The call was a reminder of a moment in time when I was less than godly! I felt the weight of failure settle on me. Regret and remorse came to visit me as well. “Why did you make that choice?” I asked myself. I refuse to live in shame, however. Our sins are fully forgiven when we confess them to our Savior. The Word tells us that there ” is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1, NIV) Are there consequences rippling my choices? Yes, there are. But there is no more guilt!
Christians need the message of radical forgiveness. Some insist that ‘too much grace’ leads to more sin. Exactly the opposite is true! Accepting God’s declaration of forgiveness, believing that He reconciles us fully to Himself, frees us to live nearer to His heart, where we find power to choose to be holy. Bob Carlisle sings a song called “We Fall Down.” (lyrics at the end) He describes a peasant who envies the monks who he imagines live above the temptations he experiences. He meets one of them outside of the monastery one day. The man tells him that monks are tempted and sometimes fall, too. The lyric repeats – “We fall down, we get up – and the saints are just the sinners who get up!”
We may look at someone and slip into the trap of imagined perfection – “Look at him. He is so much better than I am, he does not even struggle with sin any longer!” It is never true! There is no place and no one that has achieved sinless perfection this side of Heaven. A disciple who is growing in Christ will always deal with temptation, often severe, always deeply personal. For one it may be lust, for another greed, for another pride. As the Holy Spirit leads us along the Way, we do conquer temptations, but evil conspires to find another way to neutralize us. Subtle pride is just as much a sin as blatant lust! Apathy is not as obviously a sin as stealing, but it is a failure none the less. Temptation is ever present and the war continues – sometimes raging, sometimes just a skirmish! “We fall down, we get up – and the saints are just the sinners who get up!”
The Word reminds us that “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 Corinthians 10:13, NLT) Be very suspicious of the authenticity of anyone who claims they have found ‘the secret’ that allows them to live without any struggles with sin and/or temptation! Either they are self-deceived, lying, or they want to sell you something. The Word reminds us that “sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” (Genesis 4:7, NIV) How do we grow in holiness of heart, the beauty of Christ Jesus?
We defeat Self, Satan, and Systems of this World – not by our cleverness, nor by escape to some utopia – but by standing in the Truth of God’s amazing grace in the middle of the war! -We know His love is deeper than our sin We know that the Spirit is at work in us giving us the strength to stand. If we fall, we reach for Jesus’ hand and get up, learning and growing from our failure. “We fall down, we get up – and the saints are just the sinners who get up!”
Are you struggling with past failures and sins today, feeling ashamed, alone, inferior, broken?
Is some temptation dancing in your mind?
To hide it, to deny it, to try to defeat it all by yourself will lead only to failure.
Saints (that is what WE ARE when we belong to Christ) are not perfect. “We fall down, we get up – and the saints are just the sinners who get up!”
Stand in Christ! Here’s a word from the Word. It’s the Truth. Hold onto it today.
“That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives.
Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life.
Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time- (remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!) –
into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live.
After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God.” (Romans 6:12-14, The Message)
Listen to Bob Carlisle sing “We Fall Down.” (YouTube Link)
We Fall Down
Cursing ev’ry step of the way
He bore a heavy load
To the market ten miles away.
The journey took its toll
And ev’ry day he passed
A monastery’s high cathedral walls
And it made his life seem
Meaningless and small
And he wondered how it would be
To live in such a place
To be warm well fed and at peace
To shut the world away
So when he saw a priest
Who walked for once
Beyond the iron gate
He said tell me of your life
Inside that place
And the priest replied
“We fall down, we get up,
We fall down, we get up.
We fall down, we get up,
And the saints are just the sinners,
Who fall down and get up!”
Disappointment followed him home
He’d hoped for so much more
But he saw himself in a light
He had never seen before
‘Cause if the priest who fell
Could find the grace of God to be enough
Then there must be some hope
For the rest of us
Then there must be some hope
Left for us
‘Cause we fall down and get up
We fall down we get up
We fall down we get up
And the saints are just the sinners
Yeah the saints are just the sinners
Who fall down and get up
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