If we humbly
confess our sins and failures, the Lord faithfully forgives us and
immediately restores our fellowship with Him: “If we confess our
sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse
us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). But He doesn’t stop
there. He immediately schedules another chance for us to obey,
providentially arranging another situation spiritually similar to the
one in which we failed.
Why? To punish us further by cruelly
reminding us of our failures? No, His kind purpose is just the
opposite. He wants us to be able to forget our failures completely.
So He provides us with another chance that we might avenge our
spiritual defeats and live thereafter in the joy of overcoming rather
than the frustration of failure. He wants us to be more than
forgiven; He wants us victorious! Joyful! Soaring!
surprisingly, our Creator understands our deepest thoughts. He knows
that even when we believe that we’re forgiven, the memories of our
past failures tend to linger and vex us. Like David, we sometimes
feel as if our sins are always before us (see Ps. 51:3).
In His mercy, therefore, our Father arranges “replacement tests”
or “supplemental exams” for His discouraged students, so our
troublesome memories may be cleared and replaced forever with
pleasant memories of tests overcome and victories won. As David also
wrote, “For by thee have I run through a troop [of enemies]; and by
my God have I leaped over a wall [of opposition]” (Ps. 18:29, KJV,
Jesus’ blood gives us the peace of forgiveness, but only our
obedience in tests gives us the joy of overcoming. After redeeming
our pasts with fresh victories, we can close the chapter on our
season of trials, the agitation of regret gone, and “joy
unspeakable and full of glory” abiding (1 Peter 1:8).
The ministry of second chances is one
of God’s ways taught throughout the Bible. Jonah and Peter
exemplify it best.
Another chance for Jonah. When
God first ordered Jonah to preach to Ninevah, he went in the opposite
direction. He flatly rebelled and was unwilling to offer God’s
grace to the ungracious, ungodly, bullying nation of Assyria.
His rebellion brought swift, divine
chastisement. After experiencing a terrifying storm and a three-day
stay in a fish’s stomach, Jonah cried out with genuine repentance.
God faithfully forgave him, but the divine dealings did not end
promptly arranged for Jonah to be tested again as he had been tested
before: “And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah a second time,
saying, Arise, go into Ninevah” (Jonah 3:1-2, emphasis added).
In this second call, Jonah clearly
recognized that he was being given another chance and had a perfect
opportunity to redeem his earlier failure. What followed was one of
history’s greatest revivals.
Another chance for Peter. Under
severe testing in the high priest’s courtyard, Peter broke down and
failed the Lord. He denied Him three times. Then Jesus turned and
looked at him. That one look inflicted more pain than a thousand
Peter failed the Lord terribly at the
most crucial moment and he knew it—and could do nothing about it!
Or so he thought. But God graciously gave him “godly sorrow” (2
Cor. 7:10), and in the throes of his greatest personal defeat to
date, Peter wept his way through to repentance and confession.
After His death and resurrection, the
Lord personally commissioned Peter for his ministry. So when Jesus
ascended several days later, Peter was more than a forgiven man.
Thanks to his second chance, he was fully restored, recharged and
ready to lead!
Here is encouragement for every
Christian. If we fail God under trial, we need not succumb to
despair. Final defeat is not inevitable, nor is a lasting victory out
While expecting another chance, our
next trial may be identical to the one we just failed, a déjà-vu
experience like Jonah’s “second time.” Or it may be spiritually
similar yet visually different. Also remember your supplemental exam
may come immediately or eventually days or years later. But come it
will. God never misses a detail.
Whenever He sends you another chance,
seize it. Where you feared before, trust. Where you held back
earlier, give. Where you denied the Lord previously, confess. Where
up until now you’ve been hardhearted, be kind and gentle. Where you
formerly compromised Christ’s righteousness stand unyielding. Where
you stopped short in the past, press on to the finish. Then you can
exchange the shame and frustration of defeat for the irrepressible
joy of an enduring victory. As Isaiah said, the Father will give
“them that mourn in Zion … the oil of joy for mourning [and] the
garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Is. 61:3).
Adapted from Spiritual Truths for
Overcoming Adversity by Greg Hinnant, copyright 2010, published by
Creation House. This book explores the deep mystery of adversity,
revealing God’s loving guidance, wisdom, and purpose in Christian
difficulties. It will help you understand and cooperate with God so
He can mature your faith and prepare you for full usefulness. To
order a copy click on this link:
PRAYER POWER FOR THE WEEK OF 5/21/2012
Thank God for another chance at
redemption. Confess your shortcomings, fears, faults and failures and
rely on his total forgiveness and restoration. Intercede for our
nation and ask Him for yet another chance to spread the gospel and
usher in revival. Pray for our young people and ask the Lord to
release angels to war on their behalf and protect them from the
seduction of the enemy. Pray that the body of Christ would stand firm
on His Word, be united in passion and purpose for His will, and do
things His way. Pray for the upcoming elections and the protection of
Israel. Call America back to its biblical foundations, shatter
deception with God’s Truth, and bring His love and presence into
the dark corners of our communities. 2 Cor. 7:10; 1 John 1:9
To enrich your prayer
life and learn how to strategically pray with power by using appropriate
scriptures, we recommend the following sources by Apostle John Eckhardt: Prayers that Rout Demons, Prayers that Bring Healing, Prayers that Release Heaven on Earth and Prayers that Break
Curses. To order any or all of these click here.