When one of my sons began playing on a tackle football team for the first time, he was nervous. He had played flag football before and we had spent many hours playing catch, but this was his first time with pads. He was a seventh grader and he knew he would be getting hit by some boys much bigger than he was. He was excited to play and give it a shot, but there were a lot of challenges he would face.
He and I would talk daily about practice. We would discuss the drills they were working on, plays being installed, and the progress he was making. One particular day he told me about a drill that didn't go well. They were doing a tackling drill and he was having a hard time getting his man knocked down. He was frustrated as he recalled being bounced around and failing to perform as well as he wanted to.
At one point in the conversation, he asked what he could do if he kept getting beat and continued to get knocked down. "Get back in line," I told him. You get knocked down, the play is over, so get back in line and get ready to go again. He asked what would happen if he got back in line and got knocked down again. "Get back in line," I said again. You just have to keep getting back in line. It doesn't matter how many battles you lose or how hard the challenge may be, you keep getting back in line and go for it again. And again. And again. You must keep getting back in line.
Seven years later, I still think about that conversation often. Many times I do not do as well as I desire. Some days I fall far short of the father I want to be. I have to get back in line. I have to be ready to give it my all the next day. Other days I am disappointed because I do not feel I was as effective in ministry as I long to be. My failures are ever before me. Yet, I know that I cannot give up. I must follow my own advice I gave to my son and get back in line.
Yes, some days I struggle as a dad. Some days I fall short as a husband. Some days I am not the pastor my church deserves. Quitting is not an option, however. I must persevere. I know what the Lord would have me do. I must confess sin, seek His forgiveness, trust in His goodness, live in His strength and power, and seek to bring Him glory by never losing heart.
What about you? Have you been tempted to give up? Has your ministry in your church brought you to the brink of giving up? Has your struggle in personal evangelism taken you to the place where you wonder why you should even bother? Has your inability to remain disciplined in your spiritual life led you to consider just throwing your hands up and saying there is no point?
"Get back in line." Keep serving, keep loving, keep forgiving, keep after it. Remember, the Christian life is a story of God's power perfected in our weakness. We must allow His grace and strength to be at work in our life and ministry. But, you cannot give up.
Galatians 6:9 reminds us, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
So, do not become weary. Do not give up. Pursue Christ, live in His Word, pray for His guidance, and get back in line. Maybe yesterday beat you up a bit. Well, it is a new day. Get back in line and give it your best in the strength God provides.
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