“I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
I went to the movies this week and one of the ads that played before the movie was about quitting smoking. The narration went something like this: “Fail… Fail all the time. Fail hard. Fail often. Fail again. Failure is an option. Because eventually, one of those failures will be your last. It takes multiple attempts to quit smoking. So don’t quit trying.”
This ad (the whole ad campaign, actually) really struck me – because isn’t this what the whole Christian life is all about? We fail, we are forgiven, we try again. The whole Bible is filled with stories of people who try to do as God told them, try to be as God made them, and fail along the way. Look at Abraham or Jonah or even Peter. Poor Peter, one time he’s right on his game and tells Jesus “You are the Messiah” then in the next breath, cautions Jesus to ‘stay safe’ and Jesus rebukes him. In Matthew 14:22-33, Peter sees Jesus on the water and cries out in faith ‘let me come to you’, but when he does, he has second thoughts and starts to sink. Peter is the guy who starts out strong and inspired and then falters.
He fails, fails often, and fails hard, but Peter doesn’t quit being a disciple. Peter is still a follower of Jesus even though he doesn’t always get it right. Peter does not quit trying to be a follower of Jesus.
The same goes for us in our lives. We will mess things up, but don’t stop trying to follow Jesus. As we journey through Lent, and we focus a little more on trying to do better and change our ways to walk even closer with God, it is the tradition for some of us to try to start a discipline that will help us on this journey. But it is not an ‘all or nothing’ contract. In our spiritual disciplines, whether it’s praying or meditation, giving or taking up something for the 40 days, there will be times when we mess up; when we eat that piece of chocolate or say an unkind word or forget to be generous. It happens to all of us. But, please, don’t abandon everything. Just start again. We will fail, and fail again, to be who God made us, but don’t quit trying, because eventually one of those failures will be your last.
Peace and Blessings,