A woman on the beach while holding her hands up to her head.

Can We Mess Things Up For God?

I was reading a blog post the other day where the author was talking about how she would give advice to a friend on the phone, hang up, and think “Wow, that was really good. I should follow my own advice!”  

And I thought, “Yeah, me too!” 

You see I share bits of inspiration and encouragement on my blog and through social media. And yet I still find myself struggling some days.  

  • I talk about the importance of prayer, and then get distracted while praying.
  • I talk about the importance of spending quiet time with God, and then find myself spending the whole time going over my to-do list for the day. Or I sleep in and am in such a rush that I skip it.  
  • I even talk about things like using our words for good, to encourage and build up others. And then two minutes later find myself getting snippy with my husband and kids.  

“For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” 

-Galatians 5:17

Does God Allow Us to Make Mistakes?

Every day there is a constant struggle between my flesh and my spirit. And sometimes it gets to me.  

However, when I was reading the book of Jonah, I noticed something. Jonah was told by God to go to Ninevah but he refused. He boarded a boat to Tarshish and while on the boat a really bad storm arose.

The sailors figured out that it was Jonah’s fault for the storm and threw him overboard. And the storm instantly calmed.  

Then the bible says, “The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him.” 

What I see here is that God used Jonah’s disobedience to draw the hearts of those sailors to Him.  

God could have stopped Jonah. But He didn’t. He allowed Jonah to make a big mistake. To sinfully disobey Him.

And then God used it for good.

How To Reconcile with God After We Sin

It is comforting to know even my sins can’t mess things up for God. While there may still be unpleasant consequences, God can use my mistakes, my failures, and even my disobedience for His glory and the good of His Kingdom

Nothing can thwart God’s plan.  

Now, this does not mean I just give up. It is not a license to sin. It is not okay to just shrug my shoulders when I sin.

“Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” 

-Romans 6:1-2

When we sin we need to be reconciled to God. We do this through genuine repentance. Repentance means to change the way we think. To make a U-turn. To do a complete 180 degree turn and head in a new direction.

It is looking at our sin through God’s eyes. Seeing the truth of how it hurts Him. How it hurts us. And how it is not His best plan for us.

But then we move on.

Yes, we should repent when we sin. Yes, we should do what we can to prevent future failures. BUT we don’t need to keep beating ourselves up.

What Does God Say When We Mess Up?

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.”

-Isaiah 1:18 NIV

When we mess up we don’t have to be afraid to approach God. He already knows what we did. He already knows what is going on in our hearts. And He already made a way for us to be forgiven through Jesus.

Like the prodigal son in Matthew, no matter what we have done, we can turn around and head home.

And God will run to us.

He will wrap us in His loving arms, wipe away our tears, and restore our dignity as His precious daughters.

Even when we mess up . . . God says we are still loved.

He says we are forgiven.

And He says His grace is enough for us to repent and try again.

Do you wonder if you can mess things up for God? Do you struggle with being ashamed of your shortcomings? Do you think your failures and mistakes have rendered you useless to God?

God’s Grace When We Mess Up

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

Psalm 103:12 NIV

We do not have to wallow in guilt and shame over our sins. We can forgive ourselves. And then we can rest assured that we CANNOT mess up things up for God. We can’t throw off His plan for our lives.

He can use it all to grow us, to humble us, and to show others around us that we serve a God who still loves us even when we mess up.

Because God causes ALL THINGS to work together for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)

4 Bible Verses For When We Mess Up

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:9

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”

-Acts 3:19

“Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me.”

-Philippians 3:13

“And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.”

-Romans 8:28

***For a great example on how to reconcile with God read Psalm 51. David wrote this after committing the sin of adultery and murder.

Keep in mind, God still called him a “man after his own heart” even after David messed up royally. Because God can redeem anything.***

Can God Fix My Mistakes?

  • Do you struggle with being ashamed of your shortcomings?
  • Do you think your failures and mistakes have rendered you useless to God?
  • Do you think that your past sins mean that you have messed up God’s plan for your life?  

Rest assured, my dear friends, it is not possible for us to mess up things up for God.

We are not that powerful.   

But we do serve a powerful God who causes all things to work out for our good.

While God doesn’t fix our mistakes and He doesn’t make the consequences go away. He does redeem them.

He makes beautiful things out of the dust. He takes broken pieces and makes masterpieces. He mends what was shattered. And He can turn our tears to laughter.

Nothing can throw off His sovereign plan for our lives.

We are never too far gone and never too messed up to be used by God.  

My sweet sisters in Christ, do not let your past sins hold you back from being all God created you to be!

Let Him redeem them as only He can for your good and His glory.  

If you found this encouraging, then please share!   

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Do you wonder if you can mess things up for God? Do you struggle with being ashamed of your shortcomings? Do you think your failures and mistakes have rendered you useless to God?
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  • Anna

    I too am struggling and googled “Jesus help me.” Your website came up. I was diagnosed with a chronic illness in 1994. It was explained to me that my energy would ebb and flow. The “spoons in the drawer” metaphor made sense to me. It goes like this. Most people have 10 spoons of energy in a drawer. Each day we may use one or two and then they are replenished when we sleep. Most wake up to a new day with 10 spoons of energy. Those with chronic illness use up their spoons at an exponential rate and they are not easily replenished. I have lived with only 2 or 3 spoons daily. When I am struggling those spoons are used up often by noon and I’m left with a negative spoon supply. I’ve been operating on negative spoons for about the last 4 years. It is starting to get to me. When I cried out to Jesus I found encouragement in His word that I found on your website. My struggle has to do with my child who reports he has anxiety even though he is a christian. I’m holding on to the scripture you shared. I thank you for your blog and for the Lord leading me to it. It is refreshing to know He hears me and used your blog to minister to me. Thank you from a grateful sister in Christ.

    • Collene Borchardt

      Oh Anna, I feel your pain. I was diagnosed with a chronic illness in 2012. I have heard of the spoon metaphor and know what it is like to live with negative spoons all too well. It is a very hard place to be. And I have struggled in my faith as well because of it. But God is good and every time I cry out to Him, He always shows up. I am humbled and honored that He once again used this space to encourage another sweet sister in Christ. I recently started a new ministry and while it is still in the baby stages you may find some more inspiration there. The site is RichFaithinPoorHealth.com. I don’t have anything on anxiety yet but hope to address how Christians can manage anxiety while walking with Jesus in the future. I am praying for you and your son. May God continue to comfort you in your struggles and draw you ever closer to Him.

  • Diane.

    I sat down on my bed this morning in dispair. I did a search on “Jesus, help me please”. God is so.good that he used that search to help me. I’m letting you know that your blogs were used by God to help. Thank you for your obedience. I’m just at the start of this new learning phase. I have known and loved God for a.long time. I reached out to him, and in his mercy he took me in his arms. He showed me a way. I am never too old or too long of.being.a.Christian to learn and learn. It’s ironic as I used to be a.teacher. I told my lids that they should be life long learners. I just realized that I am, or should be this as well. Thank you for doing what you do to advance God’s kingdom.

    • Collene Borchardt

      Wow. What an amazing testimony of God’s grace. Thank you so much for sharing your struggle and your story. And thank you so much for the words of encouragement you shared with me. I love hearing how God is working through this small space and hearing things like this inspires me to keep trusting and obeying Him. You are totally right. God is good. Thank you!

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