My oldest son dutifully plucks out the notes to Amazing Grace as he practices his guitar lessons.
While I’m astounded by his natural propensity for music, he sometimes makes mistakes.
When he does, his first inclination is to scrunch up his face in disgust, roll his eyes, and groan loudly. Then he insists on starting all over again from the very first note.
But my husband and I encourage him to just keep playing.
In fact, often my untrained ear wouldn’t even notice the wrong note.
There is a chance he inherited these perfectionist tendencies from his mother.
But don’t we all want a do over every now and then?
I know I do.
Like when I’ve lost my temper with my boys before they’ve brushed their teeth in the morning.
Or when I verbally assault my husband as he walks through the door late for dinner before hearing how miserable his day was.
Or when terribly insensitive words escape my lips before I can stop them.
Maybe when I’ve cheated on my New Year’s resolutions before Valentine’s Day.
Or when I miss a day of my #write365 challenge or daily bible reading plan.
I bet Adam and Eve wished they could have turned back the clock as the serpent slithered away and God confronted them in the Garden.
Mistakes are a part of life. None of us will get everything right every time.
Yet the minutes continue to march forward like the constant tic of a metronome.
We wouldn’t make it very far in life if we had to keep taking it from the top every time we messed up.
The enemy likes to use this tactic to stall any headway we make. He wins when he can interrupt our performance and convince us we aren’t worthy of continuing. He keeps us enslaved by an unattainable standard of perfect adherence to the law when grace has already set us free.
God is able to orchestrate a symphony with even our worst mistakes.
Now, I’m not suggesting we gloss over our sin. Quite the contrary.
The first step in making forward progress is to repent, and then try to not repeat the same mistakes again. We come before God acknowledging our sin and accept His mercy. The Holy Spirit is faithful to lead us forward in the way of righteousness (John 16:13) if we will submit to Him as the conductor of our lives.
The next step is to ask for forgiveness. When we’ve messed up, sometimes we need to ask others to absolve us of our guilt. But often it is harder to extend that same mercy to ourselves. Don’t let the devil drag you down for something Jesus already conquered.
Finally, we have to just keep going (Philippians 3:13-14). We are all on a journey toward perfection and the Holy Spirit is our maestro (The scary Bible word is sanctification). Yet it is not a destination any of us will reach until our final curtain call in this world.
God knows we aren’t going to get everything right all the time (Romans 3:23). That’s why Jesus had to die. His blood covers every sin we wish we could take back. Our faith ensures we will receive an eternal “do over.” This is the hope we have in our salvation.
When Jesus returns to establish His kingdom, we’ll finally perform perfectly.
Until then, let’s just keep playing our part with our eyes fixed on the cross.
Dear Father, Thank you that in Your son I have the ultimate “do over.” Help me to keep my eyes focused on the prize I have in Him and not to become distracted by the weight of my sins in this world. By Your Holy Spirit help me to recall the hope I have in my salvation and lead me in Your way of righteousness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind
and straining forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the
upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:13-14 ESV
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