Well, I did it again.
I was so happy to go running with my girlfriend. Normally, she’s the one roaring to go, but this time, I had mentally steeled myself for a fast-paced run. Maybe even 10 miles! As we left, my Mom yelled out, “Don’t fall this time!” I put such ridiculous thoughts out of my head and got back in the zone thinking about what I would blog about…
Down I went on the rough sidewalk. AGAIN! It’s like time slowed down in an out-of-body experience. “Oh dear, I’m falling. This should not be happening. I just did this two weeks ago and it’s taken me two weeks to recover. Now I’ll reopen the wounds. Oh look, the sidewalk!”
Boy, am I an idiot or something? Don’t answer that…
Thus, I’m blogging about falling yet again. Maybe I should’ve titled this: “A Thousand and One Falls.” Call me pitiful. Pathetic. A klutz. Believe me, I’ve already called myself all those things.
I’m just glad God doesn’t call me that…though I wouldn’t blame Him if He were having a good chuckle about all this.
The bad news: I may be limping around for awhile (Call me peg-leg one more time!). The good news: here’s yet another example of my spiritual life.
You see, when I fall into sin, I don’t just fall once. I fall again and again and again and again. And again. A thousand and one times.
“I can’t believe I did that!” That’s what I said to myself after falling again. “What’s wrong with me?” How ironic–that’s also what I say when I fall into sin yet again. I grovel around on the blood-stained sidewalk, trying to punish myself for my crimes. Telling myself how stupid I am, and trying to work up some lasting repentance. Yes, it’s good to feel remorse and pain from falling. And as I said last week, it takes time to heal and to restore that relationship with the Father.
But the falls don’t have to define me. In fact, according to the Bible, they don’t. Because, when God looks at me, He doesn’t see somebody really messed-up or super stupid or a spiritual klutz (though I am). No, when He looks at me…He sees the righteousness of His Son!
I was reading Philippians 3 yesterday. Paul’s talking about his checkered past–though it looked good for a Jew, it turned out to be “dung” for Christ. And he says he has a new goal now: to be found “in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (vs. 9).
Paul says he hasn’t yet arrived at physical perfection. Does that make him super depressed? Does that define him as a loser who can’t do anything good? No.
Ironically, Paul uses a running metaphor here (I wonder if he ever fell while running?). He emphasizes that he is “forgetting about those things that are behind” (vs. 13). Both his self-righteousness and sinfulness. All his “good” stuff…and his bad. The times he kept the law, and the times he murdered believers. He’s forgetting those things.
Because he isn’t defined by them. He’s defined by the righteousness of Christ.
To God, I’m not stupid. I’m a saint! The son of my heavenly Father! That’s super encouraging for people like me who fall a lot …