“For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again…” Proverbs 24:16
We all experience failure. The question is whether we’ll get up when we fall—and how? Some believers fail spiritually and never recover. They surrender to the sin in their lives as an inevitable fact. But a season of life doesn’t have to become a lifetime. Don’t let failure define you.
The Bible is full of godly people who failed at some point; and not in little ways. Moses was a murderer and a fugitive; David was an adulterer and a murderer; and Peter denied even knowing Jesus—just to name a few. Yet, each one was used by God later in life. Why? Because they got up when they stumbled, and we can do the same.
The first step is to realize why we failed. What is the root cause? After all, a problem can’t be solved until we admit that it exists. So if we’ve given in to anger, envy, fear, greed, lust, or pride, then we need to call it what it is—sin. The lives of Moses, David, and Peter demonstrate what anger, lust, and fear can do if left unchecked. Scripture also records the power of repentance.
Some of us are like Peter; we immediately recognize our sin and repent of it. “And Peter remembered the [prophetic] words of Jesus, when He had said, ‘Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly [in repentance]” (Matthew 26:75 AMP). Others of us are like David, who had to be confronted (2 Samuel 12:1–13). We can get so busy trying to hide our spiritual failures from people that we forget nothing is ever hidden from God.
Proverbs 28:13 reminds us, “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.” David experienced this compassion firsthand when he finally poured out his heart to God in complete repentance (Psalm 51). Keep in mind that admitting our failure is only partial repentance. While that may bring a bit of relief, the grace we need to fully recover is found by forsaking the sin altogether.
So don’t let failure define you. Seek God, search His Word, and listen to godly counsel. Deal with the sin, then rest in God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9). If you keep dwelling on your failure, you will never delight in the future God has for you. He’s not done with you yet. So get up!