If I was in an accident and lost the ability to walk and had to learn it all over again, I honestly don’t know if I could do it.
It was brutal watching Chloe and Cole learn how to walk. They’d take a few steps, then PLOP! They’d pick themselves up off the floor, take another few steps and CRASH!
But they kept at it. Before long, two steps became three. Three steps became five. Then they were walking all the way across the room by themselves. No wobbling, no falling.
Of course, we all know that running comes after walking, and now it’s impossible to catch them! But watching Chloe and Cole learn to walk taught me something about perseverance.
Perseverance means to keep trying, no matter how many times it takes you. Perseverance means never giving up. Perseverance is necessary if you’re going to learn how to walk. Perseverance is also necessary if you’re going to grow into a mature Christian.
Both Paul and Peter name perseverance as something that is necessary to develop in the Christian life (Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-4, 2 Peter 1:5-9). The author of Hebrews admonishes believers to "run with perseverance the race marked out for us" (Hebrews 12:1).
That’s hard to do though, isn’t it? When I began my Christian walk, I had a lot of false starts, stumbles and falls. More times than I can count I had to seek God’s forgiveness, learn from my mistakes and try again.
And you know what? I’ve been a Christian for more than half my life and it doesn’t get any easier. I still fall. I still fail. There will never be a time when I won’t have trouble "walking" as a Christian.
But is that any reason to stop? No.
We are never to give up. We are never to quit. We are to persevere, continuing to seek forgiveness from our heavenly father, learning from our mistakes and trying again.
You know what will happen? If we keep our eyes on Christ and allow him to work in our hearts and lives, spiritual maturity will take place. When it does, our falls will occur with less frequency.
Now, you and I will never stop falling this side of eternity. Our sin condition causes us to constantly fall short of God’s perfect will for our lives. But one day — whether we go to be with him, or Christ comes back to take us home, God will remove our sin from us and we will live forever in his glorious presence.
Never to fall again.
Parrish Myers is pastor of Pine Crest Baptist Church in Gainesville. His column appears every other week in Sunday Life.