This week I have revisited some “confessions of a missionary” that emphasized areas of my life that needed lots of work spiritually. Thankfully the Lord gives the grace and strength to arise when we have fallen, but we must have the tenacity to try again through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The successful Christian life isn’t about never falling (because we always will)….
It’s about how many times you get up after you fall.
The thing about spiritual growth is it’s incredibly hard work, that takes lots of self-discipline. Some would say this is sinful because we are under grace instead of works in Christ. However even under grace there is a responsibility on our part.
Last week I shared a devotional that explained God gives illustrations of obedience being God’s Wil for the Christian life.
- We are called by God to become “doer’s of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22)
- Christ illustrated this with the parable of the wise men where he says “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock” (Matthew 7:24) (emphasis added)
- And finally James states very clearly “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
Yes this obedience is done in the power of the Holy Spirit instead of our own strength. But that doesn’t change the fact that we are called to obedience
To put this in simple terms, there is a greater blessing from God to those who faithfully obey. Our Salvation has nothing to do with obedience (obviously), but our closeness to God has everything to do with obedience!
The application of that truth is this
Our obedience doesn’t have to be perfect……
but it does have to be consistent.
What keeps us down when we fall is a belief that everything has to be done perfectly without any weakness. As human beings with sin-natures we cannot accomplish this, so we eventually just throw up our hands and give up. But perfection isn’t the goal, faithfulness is! God gets greater glory from that child who keeps getting up spiritually than the one who tries to be perfect.
Most of us had the same experience riding a bike
We were incredibly scared so our parent (usually dad) ran behind us holding onto the bike so it we couldn’t fall. Of course they eventually DO let go (without telling us) and we coast along on our own. But immediately after realizing they have let go, we fall! The parent will give some tender attention to us, and then say “now get back on the bike.”
Because that’s how you learn how to ride a bike, getting back on!
Riding a bike is a process, just ask any child who is learning to do it. They are covered with bruises, scrapes, and cuts from falling down. But they keep getting back on!
Because the joy of riding is stronger than the pain of falling.
We all fall friends and sometimes hear a voice saying “stay down!”
Please don’t listen to it. Get up, dust yourself off, and get back on the bike.
The joy is worth the pain.