Tim Clinton, Ed.D.
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him.”
– Philippians 2:13 NLT
“After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again. Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again. . . We learn, on the one hand, that we cannot trust ourselves even in our best moments, and, on the other, that we need not despair even in our worst, for our failures are forgiven. The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection.”
– C. S. Lewis
Something is going on.
Something good is happening right in the middle of your failure and pain.
The truth is still true, even if you’ve slipped and fallen. “For God is working in you…” You can feel it, can’t you—His power, Him calling your name? “If you leave God’s paths and go astray, you will hear a Voice behind you say, “No, this is the way; walk here” (Isaiah 30:21 TLB). That desire you have deep in your gut to keep returning home despite yet another mess up, that’s the Spirit of God drawing you in. You’re His child and like a loving parent His hands are cupped to his mouth and He’s calling out to you from the front porch of His heart. “Son, it’s time to come home now. Its time to get back in the fight.”
Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). If you feel that tug, be thankful. It means you’re His. He knows the agony of your battle, the pain of your fight. Right in the middle of your worst living nightmare, at your lowest moment, God is still at work molding and making you. His love will never once compromise with sin, but He clings to His wounded warriors with one purpose in mind: to reclaim them. “Our Lord comes to us in our weakest moment, with sin stains blotched all over our garments” writes David Wilkerson, “and He whispers, ‘My strength is for you in this your hour of weakness. Don’t give up. Don’t panic. Don’t turn away. Don’t shut me out. Is there godly sorrow in you? Do you want victory? Keep moving with Me. Keep moving toward me. My arms are still stretched out, as a mother hen spreading her wings. Come, I’ll protect you from the enemy.’”
Many times we actually begin to think we get out of our messes by pursuing God. There is a time when we seek Him, but the deeper truth here is that anything good that happens occurs only because of Him. “For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13 NLT) He’s pursuing us! He’s in your corner!
God will follow us in our rebellion, pursue us in our pain, and humble us on the mountaintop. He loves us that much. He understands our feelings of brokenness, and He loves to use powerlessness to send us fleeing back to His arms where He is waiting.
Climb back into the ring.
Now let’s roll!
 C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Simon & Schuster, Touchtone edition, 1996), 94.
 David Wilkerson, Have You Felt Like Giving Up Lately (Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell, 1960), 119.
Tim Clinton, Ed. D., LPC, LMFT (The College of William and Mary) is President of the nearly 50,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), the largest and most diverse Christian counseling association in the world. He is Professor of Counseling and Pastoral Care, and Executive Director of the Center for Counseling and Family Studies at Liberty University. Licensed in Virginia as both a Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist, Tim now spends a majority of his time working with Christian leaders and professional athletes. He is recognized as a world leader in faith and mental health issues and has authored over 20 books including Breakthrough: When to Give In, When to Push Back. Most importantly, Tim has been married 36 years to his wife Julie and together they have two children, Megan, who recently married Ben Allison and is practicing medicine in dermatology, and Zach, who plays baseball at Liberty University. In his free time, you’ll find him outdoors or at a game with family and friends.