I’m spending this week on summer vacation with my entire family. We’ve had so much fun swimming, riding in a speedboat, and peddling water bikes and a paddle boat, but one of the most exciting activities has been wakeboarding. My sister’s boyfriend has been wakeboarding since he could walk, and he proves to be an excellent teacher. Yesterday, he set a few hours aside to teach my husband how to wakeboard. It was fascinating to watch from the boat as he demonstrated the various stages of the process and then positioned my husband in the water for his first attempt.
The boat carefully swung around and began to pick up speed, and my husband rose slowly out of the water. The position wasn’t quite right and after a few moments, he tumbled forwards and submerged in the lake. The driver swung the boat around again and my husband grabbed the rope and prepared for another attempt. It took several more tries before he was able to rise out of the water and slide his board around to finally glide gracefully across the glassy lake. What a thrill it was for him to succeed after his perseverance!
What a thrill it was for him to succeed after his perseverance!
I’ve watched many other people learn to wakeboard for the first time. There are some lucky individuals who get up after only a few tries. However, there are many who struggle for hours, some even days, falling before they hardly get out of the water. Some of these unlucky ones give up after a while, assuming that wakeboarding just isn’t their thing. Others stick to it, braving cold water, sore muscles, and frustrated emotions, determined to succeed in the end. The funny thing is, the more times a person falls, the more rewarding it is when they finally get up.
Learning to wakeboard is a lot like learning to be victorious over our sins. In Proverbs 24:16, Solomon explains, “a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity” (NKJV). As a Christian, I fall and make mistakes in my walk with Christ. However, every time I fall, I must get back up and keep going. Just like my husband learning to wakeboard, I don’t always gain the victory the first time. Although I may be tempted to give up, figuring that it’s just too hard or I’m just not cut out for this, I simply need to get back up and try again.
As a Christian, I fall and make mistakes in my walk with Christ.
One of the things that my husband’s wakeboard instructor told him to do was to let the boat pull him up. It may sound simple, but when he was down in the water, he was tempted to pull hard on the rope in order to stand up. However, when he focused on pulling, he wasn’t able to keep a correct form and he ended up falling. When he let the boat do all the pulling, on the other hand, he was able to stay in position and rise quickly out of the water.
In much the same way, sometimes we are tempted to try to get ourselves out of our sinful messes. When we are down in the depths of sin and despair, we try in our own strength to pull ourselves out, and we lose track of the way that God has shown us in His Word. However, when we allow God to do the work and we simply cooperate with Him by focusing our energy on the steps He has given us, He can easily pull us out of our despair and bring us to a place where we can glide along smoothly with Him.
As the verse in Proverbs reminds us, the difference between the “righteous man” and the “wicked” is that the wicked man doesn’t get back up when he falls. The wakeboarders who gave up after a few failed attempts never got to feel the exhilaration and confidence that came from succeeding. In much the same way, if we stop trying to cooperate with God when we can’t seem to overcome, we will never have the opportunity to experience victory over sin in Jesus.