Because of how religion infiltrates the Church, so few have a doctrine of failure. The one very big problem with this is that we all will fail! Most are emphasizing a one-time fix, meaning that better understanding or some conference will free a person from all future conflict. It is not so with us. Our system not only allows for failure but plans for it. Do any believe that the early Church did not have failures? The Epistles were written because Christians were failing, not getting it, and, most importantly, had moved away from their focus on Jesus. Without their failures we would not have those books. We have all learned through their failures, but also, if they learned through theirs, is it not true that we will learn from ours? Paul used the occurrence of believers’ going to temple prostitutes to explain the principle of oneness. He did not tell them they were hopeless; he told them to stop and explained why they should not be doing it. Peter was a tremendous failure after being taught by Jesus for three-and-a-half years. From his example, what do we learn about soul strength in our attempts to serve God? What did he learn? If we are prepared for failure, when it comes (and it will), we will not have to enter into condemnation or unbelief and become a Galatian.
The flesh does not change, which really is a beautiful thing, because if we do not want to walk with Jesus, we will be the same mess we were before . . . well, actually worse, because with Adam’s life within us, wearing sin was natural, but with Christ’s life within, wearing sin is very abnormal and miserable. The hardest thing to get across is that we are not improving, but only abiding longer. I knew a man in a mental institution who came to see Christ as his life, and as Christ flowed from him, people could see Jesus. However, he believed in a one-time fix, so when he was not abiding he still acted very psychotic, only it was more of an “acceptable” Christian psychosis. Well, amen.
An elephant can live 65 to 100 years, and if it achieves natural death, it dies of starvation. It has six sets of teeth; as one wears out, the next set comes in, and so on until it has no teeth, can no longer eat, and dies. Like the elephant, so to speak, we have many sets of spiritual teeth for eating at different stages of our life: teeth for the milk of the early things and teeth for the later things. Until the day we leave this body there will always be something on which to chew, and if we chew long enough we need a new set of teeth. We have chewed long enough on heaven vs. hell. It is time to chew on the fact that Christ is in us. As by choice we invite Him to live through us, He will today, but for today only. This is not to say He is coming and going, but that we must choose to relate to Him in a certain way. If we do not invite Him today to live His life through us, we will discover the hard way that we have not changed, and God will use the ensuing failure to bring the point home.