Have you ever done anything stupid? That’s a rhetorical question. We’ve all had those moments where you look back and say, “What was I thinking?”
Let’s talk for a moment about getting past spiritually stupid — those moments or times in life when you acted like God wasn’t real, consequences didn’t matter and your way was better than God’s way. Our guide is David, a man after God’s own heart who had his share of those moments.
In 2 Samuel 24, we see David’s journey to get past his big mistake. What did he do? He counted the people. Now, God isn’t against counting. There’s a book in the Bible called Numbers, after all. What was wrong was what the counting represented. David was measuring to see just how awesome he was. A man who had relied on God for so long crossed a line and measured to see how much he could just rely on his own strength.
Just like David, we all have these types of stupid moments for two main reasons:
- Spiritual Attack: There was a spiritual war going on around him and around us. The enemy is after you, and he wants to sift you and separate you from God’s best for your life (1 Peter 5).
- Weakness: David had many weaknesses, but one of them was a need to be or feel validated. Satan will tempt you in your places of weakness too. He seeks to exploit the wounds of your soul and get you to move away from God’s favor and blessing for your life.
David realized his sin, and his response to it shows us how to respond to our own failures.
David Felt Convicted
His heart troubled him. The word troubled means “to strike or to smite repeatedly.” David is beating himself up over what he had done. He felt guilt and regret.
Conviction is a God thing and a good thing. John 16:8 tells us that it’s the Spirit who convicts the world of sin and righteousness and judgment. The Spirit convicts Christians of sin as well. The devil won’t convict you. He will condemn you, but he won’t convict you.
You can respond to your conviction in one of three ways:
- Ignore it: You can just keep on trucking and doing what you have always done. Your heart gets hard and calloused, and you can’t hear or feel God anymore (Hebrews 3:13).
- Regret it: You get paralyzed by guilt and shame and stuck in your past stupid moments.
- Obey it: You can repent and let it bring you back to God (2 Corinthians 7:10).
David Confessed His Sin
David doesn’t try to blame other people or look for excuses. He owns his mistake and confesses that he really missed the mark and was bad wrong. He admits that his heart is twisted, crooked and perverted.
When you have done something stupid and you experience conviction, confess it. Confess in the New Testament means “to say the same thing.” That is, you say the same thing about your sin that God says about your sin. When you do, God is faithful to forgive you (1 John 1:9).
David Returned to God
God gave David three choices: seven years of famine, three months of running or three days of pestilence. David let God choose, and the consequences of David’s sin were bad. Thousands of people died. The angel was about to destroy Jerusalem, and David saw him and prayed (2 Samuel 24:17).
God told the angel to stop, and then the angel told the seer named Gad to tell David to build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. So, guess what David did. He obeyed by building the altar, and he prayed for God to spare the nation.
We’ve all sinned and messed up royally. That’s what you did, but that’s not who you are! You are a child of God, a saint by calling, a servant of God.
Call it sin.
Call it forgiven.
Call it over.
Call on the Spirit to fill you with His truth.