– Rick Warren
Devotional: 3 Ways To Get A Fresh Start
Here are 3 ways that God shows that He gives people a fresh start in life and that’s His specialty.
When the Righteous Fall
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fallen and stumbled. Too many to count for sure, but thankfully, God doesn’t care how many times we’ve fallen, He only cares about what’s ahead of us when we get back up because God specializes in giving us a fresh start, each and every time. Proverbs 24:16 declares “for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.” The difference is that for God’s own children, we will rise again, just like a young child must fall many times before they learn how to walk. Falling is not final for the Christian but it brings calamity for those who are not made righteous by Christ’s precious blood (2 Cor 5:21).
When the Righteous Stumble
It’s not a matter of if but when we stumble but the fact is that though “he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand” (Psalm 37:24). We are “struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor 4:9) because God is in the business of giving us a fresh start. The only issue is will we look at it as a fresh start or will we keep looking back at our past mistakes? We have to remember Lot’s wife who looked back and it turned her into a pillar of salt (Luke 17:32). The difference with her was that she looked back longingly on the city, not really wanting to leave it all behind but the lesson we can learn from her is that we can’t constantly be looking back at why and where we stumbled; we can only learn from it and keep our eyes on what’s ahead. Paul learned that the “one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead” (Phil 3:13).
When Believers Forget the Past
Isaiah wrote “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing” (43:18-19a). Those who dwell on the past are not living for the now. To be in the past is to miss the future. Whoever focuses on the old misses an opportunity for the new. Anyone that knows their Bible can read for themselves that God specializes in giving people a fresh start. If you’re in race, you’re at the starting line and fix your gaze on the track in front of you so why wouldn’t you “forget the former things” and why would you want to be looking back so “let us keep running with endurance the race set before us” (Heb 12:1). Notice that? The race is “set before us” which is all the more reason to “forget the former things [and] do not dwell on the past.”
God specializes in giving us a fresh start so just accept it. When we stumble and when we fall, and we all will, look ahead to that great day, the finish line, when the glory of if all will finally be revealed to us (Rom 8:18).