I started my day off feeling like a failure. How’s your morning going? Back on July 4th, I realized there was exactly 180 days until the end of the year. I had the idea to use these 180 days to “do a 180o” and transform my life. I deleted all social media apps from my phone and determined to spend more time in prayer, fasting, and reading the Word.
I was pumped for a little while. You know how it is when you get a new piece of exercise equipment and use it every day? Then every other day… maybe twice a week… when the mood strikes? Yeah, that’s how my 180o is going. At first, I would wake up early to pray before work and pray each night before bed. I would read my Bible and books on prayer or listen to sermons. I looked forward to fasting once a week and spending more time with God.
But lately, when my alarm goes off in the morning, I just roll over and go back to sleep. Sometimes I pray that day, sometimes I don’t. I listen to the Bible App read the Word to me, but sometimes I’m thinking about other things. My weekly fast has lost its appeal. That extra time with God has often been replaced by playing games on my phone. It only took three weeks to slip back into my old routine, and I feel like a failure.
Most of the time when I feel this way, I want to give up. I feel like I’m never going to be the holy, godly person that I envision myself to be. I can be very “all or nothing” sometimes, and when I think I don’t measure up to my own standards, I want to admit defeat. It’s usually then, in my tearful confession to God, that He reminds me who I used to be and how far I’ve come.
Galatians 5:17 For the desire of the flesh is against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, in order to keep you from doing whatever you want.
The Holy Ghost gives me the desire to get up and pray, but my flesh wants to sleep. Whichever I yield to is the one that’s strengthened. Walking in the spirit is like working out. I can create an exercise plan and eat lots of protein, but my muscles aren’t going to grow unless I go lift weights. Likewise, I can have all the good intentions in the world and even say to myself, “God knows my heart…”, but unless I put in the time and effort behind my intentions, I’m not going to grow spiritually.
So, I have concluded that I’m not a failure, I’m just a human. The Bible says in Proverbs 24:16, “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.” And Psalm 37:24 says, “Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, for the LORD is holding his hand.” Neither verse says “if” he/they fall, it says “though” they fall. We all fall down at some point, but we must dust ourselves off and try again. I leave you with the words of the Apostle Paul:
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.