I’m going to tell you something, but you have to promise not to laugh. Years ago, I lived near the local YMCA. I had a membership and would use it to exercise. They had their treadmills right up front facing the window towards the parking lot. I went in and started jogging on one working my way up to running looking outside. There was a TV in the room, but it was four machines over to the right and up in the corner. As I was running, something came on that made me look. I started watching TV while running. My right foot missed the treadmill and landed on the side, which is stationary. I went forward, hit the front of the machine, fell backwards on my rear onto the now sprinting speed treadmill. It shot me off backwards. I did a backflip when I hit the floor. I jumped up, like nothing happened, because people were in there jogging next to me. I got on the treadmill, ran for about 10 seconds, turned off the machine, walked out and never went back.
I’ve never been able to get on a treadmill without thinking about that moment since. Falling shook my confidence in those machines even though it was my fault. As a former runner, I should have known better than to look anywhere but straight ahead while running. Looking anywhere else distracts you from the goal and causes you to drift, losing precious time. In this case, I lost my pride too. The same feelings happen when we take our eyes off of Jesus and fall. Sometimes our fall is public and we feel like we can’t face those people again. Sometimes there’s a constant reminder of it that causes us to hang our head in shame even though we’ve been forgiven. And almost all the time, you have feelings of being a second rate Christian because of it. I’m here to tell you those feelings of shame and condemnation are not from God.
Proverbs 4:25 says, “Look straight ahead with honest confidence; don’t hang your head in shame” (GNT). It’s time to pick up your head and start running again. Your sin and your past is no longer remembered by God. It has been cast as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103:12). There is a robe of Christ’s righteousness around you and your relationship with God is based on that and not your past failures. It’s time to get back on track and to start moving ahead with confidence. You’ve stayed in the swamp of despondency long enough. God still has a plan and a purpose. Nothing you do could ever remove that from you. It is irrevocable according to Romans 11:29. So fix your eyes straight ahead on Jesus and start running once again.