Tue | Sep 19, 2017

Dwight Fletcher | False Starts: We can still recover

Published:Saturday | June 25, 2016 | 6:00 AM

Today we continue our discussion from last week on false starts. We said that false starts happen often in life and can result from us doing God's will our way and according to our timetable. The result is that many times we end up experiencing rejection, fear, anxiety and isolation.

Many of us false start by believing sex and love are the same thing and when intimacy is traded for something superficial. Others desperate to make millions take short cuts, only to get caught. This is like Moses all over again.

But by examining Moses' life we saw that even if we false start there is hope that we can still be used by God in a major way.

Today, we learn how God can re-set and re-align our lives in the school of the desert - the place where we are forced to face ourselves and where God attempts to conform our will to His.

Bible scholar and author F.B. Meyers gives a wonderful assessment of false starts when he wrote, "Such experiences come to us all. We rush forward, thinking to carry all before us; we strike a few blows in vain; we are staggered with disappointment and reel back...and there our vision clears..."and we have opportunity to find God in that moment.

In the desert, we learn about two main wrong character traits that can lead to false starts and what we can learn from failure.

1) Self-importance - an exaggerated opinion of our own importance. Although Moses was to be the one to deliver Israel, it was God who would make it happen. Moses was arrogant and it led to his downfall, 'pride goes before destruction...' Proverbs 16:18 NIV.

Through failure, we learn that no matter how talented we are, how educated we may be, without God we can do nothing.

2) Self-focused: Everything must revolve around my way and my timing. Moses grew up - at least in his mother's care - knowing about God's timing, God purposes and the necessity to seek to understand what God was doing so he could partner with God in that. But, he runs ahead and does his own thing in his own way and ends up in problems.

Through failure, God teaches us that we are capable of terrible things if we persist in our way instead of pursuing His way.

From Moses' life as well as our own experiences, we recognise that false starts bring pain, trouble, disappointment, disillusionment and discouragement.

We also know that sometimes our greatest mess-ups happen when we are trying our hardest to do our very best.

However, God does not abandon us when we fail. He gives us the opportunity to turn and refocus on him. We have to learn to follow God's plans rather than our own and allow Him to work in us and in spite of us.

Like Moses, we can rise from our failures to be used by God. The very thing that was such a failure yesterday, God re-uses, resuscitates and restarts. After Moses returned from many years of enforced exile in the desert of Median, he was a different man, one fit for years of selfless and obedient service.

When he came out of the desert he had repented of his selfish ways. He was no longer self-important, self-sufficient, and self-focused. He was out to please God. This is what repentance is about; it is changing our mind and our actions towards God. Moses did this and God used Moses far above what he could have imagined, his later years being greater than the former.

You too can experience the same thing, if you are willing to give up a self-lead life and allow God to work His plans in your life.