Finally! It’s finally time to stop talking about LIVING in the pit. It is now time to start packing up our bags and talking about LEAVING the pit. Today I want to answer the question that I’ve heard repeatedly since I started these posts earlier this week…HOW DO I GET OUT OF THE PIT?
First, the game plan. The path to escaping your pit begins with a DECISION and is then followed by a PROCESS. A decision, then a process. The decision is something you can do today – you say I WANT TO GET OUT OF HERE. That is the first thing that the Prodigal Son did. He came to himself and said “I don’t belong in here. I am choosing to do whatever it takes to get back to my father’s table.”
But the decision was only step one. The decision alone was not enough to restore him back to his father’s table – he still had to get up, walk back to the house, ask for forgiveness and consent to his father’s will. Same with you too. You can make a decision today but unless you follow up that decision with some effort, you’re unlikely to find success.
Getting out of the pit is a DECISION followed by a PROCESS. The decision is “I don’t belong here and I will no longer accept life in the pit. I was made to live in a palace, not a pit – not because I am good but because God is my Father.” Romans 8:16-17 says “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.”
That’s the decision. But now we need a plan. We need to follow a process that may take time, but will yield results. We don’t need quick fixes or gimmicks or self-help. We don’t need “feel good” sermons [Don’t worry about your pit…everything is just fine] but we also don’t need “feel bad” sermons [You’re still in a pit? What’s wrong with you? Just get out!]. We need a plan that works.
Thankfully the Bible gives us that plan. If you study the life of many Biblical characters, you’ll find that they all went through three similar steps in escaping their pit. This applies to David, Moses, Elijah and a host of others who fell into the pit and found a way out.
Step One: CRY OUT. I don’t know too many things for sure, but one of the things that I do know for sure and I can say without a shadow of a doubt is this: God hears the cries of His children. ALWAYS! No loving parent can bear to hear their child cry and ignore it. And apparently God is no different.
“For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help.” Psalm 72:2
“Yet he took note of their distress when he heard their cry; for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented.” Psalm 106:44-45
“The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble…he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.” Psalm 9:9, 12
What does it mean to cry out to God? Well, if you’re unemotional like me, then you’ll be happy to know that crying out actually has nothing to do with tears. Tears are great, but crying out to God is much more than tears. Often tears fall because of the pain of the consequences of our decisions. We aren’t crying out to God; we are crying to God about what just happened. There’s a big difference.
Crying out to God implies something much deeper – something from the depth of the soul. It could be crying out to God in joy and excitement and enthusiasm. Or it could be crying out to God in pain and anguish and despair. Crying out just means going deep inside my soul and calling out to God from that place.
When was the last time you cried out to God? I am not asking when was the last time you prayed. I am saying when was the last time you really cried out to God from the depth of your heart – expressing whatever emotion or feeling is in there?
That takes us to step two in the escape process…CONFESS.
When you hear the word confess, usually we think in terms of “confessing a sin.” That is good, but the kind of confession I am speaking about is much broader. I am speaking about baring your soul before God – opening up your heart and being real with God. No fancy words or spiritual sounding phrases. King David says:
“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Psalm 145:18.
What does it mean to call in God in truth? It means if you’re angry at God, tell Him you’re angry. If you’re frustrated, tell Him you’re frustrated. If you think God made a mistake and is ruining your life, tell Him that too. I know that sounds blasphemous but it isn’t… it’s honest. It’s real. And if that’s how you’re feeling, I’ll bet that your Heavenly Father would rather you talk to Him about it as opposed to keep it inside.
As a parent, if I know that my child is upset at me or frustrated with anything [including me], I would much rather have him come to me and speak to me about it. Wouldn’t you? Or would you prefer that despite how he’s really feeling, he stands up and greets you when you walk in the door and say “O thou who art the patriarch of our family. I greet thee and honor thee and bow before thee.”
Is that what you want from your kid? I certainly don’t! I want honesty. I want truth. I teach my kids that if you’re upset at me, come and tell me. That’s the only way I’ll ever know. And maybe if you come and tell me I will be able to explain it to you so you’re no longer upset. I don’t know what the outcome will be if you come talk to me, but I know what the outcome will be if you don’t….DISTANCE.
Not being open/honest with God leads to distance in the relationship – just as it will in any relationship. When there is something inside you that you won’t share with God – such as frustration or disappointment or anger or whatever – you are putting distance between you and the One who loves you dearly and desires to release you from the bondage of the pit.
Step one – CRY OUT.
Step two – CONFESS.
Step three – CONSENT.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Consenting means saying YES to God and whatever it is that He commands you to do – regardless of what it is. Remember, God is the Only One who can free you from the pit. You can’t do it yourself. If you could you would – but you can’t so you won’t. You’ve tried to get yourself out and now it is time to allow God to do it His way.
What is His way? I can’t tell you exactly what His way is but I’ll you this about His way…IT ISN’T LIKE YOUR WAY.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
I don’t know what God will ask you to do to get out of your pit. He may ask you to leave a relationship. He may ask you to apologize. He may ask you to forgive. He may ask you to change some habits. I don’t know. But I do know this: HIS WAY IS BETTER THAN YOUR WAY.
Can you accept that? Can you not just accept it mentally but really internalize that concept – that God’s way is better than my way?
If not, you might want to hold off on packing up those bags; your time in the pit might not be done. I’ve discovered that any area of life where I am NOT consenting to God’s will – whether relational, financial, emotional, spiritual, or whatever –is an area where I am almost guaranteed to end up in a pit. Any area where you don’t consent to God’s way is an area where you’ll be in a pit.
Cry out. Confess. Consent.
I don’t know anything about you or your life, but I do know this. You weren’t meant to live in a pit. The time to get out is right now. Why stay any longer? It’s time to get out and start living where the air is fresh and the sky is clear. No more pit for you. Cry out to God today. Confess and bare your soul before God today. And consent to His plan today.
If you are willing to do those three things, then let me be the first to congratulate you. Congratulations – you are on your way out of the pit.
Discussion: Can you offer any tips about these three steps and how they’ve helped you escape your pit?