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An Edison Moment

It was the American inventor, Thomas A. Edison, who reminded us that "just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless." This is a good reminder for each of us who get down on ourselves because we didn't do what we were supposed to do. We aren't useless just because we failed. We are human! We are fallible. We are going to make unwise choices from time to time. It is what we choose to do IN those moments that makes all the difference. Do we get down on ourselves, labeling ourselves as 'useless', or do we take our failure to Jesus and ask him to help us find a way to take different steps the next time?

You can’t whitewash your sins and get by with it; you find mercy by admitting and leaving them. (Proverbs 28:13)

Edison also recounted that he had tried a lot of things, but in trying these 'new ways' he found lots of ways that don't work. We oftentimes find ways that just 'don't work' in life and then we stop trying because we think we will never find the 'way' that will work. The thing that made Edison successful in his attempts at inventing was that he didn't stop when he had 10,000 ways that did not work - he was determined to find the ONE way that did! If you know anything about Edison, you will soon realize he was not content with failure - it created what he called a 'restlessness' within him. That restlessness caused him to not stop taking 'next steps' in life. I think we might learn something from him - next steps aren't easy, but they are necessary if we are to make forward progress!

Our failure really comes when we stop taking 'next steps'. When we settle into our sinfulness and just accept our failures in life, we abandon our mission. We were created to be a holy people, decisive in our actions, determined in our commitment, and demonstrative in our love. When we accept our failures as 'where we will always be' in life, then we wither and die right there. We cannot stop with the 10,000 times our steps didn't work in life - or even our 100,000 attempts to abandon our sin. Instead, we bring our sin to Christ, accept his grace, and take whatever the 'next step' is he asks us to take. Yes, it won't be easy. Yes, it is sometimes us 'repeating steps' we have taken before. There is no getting around it - the ONE way we need to find is there - we just have to take the next steps into it!

Edison didn't abandon his inventions just because they didn't work. In his case, he applied the principles of science to each failed attempt to see what went wrong. In our case, we apply the principles of grace as they apply to repentance - the confession and forsaking of our sin. Then we look at how we can use what comes out of our failures to take 'new steps' that don't result in the same failures. Yes, we will fail again on occasion, but be determined and decisive about your commitment to see each failure become the ground upon which you learn what steps not to take the next time. We aren't 'inventors' here, but we can learn from what inventors do. They don't give up because they fail. They learn from their failures and don't repeat those same steps again! Just sayin!


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