Doctors don’t come ringing our doorbell to treat us. We have to go to them if we are not feeling well. The same goes for all of our challenges. We cannot hope for help if we do not ask for it.
The first step in getting help is realizing that we need it. We often judge others for what they do wrong, but it’s good to take the time to examine yourself. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5 NIV).
Sometimes we are so busy with our social activities or our entertainment that we don’t realize that we are on a downward spiral. We’re having fun watching this new series on our streaming platform, and we don’t realize our inner man is starving. “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17 NIV). Until we recognize that we are hungry, we will not go and feed ourselves.
When do we start to realize that something is wrong? When we’re stuck in a dark cloud. Our negative emotions, and even worry, can help us identify greater discomfort. If our thoughts are overrun with sexual desires and we start to feed them by turning to pornography or masturbation, this should send us a clear signal that our spirit is drowning, and that we need to cry out “Help”. If what we read in the Word of God no longer produces any fruit, does not inspire us to grow spiritually, it is because the soil of our hearts needs to be watered.
Once we realize our need for help, we must first turn to God. Our flesh prefers to hide, as Adam and Eve did after sinning in the Garden of Eden. But instead, God wants to have an open relationship with us, where we can confess our sins to Him and ask for His help. Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool”(Isaiah 1:18 NIV). We can speak to Him and listen to His response by reading our Bible or Christian books that address the subject of our suffering.
But sometimes we won’t be able to get out of our quagmire on our own. The Christian life was never planned as a solitary walk. Even Jesus was surrounded by twelve apostles. We need each other. And for that, you don’t need to have a “pastor” friend! We are all called to edify each other, to support each other, to forgive each other. We should even have Christian friends to whom we will be accountable for our souls. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16 NIV). Imagine … you phone your Christian friend and ask him how he is doing, and then you ask him what sin he has committed this week, and then you confess yours to him. Strange? Well, it shouldn’t be. It is even a step in the right direction to become more mature in Christ.
The enemy’s preferred terrain is secrecy. In a time of pandemic, where we are forced to be home alone, we can easily cool down in our faith and turn to soul-destroying habits. After all, no one sees us. But let’s not take this avenue. Rather, let’s protect our faith and even grow in maturity by keeping in touch, and even being accountable, to a few close Christian friends.