I like word puzzles. My mornings start with coffee, cryptograms, crosswords and other mind-exercising puzzles that involve wordplay.
This morning I did a cryptogram that was a quote from Nelson Mandela:
“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
It reminded me of when I was a Sales Manager and teaching people how to sell. I used to say that is rare when you know what made the sale, but you always know where you lost it. The same held true when I was in High School and on the wrestling team. I always practiced wrestling with the heavy weights and the best wrestlers (of which I was not) on the team. I always lost to them, but it was good practice and taught me where my mistakes were being made.
When it comes to living a righteous life in an unrighteous world, we are going to have failures. Personal and financial failures, failures of faith, failure of judgement, failing to help others, and we will never stop failing in trying to do something, in some way, at some time.
As Mr. Mandela points out, it isn’t the successes that demonstrate the merit and strength of a person, it is the number of times they failed and then got back up and kept trying. Anyone, at any time, can succeed; it isn’t succeeding that is the real acid test of fortitude, it is how consistently you continue to try.
We have a great fail-safe system: it is called the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit. We have a great coach- His name is Yeshua (Jesus) and He is always right there at our side, ready to help us up when we fall. And we have a tremendously wonderful prize to win- eternal joy and peace.
The best part is that to win all we have to do is finish. Just make it to the finish line (we call that “death”) still trying to do as God has told us we should do, still maintaining your faith (weak or strong, having faith is what saves us- works are only the evidence of our faith) and still trying to be an example of righteousness to the world.
So don’t be upset or depressed when you fail to live up to the standards God has set for us: no one can. If you start to feel like you can’t do this, you just don’t feel worthy, or that it isn’t really worth the effort, that is the Enemy, the Devil, trying to convince you of a lie. Don’t fall for it. When you feel like you have let the Lord down (and we all do, at one time or another) just remember that God is glad you still want to try; He is there to help you, He has provided the bible so you can review the game plans, and He is very forgiving of errors. Geeze- what a great coach, right?
The only time God will ever be upset or disappointed with you is if you should stop trying. Remember: failure is not when you don’t succeed- that is just a temporary roadblock- failure only happens when you stop trying.