“Nobody’s perfect!” It’s a phrase we often use and hear. It’s usually thrown out as quick cover for some personal mistake or failure. Without much remorse, and as a kind of justifiable excuse, we frequently lean on the plea that everybody makes mistakes.
The fact is, everybody does make mistakes and “nobody’s perfect.” But this reality shouldn’t make us insensitive to our failures. Sins, mistakes and failures call for an appropriate heart response from us.
What is the right response when we miss the mark in our walk with God? How do we recover from spiritual falls and failures?
Take a look at what the Bible says about this:
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. — 1 John 1:8, 9 (NIV)
This is a wonderful promise from God. It tells us about the pathway to forgiveness and spiritual restoration. Let’s take a look at the road that brings us back from our failures.
Spiritual recovery and restoration involves at least 5 steps:
We cannot deal with a sin or failure that we don’t see. The Holy Spirit works in us to show us our sins. He helps us to see where we’re missing the mark with God. Our responsibility is to keep a tender, sensitive heart that is quick to hear and respond to the Holy Spirit’s convicting work when He points out something in us that is wrong.
Conviction should lead us to true contrition. To be contrite is to be broken, humbled, genuinely sorry for sin. It is to recognize the ugliness of it, and to have a deep desire to get rid of it. Contrition makes real repentance possible. The Bible describes contrition as “godly sorrow.” (See 2 Corinthians 7:10.)
Real contrition leads to confession. The original Greek word translated “confession” in the English Bible is “homologeo.” It means “to say the same thing; to speak the same word.” To confess our sins to God is to say the same the same thing about them that God says about them. It is to own up to them. It is to take responsibility for them. It is to refuse to justify, excuse or rationalize them. Confession means that we agree with God and His Word about the wrongness of our words, actions and attitudes.
An important part of spiritual restoration is consideration — considering lessons we need to learn from our failures. When we’ve messed up in some way, we need to mine spiritual lessons out of our failures — lessons that will benefit us in the future. Taking time to think about and glean wisdom from mistakes is a key to continued growth and maturity.
Failure robs us of confidence. When we’ve missed the mark, made a mistake, or fallen prey to the devil’s traps, we sometimes become our own worst enemy. We ruthlessly beat ourselves mentally and emotionally over the foolish thing we said, thought or did. Even after repenting and confessing our sins sincerely to God, we regularly let unnecessary, destructive guilt eat away at us. Satan eagerly piles on with his harsh accusations and unrelenting condemnation, telling us that God hasn’t forgiven us, that we’re useless, worthless and hopeless. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t buy Satan’s lies. Remember that God is gracious, loving, kind, forgiving and compassionate. He is the God of new opportunities, fresh starts and clean slates. Accept His grace and get going again. Be confident in the forgiveness of God!
Have you failed God and disappointed yourself recently? Don’t stay down. Get on the road to restoration. Get a fresh start with God today. Get up and get going again!