It’s hard to be reminded of failure, isn’t it? Anyone of us who is honest with ourselves will have moments that when remembered cause us to cringe, to feel regret. Who among us would not like a ‘do over,’ an opportunity to go back and make a different choice, to say a different word. We cannot. History is made and cannot be rewritten. But … yes, I am so glad for what we find through Christ Jesus. There is redemption, there is forgiveness, there is restoration! Are there consequences that flow from those choices? Yes, there are. But, there is ‘no more condemnation.’
Christians celebrate a message of radical forgiveness through Jesus. Yet, some remain religious, rigidly insisting on some imagined perfection in themselves and others. When we let faith apply the truth of reconciliation and forgiveness, we are free us to live nearer to His heart AND we are empowered by the Spirit to be holy.
Bob Carlisle sings a song called “We Fall Down.” (lyrics at the end of this blog) 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 a brother in Christ with envy. “Look at him. He is so much better than I am, he does not even struggle with sin any longer!” That is a trap and a deception. There is 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 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 as much a sin as stealing. Bitterness is a sin just as much as blasphemy.
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!”
I want to remind you of a wonderful by-product of experiencing grace, of realizing the depth of our own sin and knowing God’s love to forgive it. We become gentle, merciful, and forgiving of those who fail us. How can we who are forgiven hold onto a debt of another? Indeed Jesus taught us to pray ‘Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.’
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)
We Fall Down
Listen to Bob Carlisle sing “We Fall Down.” (YouTube Link)
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
Kyle Matthews © 1997 Above The Rim Music (Admin. by BMG Music Publishing)
BMG Songs, Inc. (Admin. by BMG Music Publishing)
CCLI License # 810055