Craig Groeschel talks about the idea that if you take the credit when things go bad, you’ll try to take the credit when things go good. His context is about church growth, but I think the underlying truth is still relevant in our lives when we look at our righteousness/self-righteousness and the idea of failure. Guess what…
WE ALL FAIL!
Just saying that doesn’t give us the right to run off and do whatever we want to do. I believe the Bible commands us to be wise, avoid temptation, don’t sin, and honor God…but in our human-ness we’ll drop the ball. Sometimes it will be “small” things, and unfortunately sometimes it’s really, really “BIG” things. The truth of the matter is, there is no degree to sin, only degrees to consequences. So stealing a pack of gum is the same as having an affair, as it relates to sin. But stealing the gum might get a fine. Being unfaithful probably costs you your family. Big difference.
Recently I heard this same idea expressed by 2 guys that I get a lot of inspiration from: my Pastor, Mark Walker, and Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church in Charlotte. Here’s what they had to say.
You sin and think there needs to be a grace period before you can pray for forgiveness. You completely blow it and think there’s no way God can use you again. Your days are done. Your destiny disqualified. Might as well sit around and sulk in your self-condemnation.
This really comes down to one thing: you still don’t understand grace.
We often think the grace of God is just a commodity to get us to the point of salvation. But we don’t understand that the same grace that brought us to the point of salvation is also with us in our daily lives. The same power that raised you from the grave of your sin is the same power that raises you from the mistakes of your everyday life.
Proverbs 24:16 says, “The righteous man falls down seven times, but seven times, he rises again.”
That’s not what comes to our minds when most of us think of a righteous person. We think they’re someone who never or rarely falls. But that’s because our idea of righteousness is rooted in self-righteousness. The real righteous person is the one who has been made righteous by Jesus and then can let Jesus pick him back up when up when he falls.
There’s a big difference between falling down (Peter) and falling away (Judas). Grace means God’s got your back. Like Peter, your failure is not final.
I feel the need to conclude by saying pursue righteousness. Don’t bail out to laziness and complacency because of the fallenness of man. Set the trend. Live a life of holiness. Set an example for your spouse, kids, friends and co-workers by your deeds of honesty, integrity and purity. But when you fail. Know this:
Your failure is not final! Don’t let it define you. God knew you would fail just like Jesus knew His disciples would…and He loved you first…and He loves you still. Get up. Meet Him in Galilee. His grace is enough. He’s not through with you yet!