Maybe not today or tomorrow, but someday, any day.
- You will blow your testimony, your witness.
- You will yell at a co-worker.
- You may let a curse word fly.
- You might harbor some hatred in your heart for your boss.
- You could be tempted by the advances of a colleague.
How do I know this will happen?
- Because you are human, and your lower nature still resides within you, ready to rear its ugly head at the first opportunity.
- Because I, along with you, live in a fallen world full of sin and all of its consequences.
- Because we all have the same enemy who isn’t concerned with tripping us up, he wants to take us out.
[Tweet “Our self, the world, and satan are fighting against what we know is the right and good thing to do.”]
I’m not trying to discourage you or scare you, I’m trying to give you an honest look at reality so you are not blind-sided when it happens, and so you can keep going forward when it does.
Let’s start by looking at a few people in scripture that blew it big time. Some recovered and some didn’t. Then we’ll look at how to be one of the ones who recovers, who gets back up after failure, and keeps going strong until the finish.
Failures who recovered:
Moses chose to hurry God’s plan
Moses knew God had a plan to make him a leader of the people of Israel. But Moses thought God was moving too slow on that plan, so he took matters into his own hands. Moses killed the Egyptian who was oppressing his countrymen. (Exodus 2:11-15) Now Moses had to go on the run. He spent the next 40 years being a shepherd. Far from the leader of Israel he was destined to be. Moses got impatient and blew it.
Jonah chose to run away from God
Jonah chose to disobey God’s plan for his life because he didn’t have compassion for people. Jonah knew God was merciful, and he didn’t think those people deserved God’s mercy, so he ran away. Far away. (Jonah 4:2 NLT)
Jonah tried to run from God and ended up being swallowed by a fish and left for dead. Jonah didn’t like the way God worked, and as a result, he blew it.
David chose his passion over God’s purity
David was brought from shepherd to King of Israel. He had it all. In having it all, David got comfortable. In getting comfortable, David got careless. David let down his guard on his own fleshly weaknesses and made Bathseba come and lay in his bed. (2 Samuel 11:2-4 NLT) As a result, David blew it.
Peter chose fear over love
Peter was so afraid of what others thought about him and his association with Jesus, that he denied even knowing Him. Peter feared what others would think of him, Peter feared being ridiculed and ostracized instead of believing in the unconditional, unfailing love of Christ. Peter blew it.
The good news about these 4 individuals is that they recovered after they blew it.
- Moses became the leader of the Israelites and led them to freedom.
- Jonah preached to the people of Ninevah and his warning saved and entire city from judgement and death.
- David went on to rule the nation of Israel and his second child from that union was the wisest man who ever lived.
- Peter became the head of the early church and preached the first message of salvation after the ascension of Christ.
Each one recovered, but not without a cost.
- Moses spent 40 years as a lowly shepherd.
- Jonah had to spend 3 days and nights in the belly of a fish.
- David had to bury his first child with Bathsheba.
- Peter had to look into the eyes of his Savior as he betrayed Him.
In spite of the cost, they did recover from their failures, mistakes, blunders. They did go on to fulfill God’s calling on their lives and even today they serve to teach us by example and remind us that we are not alone when we blow it.
Before we look at how to recover when you fail, let’s look at those who failed and never recovered at all. Those who are only remembered for their failures instead of their victories over them.
Saul let success go to his head
Saul was the first King of Israel. And although he started as a humble kid hiding in the baggage (1 Samuel 10:21-23 NLT), he soon let his success and power go to his head. His pride was his downfall. Saul started with the power of God, and ended up having God’s Spirit taken from him.
Judas didn’t seek forgiveness
Everyone knows the name of Judas. The name is associated with betrayal. Judas betrayed Jesus, but he also spent three and half years with Jesus. Judas betrayed Jesus, but he also knew that Jesus had the power to forgive him. Judas felt remorse and even admitted that he sinned, but he never went to the only One who could forgive that sin. Judas never sought the forgiveness that Jesus gave to so many as Judas stood by and watched. Judas took his own life because he couldn’t live with his mistake. (Matthew 27:3-5 NLT)
Ananias & Sapphira valued temporary wealth over honesty
This lesser known duo decided to lie to God in order to pocket a profit. (Acts 5:1-11 NLT) Having some extra money was more important than telling the truth. All they had to do was tell the truth. Instead, they covered up their plan and purposes and ended up dead.
So how do you recover from your failures? How do you go on when you blow it? How can you end up a part of the first group instead of the second? Here are a few tips on how to recover after you blow it:
1. Know your weaknesses
When you blow it, and you will, look for what set you off, what factors in your own human frailty, left unchecked, contributed to you blowing it?
Shore up your foundation. Use your failure to learn more about yourself. Sometimes I mess up in ways that surprise me initially. But when I analyze the situation, I discover issues I swept under the rug instead of facing head on. Now I can take those issues, unpack them and hand them over to God so they don’t become tripping points for me in the future.
2. Ask for & accept forgiveness
Jonah was right, God is merciful and compassionate. God is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love. It’s an amazing thing to know that God is always ready to forgive. It’s another thing to ask for that forgiveness. So many times we feel too unworthy of God’s forgiveness to accept it. And the truth is that we are unworthy. We don’t deserve God’s forgiveness, or favor, and we will never will. But God gives it to us anyway. God offers it to us freely and all we have to do is ask.
“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9 NLT)
The other part of forgiveness, is forgiving yourself. When you ask for and accept God’s forgiveness in whole, believing it to be complete, it will be possible to forgive yourself as well.
[Tweet “In order to forgive yourself, you have to accept God’s forgiveness.”]
So you messed up. Big deal. You’ve done it before and you’ll do it again. But without accepting God’s forgiveness and forgiving yourself, you won’t be able to recover.
3. Get up & keep going
This one won’t happen unless you do #2. Without the forgiveness part, both from God and yourself, you will stay bogged down in a pit of self-pity-right where the enemy wants you. Self-pity leads to feelings of worthlessness and justification for blowing it some more.
You will fall down again, but if you get up one more time than you fall down then you can recover. Get up and keep going. Keep doing what you know God has told you in His word. Keep in the word. Keep praying. Keep spending time with God. Keep spending time with other believers who can strengthen you and hold you accountable in your weak areas.
Get up and keep going even if you don’t feel like it. Christianity and our faith journey with God is not about feelings, it’s about truth. Don’t let your emotions guide your recovery. Emotions are fickle and deceptive, but God’s truth never falters, it never changes, it never fails.
God wants you to recover when you blow it. God wants you to overcome the sin in your heart that led you to blow it in the first place. God wants you to be successful in your walk with Him. God is for you, not against you.
What about you?
What will you do when you blow it?
Will you recover?
Will you become another casualty of spiritual warfare?
What has helped you recover when you blow it?
How has God used your mistakes to grow you?
Share your experiences and let’s help each other get up and keep going!