I love playing the tile-matching video game Tetris. The reason I like it is that I can plan it all out by looking at the pieces that will come up next, and as they come down, I can fit them all in place evenly and lower the stack. At least, that’s the idea.
Even better is correcting the mistakes I make. Sometimes I plunk a piece down in the wrong spot, and then I have to figure out how to work around that mistake to get rid of the problem spot. It doesn’t always work out, though. I do great for the first few levels, but as things speed up and pieces are dropping faster and faster, I can’t control them as well anymore. Pieces end up in the wrong places, and the stack gets closer and closer to the top.
Soon enough, “GAME OVER” is blinking on the screen, and my excitement for the game is tinged with frustration.
Sometimes life can feel like that. We make one mistake after another, and suddenly it seems like there is nothing we can do to fix things. Sometimes even our best plans end up in a mess, and no matter what we try or how we maneuver things, problems pile up and it feels like the game is over.
But the best thing about a game like Tetris is that there’s always a chance to play again. It doesn’t matter how many times you lose; you’ve always got a fresh start when you want it.
That’s what Jesus does for us. He knows we’re not perfect. He understands our limitations and weaknesses. He designed us, and He understands that we can’t “win” every time.
Jesus has promised to remove our mistakes and sins “as far as the east is from the west.” 1 That means they’re gone; we’ve got a clean slate and we can start over. And this doesn’t just apply to your spiritual life. No matter how well you plan out your life, there will come times when you’ll need to begin again. When that happens, it can be discouraging. All you see is that big “GAME OVER” sign blinking in your mind.
But there’s always a chance to play again.
A clean slate is an awesome thing. It means the past is done and gone. When you start a new game of Tetris, it won’t refuse you the chance to play again if you’ve lost too many times. When Jesus gives you a clean slate, it’s really a clean slate. He’s not looking back at your past record of mistakes and failings. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2
Do you feel like your plans have gone up in smoke, and you don’t know how to start rebuilding? Or are you just discouraged because your first attempts have gone nowhere? Remember that you’ve always got a chance to start a new game. Jesus has a plan and a goal for your life, and He’ll use even the mistakes you make to bring you closer to that goal.
King Solomon tells us that a righteous man falls seven times and gets back up. 3 There’s no way around the falling. It’s the getting up and starting again that matters.