In their struggle against certain sins, some individuals have a tendency to count how many failures they experienced in a given period of time or how long they went without a lapse. Those who keep track of those periods between “slips” may find it takes longer to experience the victory that is available through Jesus Christ our Lord. A sign that they have not come into true repentance is the focus they put on the failure. Some fall into the mindset that says, “I’ll do better next time.” They promise God they will never do it again, whatever “it” may be. As a result, they wind up trying to realize the victory in their own strength. It is similar to the alcoholic who promises to quit drinking, but is powerless to follow through on that promise. Instead of receiving the grace necessary by faith to overcome, they try to be strong, but wind up weak in the process. Like many who make New Year’s resolutions, they start out well, but quickly run out of steam. At some point, they give up and wait until the next year when they start the vicious cycle all over again.
When people keep score, they tend to rationalize bad behavior. “At least this time I went two whole weeks without getting drunk.” It is as if the length between getting drunk made it okay. Keep in mind that getting drunk is one example of many things with which people struggle. This is no way singles out one thing over another. You fill in the blank for what “it” may mean to you. While it is good to encourage ourselves, the method we choose makes all the difference. The key is encouraging ourselves in the Lord. When we receive the grace of God through faith, and place our trust in Him to deliver the victory, 1John 1:9 becomes real to us: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (KJV). 2Corinthians 12:9-10 becomes the Standard for overcoming: And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong (KJV). John 15:3-5 is the Strategy for success: Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing (KJV). Quickly we discover that it is the Son Who makes us free; not our effort to be good (see John 8:30-36).
Keeping score can lead to more failure, as it reveals a history that seems doomed to repeat itself. If a person sees himself as fighting a losing battle, he will come to believe he cannot win. As a person thinks, so is he; and as he believes, so will he receive and act. We can draw a line in the sand with 2Corinthians 5:17, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (KJV). It is not a “do-over.” Stop looking back, and see what God says about you now and what your future looks like in Christ Jesus. 2Corinthians 5:21 For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (KJV). Philippians3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (KJV).