One Word . . . Failure
The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.
Proverbs 24:16 NLT
I loved watching Chevy Chase “tripping and falling” during his comedic routines. It was the surprise, timing and pseudo-clumsiness that made it funny. Candidly, we all have experienced an untimely and embarrassing fall that has caused a chuckle or two.
Falling down gives us an opportunity to get back up.
Solomon tells us, “for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again . . .” (Prov 24:16 NIV) We are often knocked down . . . but, not knocked out.
The author of proverbial wisdom identifies “getting back up” as a noble and righteous trait. It’s a reflection of the resurrection. Jesus was felled by death, yet He did not surrender . . . He did not stay defeated . . . He arose and appropriated the power of the resurrection to those who have surrendered to Him. Paul made his desire clear, “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings . . .” (Phil 3:10 NIV)
Perseverance. Winston Churchill says, “Success is going from one failure to the next without loss of enthusiasm.” There is a revealing sense of righteousness hidden within resilience. As Joshua begins to lead the nation of Israel out of wilderness and into promise, God encourages him to persevere, “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Josh 1:9 NLT). At the end of their conquest, Joshua states “Not a single one of all the good promises the LORD had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything he had spoken came true.” (Josh 21:45 NLT) God’s presence provides us with perseverance.
Perspective. I need to state the obvious . . . everyone falls at some point? Paul reminds the Christ-followers in Corinth, “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Cor 10:12-13 NLT) Many find it necessary to remind others when they fall and yet forget their own. Words of criticism can weigh us down. However, those who taunt us can not triumph over us. The prophet Micah writes, “Do not gloat over me, my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.” (Micah 7:8 NLT) God is not discouraged by our failures, He delights in our getting up. Look around . . . get a true perspective. We’re not alone or abandoned. God is faithful.
Promise. John records the words of Jesus as He explains the intent of the enemy, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My [promised purpose] is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (John 10:10 NLT) It may seem like everything is falling apart . . . but, God . . . your God is faithful. The psalmist reminds us, “My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.” (Ps 73:26 NLT).
He will be with us, He will guide us and He will never leave us.
I recently viewed a video that followed the training of young winter athletes. In their early years of training, they repeatedly fell . . . and they fell a lot . . . but they always got back up. At the end of the video, the athletes delivered near perfect performances in world-class competition. The tagline at the end of the video read, “Falling down is a struggle. Getting up makes us stronger.”
In their book, “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win”, Jocko Willink and Leif Bagin, write, “Every leader and every team at some point or time will fail and must confront that failure.”
If you’re struggling, it’s time to get stronger. Don’t stay down . . . you’re not defeated . . . you’re not done . . . you’re finding today’s defining moment. It’s time to get back up . . . you have the ability and you are not alone.
It will take perseverance.
You will need to change your perspective.
And, the Lord, your God will be with you . . . He promises.