February 15, 2023
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It was the final event of the men's gymnastics competition in the 2004 Athens Olympics. American Paul Hamm's hopes for the gold medal seemed to come crashing down. He made a lopsided landing and actually toppled into the judges' tables. That gave him a disappointing 9.137 score that virtually doomed his chances for a first place finish. After some moments of what he described as "depression," he decided to fight back with what would have to be the best two performances of his life, just to win the bronze.
So, Paul took a deep breath and he began to move powerfully through the air with a routine that was filled with technical challenges. It was a nearly perfect performance with a solid landing at the end. His score: 9.837. At first, he didn't know what that meant in terms of a medal. Then he heard his coach screaming, "Olympic champion!" The gold medal was his.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Messed Up But Getting Up."
Paul Hamm messed up, but he didn't give up. He fell down, but he didn't stay down. Maybe that's a picture of you, or it's going to be a picture of you because you've messed up. You've made some mistakes. That failure could be final if you let it be. Or you can get up and you can make a defiant comeback. Which is exactly what the devil is counting on you not doing. He got you down. He's hoping you'll be discouraged, defeated, shamed. You'll stay down. Well, this is your day to say, "No way, Satan! I belong to Jesus, and in His strength, I am coming back!"
That kind of comeback defiance is powerfully expressed in our word for today from the Word of God in Micah 7, beginning with verse 8. "Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light." Getting up again, coming back - that's a choice, and it's one you need to make this very day. Serve notice that the devil's victory is a temporary victory, and you're not staying down.
Micah goes on to say, "Because I have sinned against you, I will bear the Lord's wrath, until he pleads my case and establishes my right." You can't recover unless you repent. The comeback trail really begins at the cross of Jesus where you acknowledge your sin and you remember that it took the death of God's Son to pay for it. How will He respond? Hebrews 7:25 says, "He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them." He pleads your case, and your sin is erased from God's Book. After a horrendous sin of immorality, here was David's turning point. He said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord...and You forgave me the guilt of my sin." Out of the darkness; back into the light.
Micah's announcement of a spiritual comeback continues: "He will bring me out into the light; I will see His righteousness. Then my enemy will see it and will be covered with shame." I love this! The devil's been trying to bury you in shame. You need to get up; remove whatever junk might bring you down again, and then declare, "Lord, I am going to make the devil sorry he ever messed with me. I'm going to push back the darkness. I'm going to take prisoners away from him! He's going to be the one who ends up covered with shame!"
You can be walking, talking proof of the grace, the love, and the restoring power of Jesus Christ; turning your fall into a mighty testimony for Jesus. That voice that's telling you, "It's over. What's the use? God doesn't love you after what you've done." That's the voice of hell. Those are lies! The truth is that according to the Bible, "where sin increased, grace increased all the more" (Romans 5:20).
And because of God's amazing grace, your fall doesn't have to be final. You went down. Yes, but you're not staying down. You're going to come back more of a winner, and more of a warrior than ever before!