Therefore, this is what the Lord says: Since you have not obeyed me by setting your countrymen free, I will set you free to be destroyed by war, disease, and famine.~Jeremiah 34:17 NLT
I could have done better … but I chose not to.
Among the many things my parents did for me was provide the opportunity for a good education. When a school system gave me an adequate atmosphere, they sent me there. When we lived in a place where the school system lacked credibility, they scraped money together and sent me to a private school.
I had a good mindset about education in elementary school, doing my best and striving to get good grades. My middle school journey mimicked elementary—with the exception that peer pressure began to increase. Pressure to compromise my values. Pressure to do less than my best. After all, those students who scored high on quizzes and tests ruined the curve a teacher might give a class.
By the time high school arrived, I’d lost all interest in school. The wrong kind of friends, followed by the wrong type of actions, took over. My parents continued to goad me to do my best, just as they had in elementary and middle school. I didn’t listen. Regardless of their efforts to push me forward toward a college education, I continued to slide backward with a don’t-care attitude.
Sometimes, failure is the only thing that brings us to our senses.~Martin Wiles, author of Grace Greater Than Sin
My journey in high school led to poor grades and my eventually quitting. Fortunately, I came to my senses shortly thereafter and returned to graduate. Not until nine years after high school did I finally see the need to attend college. Perhaps, I just needed to mature. Maybe, I needed an attitude adjustment.
One thing my parents discovered was that they couldn’t force me to do well in school. Doing so entailed a choice I had to make.
God realized the same with His Old Testament people. He had given them the Law, and He had sent prophets to continually remind them of the importance of obeying it. Nevertheless, they continued to wander away from His moral principles, just as I did from my attention to education. Finally, God gave them the freedom to fail in a big way by allowing a foreign nation to take them captive for seventy years.
God hasn’t changed, nor has His commands and principles. He lays out His expectations and lovingly guides us to obey them.
“If you love me, obey my commandments.”~John 14:15 NLT
When we fail, God forgives if we ask, and He disciplines if we keep going our stubborn way. But there comes a point—and no one can know when the point is—when He says, “Okay, do it your way.”
God gave me the freedom to fail in my educational journey, and He’ll do the same in our moral journey. Sometimes, failure is the only thing that brings us to our senses, so we’ll go running back to Him. The good news is that He’s always willing to say “I forgive” when we come in faith and repentance.
If you have failed God, what are some steps you can take to run back to Him?
Father God, thank You for the forgiveness You offer me when I fail. Amen.
Copyright 2021: Freedom to Fail or Succeed: Martin Wiles: All Rights Reserved
Meet Our Contributor
Martin Wiles is an author, English teacher, and freelance editor who resides in Greenwood, South Carolina.
He is the founder and editor of the internationally recognized devotion site, Love Lines from God.
Wiles is the managing editor for Christian Devotions, the senior editor for Inspire a Fire, and a proof editor for Courier Publishing. He has also served as web content editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
Wiles has authored A Whisper in the Wood: Quiet Escapes in a Noisy World (Ambassador International), Grits & Grace & God, and Grits, Gumbo, and Going to Church (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), Morning By Morning, Morning Serenity, and Grace Greater Than Sin (America Star Books), and is a contributing author in Penned from the Heart (Son-Rise Publications), Rise (Chaplain Publishing), and Love Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships (VineWords Publishing).
He has served as regional correspondent and Sunday school lesson writer for the Baptist Courier and has also written for Lifeway’s Bible Studies for Life curriculum.
Wiles has been published in Christian Living in the Mature Years, Mature Living, Open Windows, Proclaim, The Secret Place, The Word in Season, Upper Room, Light from the Word, Reach Out Columbia, Mustard Seed Ministries, Journey Christian Newspaper, Common Ground Herald, The Quiet Hour, Power for Living, Halo Magazine, Joyful Living Magazine, Christian Broadcasting Network, Sharing, Today’s Christian Living, These Days, Plum Tree Tavern, Eskimo Pie, The Scarlet Leaf Review, Creation Illustrated, LIVE, Purpose Magazine, Stand Firm, The Banner, Relevant, and Lutheran Digest.
He is a regular contributor to Christian Devotions, PCC Daily Devotions, Theology Mix, Inspire a Fire, The Write Conversation, andVine Words: Devotions and More, and is a regular writer for the Dorchester County Eagle Record, the Orangeburg County Times and Democrat, and the Greenwood County Index Journal.
Wiles’s latest book, Don’t Just Live…Really Live is under contract with Ambassador International.
CONNECT WITH MARTIN WILES AT
Managing Editor, Christian Devotions
Senior Editor, Inspire a Fire
Proof Editor, Courier Publishing
On the Web: Love Lines From God