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Get Back Up

In high school, I played basketball, but our school was very small. One night we were playing a much larger school and we were down by 20 at the half. Coach threw the door open coming into the locker room. He screamed, “Are y’all scared of them because they’re taller than you? Are you scared because they’re more athletic? It must be something because you’ve quit. You’re a bunch of quitters! If there’s one thing I hate, it’s a quitter…If you quit, I quit!” He stormed out as loudly as he came in. Our captain said, “Let’s Open with the starting five in a Black Diamond defense. Lets get out there and win!” Coach returned halfway into the third and we won that game that night because we got back out there and played hard.

Not long after the Israelites defeated Jericho, they went to fight a small town. They only sent 10% of their warriors. The other city beat them, chased them down and embarrassed them. Joshua returned to the camp and fell on his face before the Lord. He laid there all day giving up. In Joshua 7:10 the Lord said to him, “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this?” (NLT) God told him to get back up, fix the problem, get back out there and fight. After finding and removing sin in the camp, they went back to that town and soundly defeated them.

How do you deal with defeat? Do you quit, hide or get depressed? One defeat doesn’t not define you. Ax God told Joshua, you need to get back up, make adjustments and get back out there. Your life is not over. There is still a lot of fight in you, plus you’re not fighting alone. God is with you. Proverbs 24:16 says, “For the lovers of God may suffer adversity and stumble seven times, but they will continue to rise over and over again” (TPT). No matter how many times you’re defeated or fall flat on you’re face, get back up and fight. Don’t quit. You’re victory is ahead.

Photo by Verne Ho on Unsplash

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Keep Running

I got to hear Kirk Franklin share his testimony last year. It was the first time I had seen him in person. He told the story of how he grew up without a father and how he always wanted to be there for his son. He told how his son ran track and he was watching him run a relay race. When the second guy on their team went to hand the baton to number three, he dropped the baton. The third guy picked it up and started heading for Kirk’s son.

When Kirk looked ahead at his son, who was now at a disadvantage, he didn’t see him give up. Instead he saw him readjusting his stance, timing the space between he and the other runners and preparing to receive that baton. When he finally got the baton, he ran as if he had a chance to win the race. He ran as fast as he could all the way to the finish line knowing he wouldn’t win.

That took character. Many of us would have jogged to the finish line. If we can’t win, what’s the point in trying that hard? No one in the crowd expected him to run that hard to the finish line. Well no one except his dad. His dad had instilled in him the value of never giving up. In a time when running fast didn’t really matter, the character that was taught to him came shining through.

You and I are in a race. I’m not talking about the race to the top of the corporate ladder. We’re in a race of faith. Paul likened our lives as Christians to race a few times. In 1 Corinthians 9:24, Paul said we should run to win the prize. You shouldn’t slow to a jog just because someone you looked up to dropped the baton. You shouldn’t slow down because you may have dropped it.

The truth is that none of us have been handed a perfect baton in this race. None of us are capable of running with it without dropping it. It’s what we do when we receive a dropped baton or drop it ourselves that matters. The easy thing is to give up and say, “I tried, but there’s no use now. If they can’t carry it without dropping it, how can I?” The hard thing to do is to pick up that dirty baton, wipe it off and keep running like you will win.

I played a lot of sports in high school. One school we used to play had a banner up that said, “Sports don’t build character, they reveal it.” The same is true in the faith. What you do when you or so done else messes up reveals your faith. You have the ability to get forgiveness for your mistakes, to start running again and to do your best to not do that again. Being a Christian isn’t about being perfect, it’s about getting back up and continuing to run after you’ve fallen or have been knocked down.

Proverbs 24:16 says, “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.” What about you? Have you tripped recently? Are you jogging and taking it easy to the finish line? I want to encourage you to get up, pick up your baton and sprint towards the finish line. Run like you’re going to win, trust God for the victory. Don’t stay down when you trip. Get back up and join the race. The body of Christ is here to help you and your father is in the stands watching and cheering you on.

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