Now this message today suggests a “getting up” and trying again. It’s a deliverance from the “stay down” syndrome. It’s a comeback from the fall back if it makes sense. A comeback from anything that have knocked us down, that has its foot on our neck and it’s squeezing the very life out of us.
It is that which has a strangle on us and it’s stealing the joy of our salvation. Defeats and failures has haunted many a Christian; especially those who are serious about their walk with God and who are trying to please him. Defeat and failure to the point where it has paralyzed us; and we all know what the word “paralyzed” mean; it means “unable to move in either direction.”
It means “defeat” in the worst way; in some cases it mean when we are unable to forgive ourselves over something that we have done wrong despite the fact that we have asked God to forgive us.” It’s when we beat ourselves over the head constantly and don’t allow ourselves to move beyond where we are now.
But the devil is a liar, in fact, he’s the father of lies (John 8:44b) and we are calling him out this morning; “loose us and let us go!” there’s a story told by Dave Branon that on Jan. 18, 2012, the longest winning streak in U.S. intercollegiate varsity sports history of 252 consecutive victories-ended when Trinity College lost a squash match to Yale University. The morning after the team’s first loss in 14 years, Trinity’s coach, Paul Assaiante, received an e-mail from a friend, a prominent professional football coach, who wrote, “Well, now you get to bounce back.”
Ten days later, that football coach’s team lost one of the most widely seen athletic events-the NFL Super Bowl. Now he had to bounce back!
Community, all of must cope with defeat. But it’s one thing to get knocked down; and it’s another thing to stay down! Defeat can be like a crushing blow that knock the very breath out of your body and take the wind out of your sail; so we’ve got to get a “bounce back” attitude; bounce back from adversities; bounce back from a broken marriage; bounce back from something devastating; loss of job or position; loss of income; house burned down; loss of a loved one; foreclosure, bankruptcy and being rejected.
Sometimes in the spiritual realm we have a spiritual collapse; sometimes we will have spiritual lapses; where either we will fall or we will fail; and either way Satan pounces on us (1 Pet. 5:8); and if we don’t get up quickly he will drive us into depression and spiritual defeat and we become a dropout Christian; where sometimes we are never heard from again; and God doesn’t get any glory!
But because of what took place on Resurrection Sunday by way of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18); the authority and victory of that moment means that we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps; my beloved community, we have got to learn how to be “bounce back” Christians; because all of us make mistakes, we fall short and we may even sin unintentionally; things happen; we may get knocked down and we could get knocked out!
But we have to learn how to recover, regroup and come back stronger than we were before; we’ve got learn how to get back in the game for God doesn’t get any glory when we stay down; I watch sports sometimes and in watching the sports over the years I have seen the heartbreak of many athletes who in the spirit of competition lost championships; I witnessed the agony of defeat for a lot of teams and individuals whose dreams and hopes were dashed when they lost to their opponents; emotions were high as they cried and wept with their hearts broken; but each team and individual vows to come back stronger the next time and compete for the title again.
I remember Muhammad Ali losing the heavyweight title to Joe Frazier in what has been called the fight of the century; but he bounced back and regained the title a short time later. Most of you readers are familiar with the movie “Rocky”; just when he is counted out Rocky Balboa bounces back, overcome the odds and find a way to win; even athletes who lose limbs, some are paralyzed and told that their careers are over, will somehow find a way to “bounce back” and compete again; we’ve also seen in the Olympics when those that run “track and field, swimming, gymnastics and other competitions lose out in defeat to other countries, but refuse to stay down; they go back and practice harder, train more and they “bounce back” to fight another day.
I hope that somebody gets this today; I hope that some Christian believer gets it; see, because we are in Christ we have a power source; failure doesn’t necessary mean defeat! And being down doesn’t mean you are out! And if you know somebody who is in a corner; somebody who is home lying in the bed depressed; won’t come to church, complaining and they are down for the last count, share with them this message; community, “can’t nothing make a fail but a try!” and there are no failures in God.
Tell them that “man’s extremities are God’s opportunities!” tell them that hurt, pain, heartache, sickness, tragedy, mistakes and failure don’t define who we are; by the power invested in us by almighty God we have the ability to “bounce back!”
The Rev. George Ellis is pastor at Union Grove Missionary Baptist Church.