World renowned comedian, television host, radio personality, actor, and author Steve Harvey, performed a standup comedy show called, “Don’t Trip…He Ain’t Through With Me Yet.” For those familiar with Steve’s routines you know that he can be pretty raw with his material. But what a lot of people do not know is that Steve is also a Christian and in 2015 he was invited to perform at Megafest, a four-day event presented by renowned evangelist Bishop T.D. Jakes. In the routine Steve touched on subjects such as family, marriage, faith, and his relationship with God. Steve is frank about the fact that he is still a work in progress (as we all are) and people should not trip about nor question his relationship with God. In other words, be patient because God is still perfecting him.
In the church there are a few cliché’s that are used by Christians who are trying to justify or explain away (for lack, of a better term) a mistake that they have made. Some of those cliché’s are, (1) I’m still a work in progress; (2) God is still working on me; and my all time favorite (3) God knows my heart. While these statements are over used and dare I say abused, they do hold some truth. Philippians 1:6 says, “being confident of this very thing, that he who has begun a good work will complete it until the coming of Christ.” What this means to me is that the work the Lord is doing in me is the process of sanctifying me and making me look more like him. It is also a reminder that not only is God working on me but also all who are in Christ Jesus. Therefore I must be cautious in my criticizing of others because they too are being perfected.
But also I must be mindful about being critical of my own life…mistakes I have made. I am encouraged by 2 Corinthians 5:17 which tells me, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are becoming new.” This is encouraging because it gives me hope that when I make mistakes, God is still working on me. I had to remind myself of that recently. I had to remind myself that as long as I occupy this earthly body, I will make mistakes. I am not immune to them. But God bestows such an amazing gift called Grace upon us that allows each of us to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and continue to press toward the mark of the price of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).
I have heard it said that history will repeat itself until the lesson is learned and let’s just say, history is repeating itself in my life. But if I believe that God is all-knowing then I also must believe that he knew I would be writing this blog, about this very thing, on this very date. He knew history would repeat itself in my life and he has already made provision for it.
So now how do I bounce back from this mistake? Where do I go from here? The first thing I must do is acknowledge the mistake; confess it to God and ask God for forgiveness. The bible tells me that God is so amazing and so awesome that once I confess it to God, he will case it as far as the east is from the west, and he will remember it no more (Psalm 103:12). Secondly, I have to put forth the effort to not do whatever it was I did to get here. By any means necessary I must do whatever it takes to change. Third, I must find and study what God says about the issue. This step is essential as it will replace all of the wrong thoughts with God’s thoughts. In doing this I will begin to clear the way for total restoration. Fourth, what are the triggers, bad habits, etc., that got me here in the first place? Whatever they are, I must find an accountability partner that will help me to stay on track. I also need to setup boundaries in my life that will make it darn near impossible to repeat this mistake again. Next, seek counsel!! I desire someone who is able to speak into my life and provide a fresh perspective on how to fix my brokenness. In addition to seeking counsel, I need to make sure I surround myself with persons who will not ridicule me but rather encourage me and help me to do what is right. Finally, I must understand that a commitment is required for real change. The issue is not going to be resolved overnight. There are no quick fixes. The bible tells me that the Christian life is not a sprint, rather it is a marathon. So I must be committed to the process for the long haul.
I am a work in progress. God is never caught off guard and uses each of my mistakes to make me a better person. One of my favorite scriptures says, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.” The caveat to that I believe is, not even the weapons I formed against myself will prosper. So like Steve I say to you, ‘don’t trip—He ain’t through with me yet.’