Monday, April 23, 2018

Get Back Up!

In the Christian life there are times where we each fall and go back to our sin… This weird thing we hate and yet pursue (see Rom 7:1-20). The question that many ask themselves in those times though is, "What do I do after I've sinned yet again?" From my own life and that of others I've talked with it often seems our first instinct and common tendency is that of "wallowing" for lack of a better term. We tend to have this self pity-party consisting of faux-sorrow and leading to statements like, "I can't believe I did that again," or "how could God still love me and forgive me again for this," or other such things. What I've come to recognize is this reaction is in itself sin. It's my pride that I failed again. It's my pride thinking I ever could meet God's perfect and holy standard on my own. It's my pride thinking I had actually been acting good enough in such a way as to have earned God's forgiveness and love. I have failed to believe and return to the gospel… the only hope for a sinner like you and me.

Proverbs 24:16 sates, "
For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of calamity." I'm called to get back up, to rise again. However, instead of embracing this truth I often reject the righteousness offered to me that allows and calls me to get back up. God is clear in Rom 8:33, "Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies." The righteousness I need has been given and it is from God, not my actions. Yet, for some reason I tend toward a heart of pride that would still want to reject God's righteousness and instead wallow in a lack of my own. How foolish is this though. It is not as if God is surprised by my wayward heart and sin. 1 John 1:8 states, "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us." To think any differently than that I might sin again is simply wrong, but the passage goes on to God's solution for these still unsubmitted actions in v.9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Rather than staying down with my face and proud heart firmly planted in the mud of my sin, I am instead called to look up once again to the cross at Calvary where my Savior died for me and recognize by His work I am still saved, loved, and free to live for Him and not for me. I must remind myself of the truth that the Christian life is not about being perfect. It is about growth in the pursuit of perfection. I must get back up! I must bring my sin to the cross, repent of it confessing and turning away AND THEN I must remind myself of the grace that is present for me, the Holy Spirit Who lives within me, and the empowering hope that I am not enslaved, I AM FREE. "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36)! I must rise once again!

I should not be surprised by this hard work either. Over and over the Scripture talks about living this life for Christ and against sin as a battle (Ephesians 6:11-18, 2 Tim 2:3-5, 4:7). I must remember that the war is already won. "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith." (1 John 5:4) and "but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57). These present battles are chances for me to reflect what has already been done through Christ for me. Therefore, I must rise again! The King has conquered! I want to reflect His glory and this truth in both the times I choose to pursue Him over sin and the times I fall and fail by getting back up! I must look to Christ.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin (Hebrews 12:1-4).

Get back up! For the glory of the King and by the power of the King, RISE! He has risen from the grave (Mat 28:6). Your victory is won (John 16:33). You stand perfect before God (Col 1:22). You have been raised with Him to walk in newness of life (Rom 6:4). Rise once again dear brother and sister! Take hold of the promises that are yours in Christ! May we press on, living for the King and in His power. In our greatest successes and in spite of our darkest failures may we continually look to Him and get back up!

As a note of encouragement, I have always found this song by Shane & Shane extremely encouraging in the dark times of despair over sin…

Phil Smith

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