Failing Forward
1/10/2009 | Author: RCW
I had to hunt down the place that I had seen the title of this entry ("Failing Forward") before. Turns out the title is borrowed from a John Maxwell book I once saw (though I KNOW the contents are not very similar). If I insert a link to the book here, I am sure no one will sue me. :)

Anyway, since it has been a while since I wrote anything, I will pick up the laptop (no more pens I suppose) and write.

The date is difficult...January 14th is now upon us. Our resolutions have recessed into the back of our consciences. Our priorities -- so sleekly and newly structured at the New Year -- have relapsed and slid back into their default positioning. Our gym membership we were so excited to get for Christmas hasn't been used in 6 days and we have plans every night for the next week that will keep us from breaking the trend.

I don't know if this describes you, but the bottom line is that January can be one of the most depressing months for many people - myself included. It's still cold outside, the sun doesn't always show itself, and perhaps your favorite football team is done for the year.

Maybe you've never noticed this rather depressing January phenomenon that I'm describing, but for many people it is very real. For some people, their entire spirituality suffers. After all, depression is something that can really disrupt or dissolve our spiritual lives if we allow it. One of the most common ways this is seen is at New Year's when Christians make lofty goals -- a goal of reading the Bible every day or spending 30 minutes in prayer every day, memorizing x number of scriptures per month, etc. Many times, by January 14th, people lose heart and simply give up.

If that's you, DON'T.

Don't resign to failure. In the words of one of my favorite bands (though ripped from their original context, of course): "Don't write yourself off yet."

Consider Hebrews 12....
In Hebrews 11, we are presented with a series of "heroes of faith." The writer of Hebrews (whoever it is...there is not much agreement upon who wrote it) presents many pillars of faith from the Old Testament and tells of how they trusted in God even though they didn't always get to see results. Hebrews 11:1 - "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction (or evidence) of things not seen."

The sum of Hebrews 11 is that all of those Old Testament characters had to exercise faith in God because the things He promised them and the things they hoped for...they were not always seen. In fact, MOST of the fulfillment of God's promises weren't seen in their lifetimes.

Hebrews 12:1-11 picks right up and says, on account of all these people who have gone before us, "Therefore...." Well, you should read it for yourself here.

Press on. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. You are not under law, but under grace. You walk by faith and not sight. Run with perseverance. Shed hindrances to your faith...even when they come from your own thoughts.

Don't allow the enemy to paralyze you in the present because of what has happened in the past. It's one of his more clever and predictable schemes.

Today is a brand new day to live for Christ. What we all seem to remember is that Ephesians says that it is by grace through faith that we have been saved. What is easy to forget is that Colossians turns around and says this: Therefore in the same way as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk (live your lives) in Him..."


P.S. If you have a hard time thinking of failures and struggles being opportunities to grow in your faith, or if you think that doubts and depression are not part of a true Christian's life, I would strongly challenge you to think differently. There are plenty of great resources on the topic. There are plenty of lives throughout church history to testify about it. There is plenty in the scriptures to correct such error. I rest confident that doubt and disillusionment in the Christian life can be a tremendous catalyst for spiritual growth - I'm living proof.
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On January 14, 2009 at 11:36 AM , Erin Wilkins said...

There were 8 words in this post that ministered to me the are not under law, but under grace. I have to keep reminding myself of that. Excellent post!