Robert Jeffress - How Can I Know How To Start Over When I've Blown It - Part 2
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. So many people in our generation, are living in a private world of endless torment, secretly bearing a burden of guilt. They're resigned, they're reliving their failures of the past, but God provides a much better plan. It's a liberating plan that relieves us from the guilt and shame of our mistakes. Are you ready to apply that forgiveness in your life? We're answering the question, how can I know, how to start over when I've blown it, on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
Am I sentenced to a lifetime of hell while living on earth for the failure in my life? Perhaps you're asking the same question as well. A divorce, a termination from a job, an addiction. A financial setback, has left you sitting on the ash heap of a ruined life, and you're wondering can I ever recover from this mistake? If that's true of you, I have some bad news and some good news to share with you today. The bad news is you cannot erase your failures from your past. History has no rewind button on it. But the good news is, your failure does not have to be the final chapter of your life story. You can experience a new beginning and that's what we're going to talk about in this session.
How can I know how to start over when I've blown it? After we admit our mistake, after we experienced the refreshment that comes from God's forgiveness, we need to be prepared number three, for a time of waiting for God's direction. A new beginning in life always has a time of waiting for God's direction. In my book, second chance, second act, I talked about the concept of intermissions in life. An intermission is simply that period of time between your failure and your future. To be real specific that intermission is the time between the end of one relationship and the beginning of a new relationship. It's the time between your termination from one job and the beginning of a new job. It's that time between financial bankruptcy and financial solvency.
The fact is when we failed big time in our life, we have the idea that the curtain has come down on our life, and our life as we know it is over. But that's not true. It is true that the first act of our life may be over. But there is a second act that will come after that period known as intermission. Most of us hate intermissions in life. We're ready to jump from one failure, into the next big thing in our life. But that is never God's plan for us. God has always used life intermissions to prepare his people for their future.
And think about the nation of Judah, they rebelled against God and God sent them into Babylonian captivity. Their intermission was 70 years long while they were exiled in Babylon. But God used that period of time to prepare them for their future. And finally, God said enough and he brought them back to their homeland. Or think about the apostle Peter, his intermission was seven weeks long. The period of time between that time when he denied Christ three times and Caiaphas's courtyard. Seven weeks later he was up preaching that marvelous sermon at Pentecost or courageous defender of the faith. God used those seven weeks to prepare Peter, none of us likes intermissions, but the fact is waiting time doesn't have to be wasted time.
I want to suggest to you some benefits that can come from that intermission, that period of time between your failure and your future. First of all, intermissions in life are a time to replenish our emotional and our physical energy. When you fail or even when you succeed it exacts a heavy emotional and physical cost on you. Remember the story of Elijah? 1 Kings 18 are great battle for the gods on mount Carmel where Elijah defeated the prophets of Bale, and immediately he ran and fled from queen Jezebel and he ran that long distance and he collapsed under a juniper tree, and he said, Lord, take my life. He was physically, emotionally, spiritually exhausted. That's what happens when you experience failure and success.
What did God do? He gave him a self imposed vacation. He said, Elijah, I want you to do nothing but eat, drink and sleep, eat, drink and sleep. And finally, after a period of days, Elijah regained his perspective on life and returned to his mighty prophetic role.
Sometimes we need an intermission, just to replenish our physical, emotional and spiritual batteries. Did you know that sometimes the most spiritual thing you could do would be to take a nap, not read your Bible, not listen to praise music, just take a nap. We are spiritual, emotional, but we're also physical beings and God uses intermissions to give us a time to do just that. Secondly, intermissions are a time to reflect on our failure as well as our future. It can be a time to first of all, reflect, not wallow in but reflect on our failure. When you find yourself in this wall, think back on your failure and ask yourself some key questions. I've listed them for you.
First of all, ask yourself have I really failed or just fallen short of an unrealistic goal? Some of our failures aren't failures at all. We've just had an unrealistic expectation. Is my failure the result of other people, adverse circumstances or my own wrong choices? Whom do I know who has made the same mistake and recovered from it? What can I do differently in the future to prevent a similar failure? Is there anything in my life that is displeasing to God? Sometimes our failures result of a failure before God. Sometimes it has nothing to do with failing God. But this is also a time and intermission to reflect about our future as well.
I have a friend who was terminated from a job, I think it was on a Thursday afternoon. He called me and told me, I thought we'll give you some great advice. I want you to go home this weekend and not think about anything related to your job and your termination. Try to relax, unwind, but when Monday morning comes around, get up shower dress, just like you were going to work at the same time and sit down at your desk. And I want to suggest some questions you ought to use this time, this intermission the answer about your future. What three things would I like to accomplish before I die? Am I in the vocation I want to be in 10 years from now? What do I feel most passionately about in life? What do other people think I'm gifted to do? What would be an ideal day for me? Where would I be living? What job would I have? What people what I have around me?
Now, by the way, you shouldn't wait for an intermission to ask yourself those questions. It'd be good to just take a couple of hours on a Saturday, sit down with a cup of coffee and ask yourself those directional questions about your future. Once your intermission has concluded, it's time number four, for starting over with a new beginning. Starting over with a new beginning. Now hat involves first of all planning for your new beginning, planning for your new beginning. While you're in your time of intermission, I want to suggest that you write down an outline, a plan for your future. I call it your second act script.
Now I know whenever I talk about something like this, I always have these people who are more spiritual than God write me an email and say, oh, that's just positive thinking Mumbo-Jumbo. We shouldn't plan, we ought to just trust the sovereignty of God. Look, all of us live under the sovereignty of God. We know whatever plans we make, God can overrule at any moment. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't plan. In fact, the Bible extolled the virtues of planning, outlining what we would like to see happen in the future. Jot down these verses, Proverbs 16 verse three, "commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established". Proverbs 20 verse 18, "prepare plans by consultation and make war by wise guidance". Proverbs 21 verse five, "the plans of the diligent surely lead to advantage. But everyone who is hasty, that is without plans, come surely to poverty".
Now, as you think about your future, this new beginning script, I'm going to suggest four elements that ought to be in your script. It can be just one or two pages. But first of all, there ought to be the clarification of the problem you're facing. Use a phrase or a single word to describe, the problem you're facing. It might be divorce, addiction, financial failure, or termination. But for sake of this illustration, let's just imagine the problem you're facing, is from termination, you've lost your job. And so you're in this intermission time, between the losing of a job and your next job. That's the problem, termination.
Secondly, you're plan not to have the visualization of your goal. In one sentence, describe what you would like to have happen in your situation. For example, you might say, I would like to have a job that is both rewarding and secure, that's the ultimate goal. So you've clarified the problem, you've visualized the goal, number three, the identification of barriers. What is it that is keeping you from having a job that is fulfilling and secure? You might write down several barriers, you might say, well, I've got limited amount of contacts in that field that I really want to be in. And maybe the lack of educational requirements to fulfill the requirements for that job. You may be living in the wrong geographical area, to take advantage of that career, identification of barriers.
Number four, specification of action steps. Okay, what are you going to do now to remove those barriers that are keeping you from your present and your future? Again, maybe you say, I just got limited contacts in that particular field, I would like to be in. So you might write down some action steps, you might say, well, I want to contact two or three people I know in that field, who might give me additional names. I might go to a seminar, in this particular vocational field where I could meet other people, you get the idea. Once you've identified those barriers, then you can come up with action steps that become your to do list. Once you have your second act script and you're doing this during your intermission, you are ready to begin your new beginning. Begin your new beginning.
Now here's the $64, 000 question. How do I know when my intermission is over? And God is saying, it's time to begin your new beginning how many of you remember the movie Mary Poppins? Remember Mary Poppins? I used to watch that endlessly with my little girls, Mary Poppins, I just about have it memorized. But remember, at the beginning of Mary Poppins, they do this shot of a weather vane that does a 180, and that weather vane turning around signals that it's time for Mary Poppins to blow in. And so when that weather vane turns, Mary Poppins appears for the entire two hours and 30 minutes of the movie, and then at the end of the movie, they have a shot of the weather vane, turning again. Signaling that time for Mary Poppins to disappear, until the Disney people want to bring her back and re-release and earn some more money.
But you know, there's always a signal that when she's coming in when she's leaving. I've often thought wouldn't it be nice, if we could look at a weather vane to tell us when a major change is coming in our life. Wouldn't it be nice if God gave us some sign that it's time to begin this new beginning. Well, the fact is God does give us indications, when something new is about to happen in our life. For example, when you're looking for whether or not it's time to begin your new beginning, look for changes number one in your attitude.
Have you quit blaming other people for your failure and instead are willing to accept responsibility for your mistake? Look for changes secondly, in your emotions, are you emotionally and physically exhausted still? Do you find it difficult to get out of bed? Or are you starting to feel refreshed and ready for that second act in life?
Number three, look for changes in your circumstances. Many times God brings unexpected circumstances into our life to signal it's time for our new beginning. That may be a phone call out of the blue from a job recruiter who is trying to gauge our interest in a particular career. It might be an invitation to dinner, with somebody we're interested in developing a relationship with. It may be the departure of your last child from home. But look for a change in your circumstance that may signal it's time for a new beginning.
Remember the story of Moses and the Israelites? For them, the signal that it was time for a new beginning he was a change in Pharaoh's heart. For 400 years, the Israelites had been slaves in Egypt. Moses had come to Pharaoh and said on nine different times, let my people go. And Pharaoh said, no way. That's what it says in the Hebrew, no way. But the 10th time, Pharaoh said, go, get out of here. Leave as quickly as you can. And so the Israelites got up in the middle of the night, they packed up and off they went toward the Promised Land. By the way, when Pharaoh said, go, the Israelites didn't sit down with a cup of coffee and said, well, let's work on our new beginning script. Where would I like to live 10 years from now? What would be an ideal day for me? What do I think God's saying to me about the future? No, they had spent 400 years in captivity, they knew exactly what God's plan was for them. And when Pharaoh said go, they were ready to move.
However, there is a giant obstacle that stood between their painful past in Egypt and the promised future in Canaan. You know what that giant obstacle was, it was a massive body of water, called the Red Sea. Pharaoh had had another change of heart, he decided he wanted them to change, to stay in Egypt. So he said his Egyptian soldiers, following chasing after the Israelites when they left and so here you have the Israelites, they're being pursued from the back by Pharaohs soldiers. And in the front, they had this massive body of water, they have a choice either be slaughtered or drowned. Quite a choice, but then Exodus 14, verse 15, God made the most unbelievable command to the Israelites. He said, tell the sons of Israel to go forward.
Go forward? Was God directionally challenged? Did he forget about that giant sea he had created that was in front of them, going forward would have meant drowning in that massive water. Of course, if you've read the Bible, or seen the movie, the 10 commandments, you know what happened next. You know how God miraculously parted that Red Sea and created a strip of dry ground for which the through which the Israelites could cross safely to the other side.
Now, I've often thought about that story. And I've often thought about the person in that story, who demonstrated the most faith. You know, who demonstrated the most faith in that story? It wasn't Moses. Remember Moses was safely over on the side in his Charlton Heston pause. Remember that? That was Moses, he was okay, he was safe. To me, the most heroic guy in the story, was that first guy in line. That first Israel, God said go forward. And that Israelite, had to have the faith to take that first step on that piece of land that moments earlier had been the soggy bottom of the Red Sea. And he had to take the second step, and the third step, and the fourth step, surrounded by those massive pillars of water on either side, that could come crashing down at any moment, that took faith. But God had said, go, and that unnamed Israelite believed that the same God who had miraculously changed Pharaoh's heart and brought them to this point, would safely delivered them to the other side. That Israel I realized that it was time for his and Israel's new beginning.
What about you? Have you come to the place in your life when you're willing to admit that your failure is not somebody else's fault it's your own. Have you experienced that forgiveness that God freely offers to anyone who asks? Have you taken time to reflect on the cause of your failure, and also to reflect on the future God has planned for you? If so, don't be surprised. If God doesn't soon start bringing changes in your life, changes that signal, it's time for your new beginning. And rest assured in this, the same God who has faithfully delivered you to this point in your life, will also see you safely to the other side. That's something you can absolutely know for sure.