Remember the old adage: "If at first you don`t succeed, try, try again"? More Bible principle exists in that admonition than most may think. How do we deal with the disappointments we face? Would it surprise you to know that God`s Word tells us to "keep on keeping on"? The Bible admonishes us to "lift up the hands that hang down, and the feeble knees" [Heb. 12:12].
Not only do the Scriptures tell us to "get back up," they also tell us how to keep from falling. Three steps are given: first, we are to "make straight paths for our feet"; second, we are to "follow peace with all men"; and, third, we are to "follow holiness" [Heb. 12: 13,14].
The first step, making straight paths for our feet, is the admonition regarding our heart and mind. No, not the physical heart that pumps the blood through our veins, but the spiritual heart that revives our spirit and motivates our actions. We need to understand that there is a path to every goal, and, we need to focus on that path.
We can learn to dismiss the distractions that cause us to delay the things we ought to do. We can identify the things we should not do and learn not to do them.
The second step, following peace with all men, is the admonition regarding our external relationships. Disappointments come on the job and in the classroom, at work and at play. We face rejection more than we find success in sales, for example. But we succeed because we know that rejection is part of the territory. We outright fail, at times. It maybe in some area of our personal lives; it maybe in some area of our professional lives. But, whether we fail or succeed, we need to know that we do not live this life alone.
Toward those we love, toward those upon whom we depend, we need to be at peace. A peaceful home is a better home. Having peaceful relationships on the job, that is the definition of being co-laborers. Peaceful relations with those we meet may unlock the door that will turn disappointment into satisfaction. "If it be possible," the Bible admonishes, "as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. [Rom. 12:18].
The first step told us how to deal with ourselves. The second step told us how to deal with others. The third step tells us how to respond to God. We need to remember that "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" [James 1:17].
The third step is to follow holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord [Heb. 12:14]. Holiness is a current state based upon one`s actions: one is either holy or one is not holy. Holiness is linked to obedience. If a worker at a plant is doing what the boss has told him to do, then that worker can be termed "holy" in the eyes of his boss. God is holy because he cannot break his word. As we are obedient to the commands of God, we are called "holy" in his sight. The Ten Commandments are a sample of the things God would have us do to be holy.
If we have violated any of them, for example, then repentance and obedience become the path to restored holiness. Jesus summarized the whole of the law for us in principle: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" [Matt. 22:37-40].
Being holy in the sight of God can be as simple as loving your neighbor, your boss, your child, your spouse, or some friend. But, then, how does loving them relate to dealing with our disappointments? I am glad you asked. Loving them means we will not criticize them in what should be the quiet of our homes. We will no longer agitate ourselves with any hurt we somehow feel they may have caused us. We will, rather, direct our time and energy in channels that will successfully deal with our disappointments God`s way and "try, try again."