“Stay down.” The universal mantra of someone who thinks they’ve won or will inevitably win a fight.
In the movie Captain America: Civil War, a new Avenger is introduced— Spider Man. Tony Stark goes to Queens, NY and picks up a teenage boy by the name of Peter who he’s seen performing heroic acts in his community in a spidey-suit. Stark invites this boy to an epic battle against half of the Avengers squad. About 10 minutes into this insane fight scene, most of the heroes on both sides of the battle are pretty beaten up, including Spider Man. After a fairly nasty take down, Stark in his Iron Man suit jets over to Peter who is on the ground and tells him to stay down–signaling that he was out of the fight.
“Stay down.” The universal mantra of someone who thinks they’ve won or will inevitably win a fight. It’s what’s said to the underdog when they appear to be doing exactly what everyone thought they would do— losing. It’s what our adversary whispers in our ears every time we fall. “Stay down. How many times will God forgive you?”
But like the old Gospel song says: “A Saint is just a sinner who fell down and got up”
Psalm 51 is one of the best examples of repentance in the Bible. To me, however, it’s made beautiful not by who wrote it or its subject matter, but by why it was written.
David wrote this Psalm after one of his most traumatic defeats— his sin with Bathsheba. In this Psalm, David pours out his heart to God. With a broken heart and contrite spirit, David asked for the Lord to forgive him.
Verse 13 of the chapter however has always given me pause.
“Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. 14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, 15 O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.”Matthew 13:13-15
Is David bargaining with the Lord??? No. In this verse David is saying “As soon as I receive your forgiveness, I’m getting back up. I won’t stay down.”
When we fall into sin, stepping out of the will of God for our lives, we have a feeling of ruining our testimony. We beat ourselves up. The Devil knows this and he capitalizes on this opportunity. When we mess up and we hesitate to cry out to God, we’re playing exactly into our adversary’s plan; we’re staying down. We are temporarily out of the fight.
In these moments, we can’t operate in our callings, we can’t be effective witnesses because how can we testify that God had saved us from a life of sin when we just chose sin over life yesterday? We’re frauds, we’re liars, we’re hypocrites. But most importantly, we’re down and out— right where the Devil wants us.
Verse 13 of the 51 Psalm illustrates this. David is saying to God, after you forgive me, I will continue to be a witness, I will continue to sing your praises. The problem here is not the timeline, the problem is not the “after”, the problem is with us. Shame, guilt, condemnation can keep us from seeking the forgiveness of God, thus keeping us from singing his praises. Keeping us down.
A couple summers ago, I was determined to workout every day and lose weight. Unfortunately I have a terrible reputation of not being able to keep up a workout regimen and this was taunting me in the back of my mind. Scrolling through Pinterest I found a quote that I set as my phones lock screen “I want to see what happens if I don’t give up”
Well because the gym life isn’t for me, I gave up. But what if we got that same energy in our spiritual lives. “I want to see what happens if I don’t give up.” What if every time we fell, we spoke out loud to our adversary, the Devil, and to ourselves and said “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy; for when I fall I shall arise; though I sit in darkness the Lord shall be my light. (Micah 7:8)”
Funny how the scripture doesn’t say “If I fall.” It’s like the Lord knew his saints would need to save this scripture for a rainy day. My pastor always says “the only good fight is the fight that you win” luckily, he also says “the only thing you need to do to stay in the fight is get up one more time than you got knocked down.”
So get up.
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