Success After Failure: How can I get up after falling down?

Mark Bonilla

Mark Bonilla

by Mark Bonilla, Fusion Church

You may remember as a child or teenager playing a game with friends and someone ‘MESSED UP’ and they immediately yelled DO-OVER!!! Or maybe you enjoy getting out on the golf course, taking in the scenery, the freshly cut grass, the anticipation of preparing for that next big shot: the club swings back, you strike the ball, you look up to admire your work, and then all of a sudden, the ball begins to lose its way and heads directly into the woods never to be seen again.  However, it is also at that moment you declare, “I will take a MULLIGAN.”  Well, if you aren’t a golfer you may be wondering what on Earth is mulligan?  It simply means to try again, take another shot, step up and do it again.

Well, that is what many of us will do as we approach the end of 2021, desperate for a DO-OVER or a MULLIGAN!!  I know I will make a New Year’s RESOLUTION. Did you know that Gym owners, fitness centers and trainers are also desperate for your resolution; they love this time of year as millions will consider and invest into a resolution for the new year, and based on the research, it is clear to see what drives their excitement: 

The top 5 list of New Year resolutions: 

  1. Do more exercise
  2. Lose weight
  3. Save money
  4. Improve my diet
  5. Pursuit of career

So, what will be different, what will make 2022 different from 2021?  Why will I be successful this year, when I wasn’t successful following through on my last year’s resolution? 

You can’t wait for the big reveal, you can’t wait for the 3, 5, or 7-step approach to how to make 2022 better than 2021; how to stick to my resolution to make 2022 better than 2021.  Allow me to let you down softly. If there was a 3, 5, or 7-step approach to making it all right, the book shelves wouldn’t be over-crowded with books, basically making the same claims on how to reach success.  

The Bible does not have a 3, 5, or 7-step plan, but it does have principles that will guide us as we journey in this life.  

Principle #1 – We Will All Face Struggles 

Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” This verse speaks of our natural state and our natural desire is to do and fix things on our own. That is why we make New Year’s resolutions. That’s why we make big, bold declarations and a few weeks, or months down the road the gyms are empty again. 

Principle #2 – We Can Get Back Up 

The Bible is filled with people who struggled and got going again. Let me share just a couple with you: 

  1. The woman at the well arrives at noon (John 4:6) because she does not want to be there at the regular hour (morning) to get water with the other women. Why? She is embarrassed and ashamed of her past.  
  2. Peter is with the other disciples in a boat headed to the other side (Matthew 14:22-26), when suddenly, a storm strikes and  everyone is scared (rightfully so) for their lives.  In the midst of the chaos, an image appears and it is Jesus (at first, they do not recognize Jesus ) walking on the water toward them. 

Let’s pause for a moment and speak honestly, if I or you were in a boat, in a storm and an image appears, I know and you know, we are about to take our last breath.  However, Jesus eventually tells (verse 27) His disciples it is Him, then Peter takes center stage and declares (verse 28): “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus gives the invitation to Peter to walk (verse 29-30) on the water toward him and Peter steps out of the boat and is having success, and then he falls. 

Principle #3 – You Need Someone to Walk with You

The woman at the well and Peter both had struggles, both fell and both got back up, not because they made some grandiose New Year’s resolution.  But, simply because they trusted and reached out for the hand of Jesus.  I know just like you, I have made resolutions: I will never do that again,  I will be better next time.  And, inevitably we do it again, and we may even be worse the 2nd or 3rd time.  But, Jesus isn’t keeping score, he hasn’t written down how many times we have failed.

Psalm 103: 8-12 says, 

 8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;

10 He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;

12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

The calendar year will change and one of the choices will be to do what we have always done, which is to make a new resolution, which will soon fade away. Or, we can RESOLVE to allow Jesus into our situation(s) and allow Him to change us firstly, eternally, and secondly, so we can have an impact on this Earth for Him and His Kingdom.

For More Relevant Content

If you want to learn more about discovering how to have a fresh start and learn behaviors that last, we encourage you to check out related Fusion Church content below:

Habits That Hurt

Escaping The Thought Trap


Game Changer – Get Off The Bench

Discerning the Door of Your Destiny