I missed my time in the Bible . . . again. I may as well give up.
I blew my diet today. I should wait until life is less hectic to start up again.
I lost my temper with my pesky neighbor again. Maybe I should just avoid her instead of trying to be nice.
We’ve all had experiences like these. We set goals. We have good intentions. But invariable we drop the ball, and then we wonder if the effort is even worth it. We let an off day derail our endeavors.
I love what Christina Rossetti said: “A fall is a signal not to lie wallowing, but to rise.”
Or, as Proverbs 21:16 puts it: “The righteous falls seven times and rises again.”
How can we rise again? First we assess what caused the fall.
Did we willfully choose our own way instead of God’s? Some of God’s greatest servants had some of the most spectacular falls. David, a “man after God’s own heart,” committed adultery and then had the woman’s husband put in the line of fire in battle so he would be killed. His heart-wrenching confession and plea for God’s mercy and forgiveness can be found in Psalm 51. Peter, the main spokesman for the disciples, denied he even knew Jesus when the pressure was on. Then “he went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62). Both men were restored to fellowship. Does that mean they “got away with” their sin? No. John wrote:
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1).
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)
Jesus took on all our sin and punishment so we could be forgiven. True faith and repentance doesn’t say, “Great! Now I can do whatever I want with no consequences!” A true believer will be grieved over his sin and what it cost while still being grateful for God’s forgiveness.
We’re saved in a moment, but we spend the rest of our lives growing more like Christ. Just as a baby trips and falls while learning to walk, we’ll have our share of missteps. We can learn from them and move on. “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
Lack of prayer
When Jesus went to Gethsemane to pray, He told His disciples, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” But when he came back to them, they were sleeping (Luke 22:39-46).
Set-up for failure
I’ve learned that it’s easier to say “no” to problem foods at the store rather than at home. Recently while shopping I wanted a “treat”—and came home a couple of bags of candy and a couple of dessert mixes. And then I figuratively kicked myself. Romans 13:14 says, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” I had just made plenty of provision for my flesh. Thankfully, God helped me realize it and ration out the goodies. But we sabotage ourselves in other areas as well: We want to get up early, but then we stay up late on social media or Netflix. We want to read the Bible, but we wait for a time that never opens up instead of making time.
Goals too big or vague
Saying “I need to eat healthier” or “I need to be less selfish” are generalities that are hard to put into practice. I need to look at my specific habits to see needs to change. Likewise, a goal set on January 1 will need some checking through the year. In one book I read, the author set quarterly goals and took time to review them. We may need weekly or even daily goals.
Relying on our own strength
Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).
Not knowing or using God’s Word
In Matthew 4, every time Satan tempted Jesus, Jesus countered with the Word of God. Satan uses Scripture, too, but he misapplies or twists it. Romans 12:1-2 tells us to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Psalm 103:13-14 reminds us: “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” Barb Raveling says in The Renewing of the Mind Project:.
[God] sees things right now in your life that He’d like to change. Not because He’s a demanding perfectionist who’s disgusted with you. But because He’s a loving Father who cares about you and also about the people you interact with each day. So as you look at your weaknesses, look at them from the comfort and safety of your Father’s arms. knowing that He’s looking at them with you, but through eyes of grace and love and a desire to help (p. 8).
He wants to help us:
Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted (Hebrews 2:17-18).
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).
So next time we fall or fail, let’s not wallow. Let’s not stay down. Let’s confess to God our sin and need of Him and seek His grace to stand back up and keep going. His mercies are new every morning. He “equip[s] you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ” (Hebrews 13:20-21). He “has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him” and “has granted to us his precious and very great promises” (2 Peter 1:3-4). Let’s look unto Jesus, and as we behold Him, we’ll become more like Him.
Rejoice not over me, O my enemy;
when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be a light to me.
(Sharing with Inspire Me Monday, Global Blogging, Senior Salon, Hearth and Home, Literary Musing Monday, Purposeful Faith, Happy Now, Tell His Story, InstaEncouragement, Recharge Wednesday, Worth Beyond Rubies,
Anchored Abode, Share a Link Wednesday, Let’s Have Coffee,
Heart Encouragement, Grace and Truth, Blogger Voices Network)
LOVED this, Barbara! What good encouragement for all of us who have fallen at one time or another. As a former science teacher, I have to point out this is consistent with the scientific method – assessing what went wrong after a setback. As a Christian, I love the emphasis on God’s redemptive power. 🙂
Thank you, Laurie. It’s funny how we know instinctively in some areas than when we mess up, we get back up again–but in other areas we give up. God’s grace is so good.
Such great encouragement here to not stay down when we fall down. And we will all fall down at different points in different areas. But God doesn’t want us to stay there and will always help us back up.
This is great encouragement, Barbara! We all fall at times and it is reassuring to remember that God doesn’t give up on us but that he is waiting to help us up and get us back on track.
Thank you, Lesley! It’s sad we give up long before He does. May we keep looking to Him.
The Rossetti quote is new to me, and I just love it! Thanks for tying it in with Scripture. I appreciate your encouragement today.
I loved it, too, when I first saw it–it just hits the nail on the head. We’re so prone to “wallow,” especially in some areas.May we keep looking to God’s grace.
This is sooooo true! I enjoyed reading and totally relate! #Senisal
Thanks so much, Kim!
So encouraging. I know I’m trying to know and use God’s word more and more. laurensparks.net
Thank you, Lauren. That’s such a great need.
What great words of encouragement to read this am. I especially enjoyed the part about God is never disappointed in us, He just loves us too much to leave us the way He found us. As many times as we fall, He is there to pick us back up again. Apart from Him we can do nothing. Awesome post!
Thank you, Bev. I marvel at His grace and patience.
Barbara, you shared so much good information in this post! I’ve definitely fallen, and I love your thoughts to evaluate WHY we fall. I loved what you said here:
“Let’s not stay down. Let’s confess to God our sin and need of Him and seek His grace to stand back up and keep going.”
Thanks for sharing such a great perspective!
Thanks so much, Jeanne.
A very encouraging post, Barbara! The enemy sure was working on me smack dab in the middle of the night around 2:00am. He was trying to lay that blanket of shame on me and I knew I had to cry out to Jesus. I knew He would rescue me out of that weighted blanket and He did! Your post further encouraged me that just because I had an epic fail moment yesterday, His grace is greater!
Thanks so much, April. The devil sure likes to kick us when we’re down. May we always look to God’s grace.
Oh, Christina Rossetti, you are my hero!
Thanks, Barbara, for inspiration. I had been tracking food, water, etc. until just recently when I needed to let something go to fight overwhelm, but I’m leaving this post reassured that this is not a crash and burn, but a pressing of pause, and I WILL get back on track soon.
Thanks, Michele. I haven’t read a lot of Rossetti, but what I have read is so spot on.
Oh, I loved this! Such good encouragement to rely on God and keep going! Thank you! Loved the quotes and scriptures, too!
Thank you, Carlie!
So thankful that each new day is a day of grace that affords me the opportunity to rise! Great post!
Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!
Amen, Patsy–so thankful for His grace.
I love how He offers His hand to help us up every time we fall. His strength helps us overcome every weakness and His grace is sufficient. It helps to remember that when I look at my own flesh wanting to throw a temper tantrum. Thanks for these verses of truth!
My host post for next week covers a similar topic. I have had to rethink my goals for the year due to health, work and family providing the opportunity to change my plans: I haven’t failed, I have adapted and will rise in a different way. Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging
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Love this post, Barbara! I’m featuring it Friday for the Grace and Truth Link Up on Candidly Christian.
Thanks so much, Heather!
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Great post and very constructive! Here following the link from Lisa Notes.
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So moving! I just loved this kind of encouragement and message to rely on God and no matter what just keep keep going! Thank you for the inspiration.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting!