Have you ever done something as soon as you did it you wanted to take it back? Yeah, I have been there too. In the 2018, US Open, Phil Mickelson was putting on the 13th hole (glad I am not superstitious) when he missed the putt. The ball was picking up speed and sure to run off the green. Mr. Mickelson ran to catch up with the ball and hit it back towards the hole while it was still moving. He double putted again after that. Hitting the ball while it is still moving is a two shot penalty. But far worse than a penalty, it offended the golf world. I am sure he would take a mulligan on thirteen.
The bad news is that we mess things up. We complicate our lives. In Ecclesiastes 7:29, King Solomon writes, “God made us plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated” (Good News Translation).
We complicate our lives.
The good news is God is a God of second chances. In the book of Jonah, God demonstrates His grace over and over. Jonah gets a word from God to go to Nineveh, but he heads to Tarshish instead. So God sends a storm to get Jonah’s attention. Eventually the sailors throw Jonah overboard and the storm subsides immediately. The sailors got a second chance and began to worship God.
Jonah got a second chance too. God sent a giant fish to keep Jonah from drowning. Jonah got three days to process his decisions and chose to return to the Lord. God had the fish deposit Jonah on the shore. He headed off to Nineveh.
In Jonah 3, Jonah delivers God’s message to the Ninevites. They repented and God gave them a second chance. Instead of destroying the city, God gave them grace.
God is a God of second chances!
Let me ask you, “What have you messed up?” God is ready to give you a second chance. There are many responses to second chances.
- Some are too proud to accept it.
- Some doubt and reject it.
- Others abuse it and think it is a license.
- Still others embrace it and use it to turn their lives around.
How about you? How will you respond to God’s offer of a second chance?
It would be easy to hit send and end this right hear. Maybe I should, but there is something more to this that I have to share. The second chance is to get things right. That means to obey God rather than ignore Him.
But I have learned something over the last three decades of following Jesus: Obedience is not doing what God wants me to do. Obedience is allowing God to do what He wants to do through me.
I mess things up because I cannot do what God has asked of me. Instead I do the very things I don’t want to do (read Romans 7:15-20). See that is the problem. Religion is all about doing things to somehow please God and make Him love me. but I cannot do it. But here is the secret, He already loves me. He is already pleased with me in Christ.
Let’s quite trying harder which leads to falling harder, and just accept God’s love and join Him in the work He is already doing!
Jesus said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27). Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. The life I now life in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” And again Paul writes in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
I cannot do it, but Christ can do it through me! This takes the pressure to perform out of the picture. It does not take away my responsibility. Christianity is about accepting God’s invitation into an intimate relationship. When we do this He invites us to join Him on a joyous adventure to love others.
Need a mulligan? I do all the time. Let’s quite trying harder which leads to falling harder, and just accept God’s love and join Him in the work He is already doing!