It seems that all my bridges have been burned,
But you say ‘That’s exactly how this grace thing works.’
It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart,
But the welcome I receive with every start.
“Roll Away Your Stone” by Mumford & Sons
This song is a favorite of mine, but this verse in particular resonates in my heart right now. In her Message of the Month, “Going for the Prize,” Martha says that every step we take towards Jesus Christ is rewarded. That has been absolutely true of my life. What I’m seeing in a whole new light today is how much the enemy brings to bear against every start I make in that direction.
Every Start is Under Attack
In my five years as a born-again disciple of Jesus Christ, the ability to make a new start after a fall has been incredibly difficult. I could fill this blog with thousands of posts on the sins and strongholds behind that difficulty – pride alone would birth a library – but that’s not my focus here. Every start I make in this life is dependent on my position as a believer. And it’s that position that is constantly under attack.
The believer’s position is a through-line in practically every teaching Martha has done. It’s that important! When I stumble and fall, or when I am chastened or disciplined, getting back up is just as important as bowing low before the Word God brings to me. Some people struggle with the bowing because their pride flies high. I struggle more with getting up because my pride digs deep. It’s all pride, all hideous, and the only real difference is in manifestation.
Every start I make comes after repentance. And every start I make is a battle. When God is satisfied with the state of my heart, it’s time to get up off the floor. It’s time to step forward in grace and forgiveness and humility. But if I listen to the enemy, then my every start is imperiled. Maybe I stay on the floor when I should get up. Maybe I take a step forward limping under the weight of shame instead of glorying in the love and forgiveness that is my priceless gift through the Blood of Jesus. Either way, I am out of my position.
Every Start Matters
Brother Lawrence famously said that in the first ten years of his Christian life he despaired that he would never stop sinning. I am no stranger to that despair, but I see it a bit differently now. To give in to that despair is to ensure that it continues. There’s no better way to thwart my every start than to tell me that it doesn’t matter and it’s useless to take that step when I’m only going to fall again. To begin again matters as much, if not more, than any other discipline in this life! It is life or death, in fact.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.
Matthew 16:24 HCSB
If I am lying in a puddle of shame and despair, then I can’t follow Jesus. If I refuse to bow to the Word of correction when it comes, then I am stuck in that spot and cannot follow Jesus. If I am crawling along, broken under the weight of self-hatred, then I am not following Jesus. Every start matters because without it, I am not following Jesus and I’ve left my position as God’s beloved child. With every start I make, I am declaring that I believe in the truth of my salvation, in the way God is leading me, and in the Life of Christ within me that makes all things possible. Every start we make is welcomed and rewarded and it absolutely matters.
The enemy knows that as long as he keeps us occupied with this thing called self, which manifestation is always pride, he has us paralyzed and he wins. And as you so accurately describe, pride is a coin with two sides, and it doesn’t matter which side is playing the result is the same. But the truth of the matter is this, it’s not who I am, but Who He is, it’s not what I’ve done, but want He has done. And to live in this blessed truth, we must first by the grace of God be brought to that… Read more »
Wow. Glad to read your expression of new start linked with pride. I have also noticed this correction that you talk here about over and over again in my life. And it happens to me the same thing. I have had a harder time repenting from my denying God a “new day with God” (how foolish is that, isn’t it?… that precisely God’s desire) by not accepting His Son’s sacrifice. Pride hates a “new day” and broods over the shame and blame. Wrong, because His word is clear: “confess your sin and you are given a new start in the… Read more »
You hit the mark for me, PRIDE, when I refuse to “bow to the Word of correction, instead of being grateful that God loves me enough to show me my blindness and willful self. What an encouraging word that brings conviction and then great hope. BLESS You and the LORD.