Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Down But Not Out

PSALM 37:23-24 – The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.”

Failure. It happens to us before we became Christians. It happens to us after we become Christians with one distinction. Failure for the non-Christian is never spiritual failure. They are spiritually dead. Spiritually dead people don’t spiritually fail or spiritually succeed. They are dead. Lifeless. Incapable of either. For the Christian? We know the experience of spiritual failure all too well. Each day the middle of today’s scripture meets us with spiritual force and reality–“though he fall”–which might be rightly paraphrased “When we fail”.

In the Christian life failure is one of the most effective means God uses to mature us in Christ by developing humility and establishing a watchful mindset in our hearts and minds against weak areas tempting us to fail. Isn’t God so good that when He says, “All things work together for good for those who love Him” (Romans 8:28), that promise includes our failures? Oh, the wisdom of God to take our many failings and turn them to “successes” for our spiritual good and growth in Him! But be careful not to allow this glorious promise to become a sin of presumption by taking for granted the goodness, grace, and wisdom of God.

As we go back to the scripture of the day and identify with the Psalmist in his failure, make sure we read on. If we don’t we may just stay down in the pit of discouragement over our failures. Yes, the Psalmist is down because of his failing. Yes, we get down because of our failings (that down is the work of humility),but like the Psalmist, we are not out. Again, his words, “though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds His hand.” There is never a depth of failing in the Christian life beyond the reach of the Lord’s grace-filled Hand! We will never fall so far away in sin that the love of the Lord is incapable of finding and restoring us! Down but not out defines every Christian. But what also defines every Christian are the words “he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.”

So, when we are down due to our falls and failing, remember, we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). In God’s choosing was also God’s awareness of our many falls and failures as His children. He knew what He was getting and in His great love, all those falls, all those failings, and all those times of drifting away will be short-lived for the true child of God. It must be for the Lord not only upholds our hands in our dark times, but those Hands of His will lovingly pull us back to Himself when the lessons are learned when we are down but not out!

PRAYER: “Father, I praise You that my failings and spiritual falls don’t define me.”
QUOTE: “Failure is one of the most effective means God uses to grow us spiritually.”

Because of Him,
Pastor Jim