The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. (Proverbs 24:16 NLT)
Two winters ago I was on a jog through our neighborhood after a light dusting of snow. Just one block from home I slipped on a hidden patch of ice and went sprawling forward onto the sidewalk. It was a jarring experience and after confirming nothing was broken I picked myself up and gingerly walked the rest of the way home. That fall caused me to change my winter running habits. I made a decision then and there to limit my running to indoors on a treadmill unless the footing outside was clearly ice free.
Falls are scary because of the potential harm they can wreck in a person’s life. As true as that is for physical stumbles, it is often even more impacting with spiritual ones. For one thing spiritual falls are more common. And the nature of spiritual falls frequently hinders people from getting back up and running again.
There are many causes for spiritual stumbles. Sin of course tops the list. But things like relationship conflicts, worldly distractions, disappointments and a failure to maintain spiritual disciplines all contribute to causing slips and trips spiritually. Spiritual stumbles lead to discouragement, condemnation and ultimately feeling estranged from God. All that contributes to a sense of unworthiness which is probably the biggest factor hindering a person from recovering from a stumble.
Overcoming all that can be a challenge. But there is a secret to getting back up again. And it has to do with understanding what it means to have our spiritual identity “in Christ.” Spiritual falls, much more frequently than physical falls, cause us to have spiritual amnesia. It is as if every time we take a spiritual tumble we hit our head, and as a result forget who we are.