feel that you are complete until you have began to achieve. Do not live in that mode. Let God bring about the results in your life.
8. Stop fearing the future by rehashing the past. A lot of times, we are afraid to move forward because we’re scared we will repeat the same sins. You will, if you dwell on it. Move forward and run the race that is before you.
9. Stop obsessing over your consequences. Live outside of your consequences and let God use those consequences to perfect you for His glory.
10. Stop thinking that your fall made you a failure. Some of the greatest successes in the Bible were people who fell. Do not assign yourself the title of failure, merely because you had a fall.
11. Stop thinking about what you can’t change. Many people are paralyzed by the circumstances that they are under because of their sins. Get past that. Stop dwelling on that which is out of your control.
12. Stop holding onto resentment. People have hurt you since you fell. There’s no doubt about it. I have yet to meet someone who did not experience deep hurt by people who mistreated them after they fell. Get over it. Don’t let it eat you up on the inside. Forgive them and move on.
13. Stop thinking you are weak, because you need help. The Bible often speaks of our need for each other in the Christian life. You needed others before you fell, and you need them after you fell. Perhaps, if you would’ve leaned on people before you fell, you wouldn’t be in this position now. Get help!
14. Stop putting a timetable on your return. God may allow you to walk in the wilderness for a season in order to perfect you for Hs work. The prevailing problem of most people who fall is they either refuse to come back or they try to rush their return. Let God work the timetable out according to His plan.
15. Stop thinking that you have to control your return. It is a mistake when we think it is up to us. Many times when strong people fail, they feel that they have to be the one that is strong enough to bring themselves back. Let go and let God.
16. Stop believing that your past was your only opportunity. God has plenty of opportunities for those are willing to submit to him. What you lost will be replaced by something that God has already planned for you.
17. Stop thinking that you’re doomed to suffer for your sins forever. It’s not true. Satan is lying to you. The joys that God has ahead for you are many. Stop believing the lie that you have doomed yourself to misery. It’s just not true.
18. Stop worrying about what others think. This is critically important to a person who has fallen. I don’t care what people think because there’s nothing I can do about it. When I concern myself with what people think then I listen to what people think and I become discouraged.
You are on the road back, but there are roadblocks that you must be careful to avoid. I trust that you will be careful and pay close attention to these warnings as you make your way back to your father.