“…that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:26.
Once again, I have blown it! I messed up. After days of eating right, exercising and watching my blood sugars come down, I ate way more than I should have. If I was still hungry, it might be one thing, but I genuinely felt sick and my blood sugars did spike. And I find myself saying, really? Did I really just mess up and fall off the wagon again!?! Irritated that all that hard work had been blown in one bad meal. One mistake. Ugh! Frustration mounting. Tension rising. Guilt, because of all the people who go without food and yet I stuff my face. Shame that I sold my God given birth right and freedom, yet again, because of one meal. Disappointed, that I cannot seem to get it together, and just do the thing that I actually want to do.
Only, I am far too familiar with this cycle. Far too familiar. I do good. I do right. I am on track. Then, pow! I blow it, once again. The mounting failures adding up like evidence against me each time I sin, mess, up, and fail. The scale and the added weight on my body proves my case. Only further deepening the pit I have fallen into. And if this only happened with food, it would be one thing. One problem. One sin to deal with. But it is not just food. This happens every time I fail. That one pivotal, life changing thought.
I have blown it!
Generally what follows is the mindset that since I have already blown it, what difference does it really make anyway? I give up. I give in. I throw in the towel. If I already failed, if I am already a failure, it does not really matter what I do from this point anyway. Then I start eating the cake, and the cookies, and the bad carbs, and all the things that I am not supposed to. Followed by days of failures and feeling sick, until I am so far off track, I do not even recognize or remember what I was attempting to do!
That is the snare of sin.
Sin is horrible. It is down-right awful and detestable in the eyes of God. Failure has a way of shaking us up and bringing us down. Rejection has a way of rocking us to the core. Once we have blown it, sin can have a horrible ripple effect in our lives. But perhaps the worst sin, is not the sin or the mistakes or the failures that I have, but what I choose to do after them that matters.
The snare is in thinking that I have blown it, when I have sinned, and then continue to sin.
Gymnastics is one of my favorite sports. Before my days of heading back to school for ministry, I dreamed of being a gymnastics coach. I was obsessed with the sport and its demand for perfection. In the 2004 Olympic Games a gymnast by the name of Paul Hamm won the men’s all-around gold medal. What makes this particular moment so special? On Paul’s fourth event, he made a mistake so big he nearly fell right off the podium and crashed into the judges deciding his fate. In a sport where titles are won and lost by mere thousands of a point, a fall is devastating. It takes one right out of medal contention. Game over. No Olympic medal. Mine as well pack up your things and go home. Game. Set. Match. It’s over. He blew it. Even the TV announcer’s said the same thing. There was no hope for Paul Hamm.
Now, if you have ever watched the sport of gymnastics, you begin to see just how much perfection really is a head game. Gymnastics demands perfection and generally is not a very forgiving sport. So, one mistake is costly, to the extreme. These mistakes often having a ripple effect on a gymnasts’ performance, career, and trajectory of their life. One tiny bobble leads to others, which lead to others, until it becomes a disaster of epic proportions.
What makes Paul Hamm’s performance and win, so extraordinary, is that he did not do that. He did not lose the battle of the mind, even though he messed up. He did not fall into the failure trap. Even though he blew it. He did not give up or give into the mind snare of his mistake. In his final two routines, he gave the best performance of his life. While his competitors, none of them having a major fall, continued to have little mess up after little mess up, losing the mind game, and ultimately adding up to major medal costing mistakes. Paul went from failure to winner, in the biggest competition of his life, because he did not fall into the snare of his mistake.
That is the snare of sin.
The enemy is out to kill, steal, and destroy our lives, our opportunities, and our choices. Mistakes can be costly. Sin is costly. But we have a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who paid the price, so that we would not have to live in the failure trap. The thought or mindset that we have officially blown it. He promises to work all things for our good and His glory, if we love Him. That includes our imperfections, our mess-ups, our mistakes, our failures, our falls, and our sins. Because of Christ, our failures do not get the last word. Because of Christ, we have grace, forgiveness, and mercy. Because of Christ, we have the chance to keep moving forward, and not get caught up in the failure trap.
Do you ever get caught in that mind-set?
Do you ever think that you have blown it and then one failure leads to another until it becomes a costly disaster? Do not get caught in the snare! Do not get caught in the lie! You and I have not blown it when we fail. As long as you have breath, you are still running the race of life, and it is not over. God is not finished with you yet. The last sentence on your story has yet to be written. Move. Keep going. Pick up where you fell and keep pressing on. Do not get caught up in the mindset of believing that you have blown it. Our remnant of hope is in knowing that when we fail miserably, God is not finished with us. He has a plan. He has a purpose. He has a hope for us. God is in control. That is the confidence that should reside in us, as we get up, dust ourselves off, and continue to press on…without getting caught in the snare of thinking we have officially blown it.