I woke up this morning thinking that there are some things in life we need to refuse. The definition of refuse is: to indicate or show that one is not willing to do, accept or offer something. Essentially when we refuse to engage with something or someone in our life we are actively choosing to decline, turn down and to say no.
However the decision we face each day is what are we going to accept in life and what are we going to refuse?
One of the first things I personally set out to refuse is to “stay down” after a hard knock.. No matter how many setbacks, disappointments and hits I have experienced I know that God doesn’t want me to give up or to stay down. Even when I feel like or I have literally fallen in a heap He always reaches out a hand and says, “Come on , let’s get up and get out there again”.
I love reading the account of Jesus after his close friend Peter had denied knowing him publically 3 times. Even though Peter had totally messed up Jesus didn’t rub it in. He didn’t remind Peter of his failures and the hurt he must have caused him. (Mark 14:66-72)
Jesus didn’t do any of the things we would expect of someone when a friend lets us terribly down. Instead Jesus made all these guys who had left him in his absolute hour of need breakfast. He then gave Peter the opportunity to make amends and to restore his confidence in himself and their relationship. Jesus helped Peter get back up. (read John 21:12-17)
The issue most of the time is not how hard we fall, how disappointed we may feel or how broken we are. The important, crucial thing is that we get back up! When Jesus called out to Peter he responded not by looking behind at his guilt, but at Jesus. Peter chose in that moment to say sorry for his mistake and this enabled his relationship with Jesus to be restored. Interestingly Judas Iscariot who also betrayed Jesus only regretted his mistake but never said sorry. Judas kept looking back while trying to move forward, and it was this action that failed to lead him to look toward Jesus and repentance, to the cross (wrought from a tree) and the forgiveness about to be bought and paid for by Jesus. Instead Judas chose a different tree and in despair hung himself. (Matthew 27:3-5)
The problem with not dealing with and being drawn to continually look back at our sin and failures, while still attempting to move forward from our past is that we can end up focusing not on Jesus and what He says about us and our future, but on the very thing or circumstance that caused us to stumble or fall in the first place. We can end up stumbling over and over rather than walking forward in victory.
Today, like most people you may have stumbled, fallen, let yourself, Jesus and others down. You may have suffered hurt, failure and disappointments, but the good news is that just like Peter we can all get back up, and we can all move forward.
The past can’t be changed, and the key thing I have learnt is that we can face the pain, accept responsibility and choose to acknowledge to Jesus our disappointments and messups. Then we can freely choose to reach out and to take His hand of love, mercy and grace knowing He loves us just the way we are, but He also loves us far too much to leave us like we are, when he has so much more on offer.
I encourage you to make a decision to get back up today. Refuse the temptation to give up and to stay down. JESUS is calling and he’s saying, “ let’s get you up from down there because we’ve got places to go, people to meet and a wild, crazy joyfilled life in me that you cannot even imagine.”
“Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energies you”. (Ephesians 3:20 TPT)
Prayer: Jesus I’m deciding today to stop living in the regret of my past. I’m choosing instead to face it, to give it over to you, and to recive your grace and forgiveness. Thank you that I can enjoy today and look forward to tomorrow because you are right here with me guiding the way, and I’ve got too much life to live to keep looking back. I’m moving forward today. In Jesus name. Amen.