Monday, August 6, 2001
I'm about 5'8". You probably know that because I sound about that tall, right? Years ago, I was carrying 210 pounds on this little 68" body. Goodyear actually offered me a job as their blimp. But thankfully, I have weighed about 45 to 50 pounds less than that for a lot of years. Of course, I've still got the same metabolism that inflated this body many years ago. So, ohhh, do I know about dieting! And I also know the point at which your diet is in the greatest danger. OK, you've really been good...the scale has been giving you good news the last couple of weeks...your diet discipline is holding. Then somebody offers you something that you just can't resist--let's say, a few french fries. You consume them in one bite. So, you buy a whole order of fries for yourself. And now you feel bad. You have blown your diet. You could just get back on track right then. But no--you say to yourself, "I blew it! I've failed! Oh well, what's the use? I might as well have a milk shake to wash down those fries. Hey, and anybody got the number of Pizza Heaven?" Yeah, you messed up. So you give up--and soon return to your former roundness.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A WORD WITH YOU today about "Bouncing Back When You Blow It."
Now, it's a shame when one or two failures make you give up on your diet. Or, more importantly, on living like Jesus wants you to live.
Maybe it's a pattern you know all too well. Like a dieter, you've made up your mind to change--to do things Jesus' way. You're living right, you're doing well. But one day you mess up and fall back into something the old you would do. And you feel ashamed. Now right here is the point--in dieting or being a disciple--that will determine whether or not this is a brief detour or a huge defeat. What will you do when you've blown it? Now, you can clean up or give up. And, believe me, Satan is gonna be right there whispering, "What's the use? You tried this Christian thing, and look at you! You're a spiritual lose. You'll never make it. This is too hard for you. Give it up, man."
Now, Jesus said Satan is capable only of telling lies--and this is no exception. But he wants to take one defeat and turn it into many defeats...to use this one detour to get you to turn back completely. And maybe you have. Well, it's time for the truth. Our word for today from the Word of God, Proverbs 24:16, "Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again." Notice it doesn't say, "a righteous man never falls." It says that when he falls, he gets right back up and starts walking again! See, that's God's intention for you when you've messed up.
That's why He invites us in 1 John 1:9 to "confess our sins" because "He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." It's not Jesus standing there, condemning you for falling. God says, "there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1) No, that's your enemy trying to pull you into a cycle of defeat. Live right...then mess up...then feel ashamed...then you give up...then you mess up a lot more...and then you crash spiritually. That's the cycle of defeat. But Jesus is saying, "One failure is one failure. And the only people who never fell down are people who aren't trying to walk. Bring that sin to My Cross. Let me clean you up. Tomorrow's a new day!"
So when you mess up spiritually, it's either the cross or a crash. Bring that sin straight to Jesus' cross, and you can get up and keep going. Believe the "what's the use?" lie, and you'll crash. Because of Jesus, no failure is final. If you've fallen, you can get up, in the forgiveness and power of your Savior.
Now take it from a veteran dieter--it's a terrible mistake to give up just because you mess up. Today's failure doesn't have to sink you tomorrow. You have a Savior who makes each new day a brand new beginning.