Rising From Our Failures (part 2)

11.08.20 Nathaniel Wall

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  2. How the Lord Uses His Warriors to Bring Victory
    11.29.20 41m 30s
  3. Finding Self Control
    11.22.20 39m 17s
  4. Rising From Our Greatest Failures (part 3)
    11.15.20 37m 05s
  5. Rising From Our Failures (part 2)
    11.08.20 41m 48s
  6. Rising From Our Greatest Failures
    11.01.20 36m 44s
  7. Fighting Loneliness
    10.25.20 31m 39s
  8. Great Grace
    10.18.20 30m 49s
  9. How to Become a Better Dancer
    10.11.20 34m 56s
  10. Life-changing Mercy and Forgiveness
    10.04.20 38m 46s
  11. The Wilderness
    09.27.20 35m 13s
  12. Why Friendships Matters
    09.20.20 39m 17s
  13. Escaping Envy’s Destruction
    09.13.20 33m 30s
  14. Courageous Faith in Adversity
    08.30.20 38m 54s
  15. How to Build a Godly Future
    08.23.20 39m 10s
  16. Learning From Failure
    08.16.20 43m 20s
  17. Transformed in Struggle
    08.09.20 41m 01s

Rising From Our Failures (part 2)

11.08.20 Nathaniel Wall Pursuing God's Heart Series

Okay. So we’re going to look, an important passage of scripture today. I told you about Psalm 51, Genesis chapter 3. What makes this story so powerful, it is enriching to the soul and it helps us to learn how we can rise from our failures. You don’t have to remain a prisoner to your past. You can walk in the newness of Jesus. In fact, that’s what Jesus desires for your life. So when we dive into this text today, it’s going to get a little bit messy because the situation that we’re talking about is messy. But it helps us understand how to navigate through the mess of life to find joy and peace and goodness.

So we’re here today to enrich your souls. We’re going to talk about some things that are a little bit complex, a little bit difficult because it deals with our own personal challenges as people, but we want to walk away resting in the beauty of Jesus in our position on him and delighting in all the goodness that we have in Christ. That is our goal. When you think about this passage, I want you to know that this passage has done more for the enrichment of my relationship with Jesus, maybe more than any other passage. I think part of the reason is I can connect to the narrative of what’s happening, in addition to learn some good theology.

When you look at 1 and 2 Samuel we’ve gone together, one of the things that really helps me appreciate this section of scripture that we’ve gone over is that historians say that there has not been any character in antiquity been written about in more detail than King David. So you think about it, not just biblical literature, all literature in all of history in antiquity. There is nothing written more about any character than there is of the life of David. You get to see how this individual has grown in the Lord and the great things that have happened in his life as he’s pursued God and even the challenges to his relationship with God, because what we find here in this passage is David is not perfect.

What we discover as we look at ourselves is neither are we. So what do we do when we fall, when we sin, when we blow it? How do we handle that? What we’ve seen together in the story of David is really one of the most difficult times that he goes through and the results of that. We see David shockingly out of all these godly stories we’ve seen about him, he’s a godly warrior. He’s a godly king. He is a poet that wrote half of the psalms. David is an incredible individual. And then we see this story unfold in 2 Samuel chapter 11 and 12 where he just falls incredibly on this public platform.

In chapter 11 you learn about the sin with Bathsheba and David sees at a time where kings go to war. He doesn’t go to war. He sends his army out, but he goes up on his rooftop of his kingdom and he looks out and he sees Bathsheba and he has this desire for her, lust for her. She’s a married woman. He brings her to her house. She gets pregnant and he tries to cover up his tracks really. He brings her husband back from battle and tries to get him to stay with her to see if that will cover up his tracks. That doesn’t work. So her husband wants to go back to war. His name is Uriah.

So David writes a letter to his general, Joab, and says, “Put Uriah at the front of the line and let Uriah die.” When they put Uriah at the front of the line, not only does Uriah die but all the people fighting alongside of him die. David then brings Bathsheba into his house. He tries to cover up his sin before the people around him. But what we learn in that story, chapter 11 is, one, if this can happen to David, it can happen to any of us. I mean you saw the godliness throughout the stories we talked about together. But reality is, we have this thing that we wrestle with within us called sin.

Sin, it can creep up on us at any moment. We discussed last week that, look, there’s this thing in this world called temptation. We’re tempted all the time. A lot of the times, temptations don’t bother us. I mean you watch commercial breaks. Commercial breaks are loaded with all sorts of temptations and most of the stuff on TV you don’t even care about. But it’s when temptation comes with desire that sin is born, when you give in to that desire because the temptation sin is born.

In chapter 12, David has a friend named Nathan who confronts David and his sin. The way Nathan does this is beautiful. Nathan just doesn’t come in. He’s a prophet. He doesn’t just come in and say, “David,” and just condemn David. “David, you’re awful. You’re horrible. You’re done. God hates you.” No, he doesn’t say that to David at all. In chapter 12, he starts off with a story about these weird sheep and this guy that likes to sleep with his sheep. He tells the story about sheep and sleeping with sleep and feeding his sheep and a guy that sits the sheep at his table. He is the extreme dog lover of dog lovers, this guy, only it’s with a sheep.

He finds out in the story from Nathan that someone comes and steals his sheep. The person that steals his sheep is a rich person with lots of sheep. So David is furious about it. But what’s Nathan doing? Well, Nathan in a roundabout way, he’s beginning to speak into David’s life and to his heart because he knows David is in a very precarious place and he cares about David. We talked about in our own life the need for Nathans and not just people that will just tell you what they want you to hear or tell you what they think you should do. We’re talking about godly people that love the Lord, that want to see God’s best in your life, because sometimes we’re blind to our own failures.

We don’t see the things that we should. We need a place to invite Nathans into our life. God creates community for a reason. That’s one of the just difficult things of this year. It’s ripped community apart, but God’s people thrive in community. We need community. We need godly community and godly people around us to encourage us towards the Lord. We talked about last week, how do you invite those Nathans to speak in your life? We just said this, “You can ask one question.” Don’t do this for everybody, but one question. If you were me, what would you do differently?

Beautiful thought from chapter 11 and 12, but here comes the big question then for us. God certainly uses Nathans, but we still need to ask how do we move forward after sin and failure? Nathans are certainly tools in the hands of God that help our hearts begin to transform. But even if you have a friend like Nathan, if our heart is not in a godly place, you won’t respond in a godly way. So how do we rise from our failures? Right before we look at Psalm 51, I want to start in Genesis chapter 3. The reason why I want to do that is because it just gives me a quick snapshot of the three unhealthy ways we tend to respond in failure.

I want to look at all three, but I want to tell you one thing that unifies all of them. Let me talk about these three ways. In Genesis chapter 3, you’re familiar with this story, right? The eating of the fruit in the Garden. Some think it’s an apple, but I don’t know. Whatever it is, they eat of the fruit in the Garden after God tells them not to and sin takes place. That’s Genesis chapter 3. In 3:7-12, you see Adam and Eve’s response. I want you to know that the way they respond is not healthy. They do three different things here and not one of them is good.

But what you see in verse 7, it tells us verse 7. Look at this, maybe. Chapter 3, there we go. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they knew that they were naked and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves waist coverings.” So what it’s saying, 3:7, Adam and Eve realize they sinned and the first thing that they want to do is create religion. That’s what they do. They cover it up. They want to cover it up. They want to hide it. They don’t want people to be … They certainly don’t want God to be aware of it. So they run. They hide. They create the first manmade religion and they cover it up.

So first thing we tend to do as people when we realize we’ve messed up is we want to sort of make ourselves look … We put on the mask. We want to hide from it. We want to put on this outward appearance that everyone else might find acceptable. Just ignore this. Let’s put this in the closet and look at the façade that I put on you. That’s what religion teaches you to do. You just perform, perform, perform, and hopefully God looks at that and just completely just misses. God’s not even aware of the other stuff that might be hiding. You just pretend to be this.

Reality is we know there’s no good that you can do that will just remove bad. Religion leads to two things, pride or despair. You’ll get so arrogant that you really start believing what you’re selling or you’ll realize that no matter how hard you try you still can’t fix your heart and you walk out depressed and in despair. Second thing Adam and Eve does, verse 8, it says, “Now they heard the sound of the Lord walking and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord.” This is where we just try to sweep it under the rug and move away from it.

The man and his wife, they hide from God and they try to move away from Him, hoping that that just takes care of it. But really, it just delays the inevitable because one day you will meet God. So they try to cover. They try to hide. And then the third, this is great. I’ll tell you, guys, this puts you on the chopping block first. But don’t worry. The woman does the same thing next. It says, “Then the man said, ‘The woman who you gave to be with me, she gave me some of the fruit of the tree and I ate.'” So what you find in the story is they realize they sinned. They try to cover up, then they hide.

Then they hear God coming into the Garden and once God’s right before them, they’re like, “She did it.” Then she’s like, “The snake did it.” The last thing that they do is they try to blame shift. They try to justify their behavior. They try to make every excuse in the world. But reality is, you’re still responsible for what you do because, yes, there might be some circumstances that make things difficult and things are not always ideal. But you’re still responsible for you. The thing that unites all of this together, what Adam and Eve are really trying to do, and it’s not necessarily an ungodly thing that they’re tapping into here.

But what they’re after is their self-preservation. Self-preservation can be a good thing sometimes. It’s probably protected you from a lot of dumb things in life. But what they’re after here is their own self-preservation to the point that they’re covering, they’re hiding, and then they’re blaming just to try to protect themselves. But here’s the problem. Self-preservation is just an illusion in this story. The reason is it’s because Adam and Eve are already dead. They’re trying to protect themselves as if to fabricate life before God. But the truth is God is holy.

Coming before a holy God with any sin, any fight for self-preservation is not going to work because it’s simply an illusion. Before a holy God, anyone that brings any sin is already dead. That’s why God pursues them. When you read in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sin, they’re running from God. But what’s God doing? God’s coming after them because God knows what they need. So those are the unhealthy ways we tend to respond when we fall. But what I want to look at this morning and what’s more important for our souls is to discover the healthy ways we can and should respond when we fall.

I’m going to give you the two answers, but I just want to elaborate on them as we look at Psalm 51. The two answers are this. Number one, when we look at the life of David, David offers godly confession. Number two, David clings to God and His promises. So those are the healthy ways, godly confession, clinging to God alone, I should say, and His promises. When we think about our falls, coming back from our failures and finding our soul enriched, the problem isn’t … Well, let me say, the problem is self. I mean that’s what we’re looking at in Genesis chapter 3.

Adam and Eve continue to look at themselves as the solution to the adversity that they’re facing. That’s why they led to self-preservation. It’s all on my shoulders. But reality is, when you’re dead, there’s nothing that you can do to fix it. So what do you need? You need a grace and a life outside of you to resuscitate you, to forgive you. So in Psalm 51, this is what we find is that David offers this godly confession. This is why it becomes a need. In Psalm 51:3, look what David says. He comes to this place where as you looked at Adam and Eve and all the ways that they wrestled and tried to fix them, David finally just says, “Look, I’ve tried all this. I’ve tried to cover up my tracks. I’ve tried to run and hide and God sends Nathan. I tried maybe even to blame. But here’s the reality that I faced.”

Psalm 51:3, “For I know my wrongdoings and my sin is constantly before me.” This is what he’s saying. It doesn’t work. That doesn’t work. I am still aware of everything and it still has an effect on me and I can’t figure out how to get past this. So David offers godly confession. Look in verse 4. He brings his sin to the Lord. I want you to just consider how open David’s heart is, how raw he is, how transparent he is before God as you read this. He’s not running. He’s not hiding. He’s not covering it up. But look what he says. “Against you and you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight so that you, God, are justified when you speak and blameless when you judge.”

David had said the same thing to Nathan in 2 Samuel 12:13, “Against the Lord I have sinned.” When you look at this passage at first glance, what makes this so incredible is when you start to think about it, in the story that this is coming off of, you would stop and just say, “What is David talking about here?” Against you and you only have I sinned. I mean, David, do you not realize how your sin has affected so many people? Do you not realize that when you sent Uriah into battle not only did Uriah die and his family suffer the consequences of that, but the people around Uriah also died and all of their families are suffering because of that?

When you think about what you’ve done and you just simply say, “Against you and you only have I sinned,” are you even considering the consequences of what has taken place and the ripple effect of relationship? How in the world can you make a statement like that? Against you and you only have I sinned. Well, what’s incredible about this statement is David’s statement is correct. Obviously, it’s the healthiest view of sin that we can hold onto. I think understanding this statement becomes the cure that our soul needs for resurrected life in Jesus.

Most of the time when we think about sin and the effects of our sin, we think in terms of the consequences. We tend to think in terms of self and others. When we blow it, the guilt and the difficulty that we face in that, oftentimes we think horizontally. “Aw man, I can’t believe that that happened. It hurt others. It was an embarrassment to me.” So maybe if we are godly, we include God in that. “God, I’m sorry that I hurt others and it was an embarrassment to me.” We tend to think about self and we tend to think about others. What we don’t oftentimes consider is how that sin originates truly as an offense against God.

David could have approached the consequences of his sin here and he could have said, “Look, God, I feel so awful. I’m thinking about the families that have been impacted by this, the way the kingdom’s going to be impacted by this, how embarrassing this is to me.” And then David comes to God and he says, “So God, I’m sorry. Sorry.” Oftentimes, when we see something like that, we would even say that maybe in biblical terms, “Yeah, David turned from his sin.” We would even use the word, repented. That’s what that statement is. But really, is it? Is it, if we were to say that is all that we’re repenting from is the way that it affected others and ourselves?

What’s the motivation behind that? Is it just self-preservation? Does it really take God’s perspective into account? So I think our typical way in addressing our failures only addresses the results of the problem or the consequences of the problem. It doesn’t often get to the problem itself. It just treats or goes for the symptoms. But godly confession, what we find in this verse, godly confession is about first recognizing the offense against God before anything else. I think the most important thing or the healthiest thing to understand why consequences are the way they are is because of the way God has ordained all of life and Him being the ultimate authority in everything.

In fact, if you think what exactly is sin? I told you this is a little heavy in the beginning. But what exactly is sin? Well, in 1 John chapter 3, look at this passage. 1 John chapter 3, it gives us just a simplistic definition of sin. Look at this. “Sin is lawlessness.” But here’s the question to beg, whose law and what law? Whose law? Whose authority? Because oftentimes when we think about confession or turning from something or the consequences of something, we’re thinking in terms not in the idea of the lawgiver, but how relationships are affected here in the horizontal.

So we fail to see that the ultimate thought of sin or what makes sin sin isn’t in how it impacts others in a negative way, because it’s possible to do things that are wrong that don’t have that type of effect on a relationship but, rather, how it’s an offense to the ultimate lawgiver. What makes sin sin isn’t the way it hurts others. What makes sin sin is God Himself. Does that make sense? God is the reason behind why things are right or things are wrong. So when we think about, just give you an example in life. We think in terms of the idea of maybe murder or greed or lust or even lying. What makes those things wrong?

This is the dilemma that people that don’t believe in God have to continually wrestle with because they have no justification for arguing why everyone in this world should obey certain moral oughts. Like if there is no God, who says murder’s wrong? If you just morphed from a fish, who cares what you do? By the way, if you morphed from a fish, is it okay to eat fish? Those are your ancestors, right? Committing murder, but what makes murder wrong? Who cares. Eat fish. Who says lying’s wrong? It should just be about survival of the fittest. You do what’s best for you. If you get caught and a group of people seem to think it’s wrong, maybe to them it’s wrong. But to you, it doesn’t have to be.

There’s no moral ought. But you know that’s not true. There’s something deep within you that without even anyone ever telling you, to harm someone else affects you. It affects all of us. Why? Because there’s this moral law within the heart of humanity. Yes, it’s depraved. Yes, we do things we shouldn’t. But it’s there. Where did it come from? The only answer’s moral lawgiver. So when we break moral law, that’s what sin is. God Himself is the one that establishes it, right from wrong, good and evil. So any time we sin, it’s always, always, always … Yes, there’s consequences, but it’s always first an offense against God.

Now, let me explain. When we murder, murdering hurts people certainly, the consequences of sin. It affects people in a negative way, certainly. But it’s always first an offense against God because God is the giver of life. God made every human being in His image. So to come against someone else in a violent way is always first an attack on the creator who designed that person in God’s image. That’s what makes greed wrong. I mean greed, everything in this world, I know that you think that you own things, but everything in this world actually belongs to God. It all belongs to Him.

All we are as human beings, we’re simply stewards. God allows certain things to pass through my hands that might be different than what God allows to pass through your hands. But truthfully, it all belongs to God because God created it all. So we’re accountable to God for what we do with the things that we steward that ultimately belong to Him. That’s why greed, greed is about honoring yourself and making it all about self. But truly, it’s all about God and glorifying Him. Sexuality and what we do with our sexuality in our culture today, man, people, I don’t know what …

When we view our sexuality all about us, then we see its purpose for about personal gratification and what I can get and all about me. God made certainly your sexuality, He created it for a purpose for you to enjoy and delight, but the ultimate purpose for God created it was for you to be able to give yourself away in it. It’s a gift. Problem comes when we take possession of it as if it’s ours, by our authority to do what we want, that we usurp God’s authority for the reason for which He created it. We start to use sexuality as if it’s about our personal glorification rather than God creating things for His own glorification.

Rather than see sexuality as a gift to give to bless ultimately or most ultimately in marital relationship, we see it as a tool in order for us to give to gratify our self. So rather than be selfless as Jesus calls us to in this world to bless, we become selfish. In fact, there’s studies that say, guys, when you struggle with pornography, the idea of pornography is all about using people as a tool for your own personal pleasure. Rather than see sexuality as a gift where people have to give to someone in the most intimate of forms, you start to leverage someone else not as an image bearer of God but rather a tool to serve you. And what happens? You take advantage and you destroy.

Any time you use your position to glorify yourself for your power, what we ultimately do is end up pillaging this world. God created us to honor Him and bless others. Or you think in terms of something simplistic like lying. What makes lying wrong? Well, it’s because it hurts people. No, that’s not what makes lying wrong. That’s the consequences of lying, but that’s not what makes lying wrong. What makes lying wrong is God is truth itself. God is a truth teller. God made you in His image to honor truth because God is truth. So when you tell a lie, it certainly can have consequences against people. But before it ever has a consequence against people, it violates the very nature of God and you being created in His image. Me too.

That’s what David is saying in this moment. You want to know David would say, “Why I did what I did? It’s because I saw this world through my lens as king and everything was here for my purpose and my glory. So what did I do? I hurt everyone else in the wake.” But now David is saying in this verse, “But now I recognize it’s not me, it’s God. The reason that I followed this path is I took God off His throne and I put me in His place. The consequences of that, I see. But the reality is, against God and God alone have I sinned.” In Romans 5:10, it says, “While we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son. Much more having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

Here’s what it says. For all of us, just like David, all of us are enemies of God. That’s not fun to swallow. But all of us, all of us see things in this world for our glory, usurping the position of all things created for God’s glory. It’s offense to God. It’s lawless. One day you’re going to come before the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. But here’s the good news in the rest of the verse. It doesn’t just leave us there. But it wants us to recognize that, look, just like Adam and Eve in the beginning, self-preservation is the illusion. God created us to know Him, to delight in Him, and to live for His glory.

If we just keep putting these roadblocks up of our performance or hiding from God or blaming others, then we’ll never get to that place of just totally laying ourselves bare before God to let His healing work happen in our lives. I love to be of Christianity because what it is about is, man, finally you get to a place where you just completely die to yourself. Man, I am sick of me. Just living life for me, all about me, because here’s what I find in doing that, that nothing truly satisfies my soul. The reason is because you weren’t created for you. You were created for Him.

We get to come to this place where we finally can just die to self and be like, “What have I been doing? What in the world have I made my life about? How did I get to where I am? It’s just everything I do, it feels like it just produces death and continues to be nothing more than just death. For a little bit I might hold it together, but it doesn’t take long before I’m off the rails.” But guys, here’s the great news. God meets you right there. That is the most beautiful place to be before the Lord, totally raw and open, just saying, “God, have your way in me.” As you see in Romans 10, we are enemies of God. But look, we are reconciled to God through the death of His Son.

It’s not about what you did. It’s not about your covering. It’s not about how well you hid things from God. It’s about how God has pursued you and how God has reconciled things with you and how God has saved your life through Him. So David moves on in the story from there. Look at the rest of this passage. What you see in Psalm 51:1, David clings to the Lord and His promises. He doesn’t make excuses, but he simply just clings to the Lord and His promises. David seeks God’s grace and forgiveness. When you read Psalm 51:1-2, the way David changes in this passage isn’t by looking at the consequences of his sin.

The way David changes in this passage isn’t by just looking at the fear of punishment like, “I don’t want that.” Here’s the danger, guys, in sharing a message like this is if I just only share what I shared in the beginning and I don’t get to the second half, what we’re going to feel like we’re doing is avoiding the lightning bolts of God for the rest of our lives. That is an awful way to live as a follower of Jesus. No one should live like that. God doesn’t want you to make your life all about not doing bad things. God created you to know Him and enjoy that and live for His glory. That should be what life’s about, to be able to put the past in the past and to walk forward in the newness of life.

Yes, sometimes we make decisions that have consequences on relationship and it takes time to rebuild trust. That can be true. But Jesus doesn’t want you to be prisoner of your past. Jesus wants you to delight in His goodness and joy all the days of your life. That’s why Jesus went to the cross. That’s what Jesus did for you. But we’ve got to get to this place where we recognize within our spiritual lives anytime as a believer you mess up, anytime we do anything that we know that we shouldn’t have done, that the first thing that we think about is not running and hiding, but running straight towards God because of His goodness and grace.

That’s what Psalm 51’s about. Look at this. “Be gracious to me, oh God, according to your faithfulness.” I love that phrase, because you know what I’m not? I’m not always faithful, but God is. Be faithful to me, God, according to your goodness and grace. According to the greatness of your compassion, wipe out my wrongdoings. Wash me thoroughly from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin. David is clinging to the Lord and His promises. Guys, we have the ability to do this too. I read Romans 5:10, but if I just backed up in Romans for a moment, in Romans 5:6 it says, “For while we were still helpless at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous person, though perhaps for the good person someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

So that’s the God that David became familiar with in the Old Testament, that even though people continued to fall and even though they faltered and even though difficult things happened, I mean you saw this out of the leaders in the Old Testament we talked about last week. Abraham and Moses, they weren’t perfect. But God was always faithful. God pursued Adam and Eve in the Garden. That’s what He’s saying in Romans 8. God demonstrates His love towards you and while you’re yet a sinner, Christ died. God pursued you in the darkest of moments. There is always hope in your circumstance. That’s what Psalm 51 is about.

There is always hope in your circumstance. You see as you read this whole psalm that David goes from this place of confession because he realizes what he’s done before God to the place of rejoicing because of the goodness of God and the grace that’s made known in his life. I love this. In Psalm 51:10, look what he says. He gives these final phrases here that just the beauty of this passage, what we should all be seeking after in Christ and rejoicing together when we talk out of this building because this is what you have. This is the promise of God in Jesus as you trust in Him.

He says, “Create me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence and do not take your Holy Spirit from me.” Now, in the Old Testament, I think the spirit of God didn’t permanently dwell with people. In the New Testament, if you’re in Jesus, you have the Spirit of God. It doesn’t leave you. But here’s what you see in David’s heart here. David could have said, “God, please forgive me because I’m really embarrassed by my decisions.” Or David could have said, “God, please forgive me because of the bad things I’ve seen happen now in the lives of others because of my decisions.”

Yes, there is reconciliation that has to happen in relationships when things go wrong. But you know what David shows us here? His pursuit. His pursuit is not about self and self-preservation in relationship in this world. That’s not where he starts. David doesn’t just start looking after his own interests, “God, take this away from me so I can get back to me and I can get past all the bad stuff.” David, rather, makes his pursuit about the Lord. “You know what I need more than anything? I need you. I need you. You’re the only one that can heal. I need you.”

Guys, I think that’s where we get to that godly place in our life where we finally realize as we look at everything else, good and bad and everything in between, what my soul needs more than anything is just Jesus. I need Jesus. Sometimes, guys, I know when we look at a phrase like this, it’s poetically beautiful. But sometimes we have this doubting within us. We wrestle with what we’ve done in life. Maybe like David in verse 3, it’s ever in front of you. You think, “Yeah, but I still feel like in my soul I need to hide or I need to cover it up or I need to blame and justify or how could God forgive me?”

Can I tell you, if you wrestle there when you fail, can I tell you you think too much of yourself and think too little of God. I mean that’s what Psalm 51 should say to us. You look at David’s life and you consider all that’s transpired in his decisions. That’s a rough situation. But here’s a great thought, guys, because of the greatness of God, it’s not beyond His hope. It’s not beyond His ability to transform and it’s not beyond His grace. We struggle with things, even I think sometimes with good intentions because they’re not God’s intentions.

God is greater. What David is showing God by talking about, “Against you and you alone have I sinned,” is really how small he is in the greatness and the goodness of his God. That’s why David clings to His promises. Jesus is not interested in making you a prisoner. Jesus is interested in setting you free. Learning this in the beginning of your relationship with God and learning to carry this throughout your relationship with God, I think, is invaluable to a healthy walk with the Lord. I’ll give you this from one other end in John chapter 8 and we’ll close here.

In John 8, you know the story. It actually begins in the end of the John 7 and goes into John chapter 8. But in John 8, you find the story of the woman that’s caught in adultery. She’s brought out before Jesus and all these people have stones in their hand. They’re ready to kill her and then Jesus says … I love how this story goes. Jesus says, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” And then it says, “One by one, from the older to the younger, they start walking away.” I love how it says that, “From the older to the younger.” It’s like the older people have lived life long enough to know, “I don’t want people knowing what I’ve done, so I’m getting out of here.”

So from the older to the younger, they start walking away. And then Jesus gives this incredible statement in John 8:11. I love this. Jesus does something that’s a paradigm shift to how we typically think. This is so powerful to how Jesus views us. He says this, “Jesus said, I do not condemn you either. Go. From now on, do not sin any longer.” Let me tell you why this is such an incredible statement, because our religious way of thinking tends to say this, “Go and sin no longer and then Jesus won’t condemn you. Go and perform. Put up the façade. Hide. Run. Do whatever you need to do to demonstrate how great you are so that God doesn’t condemn you.”

But you know what Jesus says? Grace of God is bigger than that. The love of God can transform this moment. Jesus says, “I don’t condemn you. Because I don’t condemn you, go and sin no more.” Do you know why Jesus says it that way? Because in this woman’s moment, her life being spared by someone so gracious and loving towards her, the pursuit of her heart now is to love in response. You think about this. I have a friend that likes to point this out. The next time this woman gets into trouble, maybe the next time she falls, where’s she going to go? Is she going to go to the individuals that wanted to stone her? No.

You know where she’s going? Straight to Jesus. Straight to Jesus, because He lets her be honest in her failures, but to still find life and to be able to move forward in Him. Guys, that is the goodness of God is that we get to come to the cross every day we blow it and just say, “God, here was me in my flesh. I took my place before you and I took what was rightfully yours. God, this is what I did. God, I need healing. God, thank you that in my darkest of moments, even while I live as an enemy of you, that your grace never ends and your mercy is new every morning.”

How do you get up from your failures? You ready? Stop thinking about you and start resting in the greatness of a God who gave His life for you. Yes, there are things to work through in relationships when you fail. Yes, rebuilding trust takes time. But God’s mercy is new every morning and God doesn’t want you to be a prisoner. God wants to set you free so you could live for the purpose that you’re called for in Him and run.