I had the noblest of intentions. Really, I did. It was just a six-week study, and there are ten weeks of summer break. How hard could it be? I even picked up the book and paid for it on time, and then, it sat wrapped in plastic on my piano. The first few weeks of summer had proved to be busier than expected-imagine that. Driver’s Ed, tennis lessons, the book I needed to read for the class I’m taking, long-neglected projects at home soon took over, and I didn’t even peel the plastic off the book. Then, the weekend before we were to start the summer Bible study, I realized I needed to take my son to his first flute lesson on the night of the first meeting. Sigh. So, as I waited for him to finish, I reluctantly tore the wrapping off of the book and began to read. I only got through day one during those 30 minutes. Where was I supposed to be? Starting week two.

When I taught special education and at-risk students, I had a saying: There is no time for perfectionism here. For many of my students, getting the needed credits for graduation required that they focus on the larger, more important assignments and tests and let some of the small things go. Their learning and personal challenges did not allow for them to do everything on the class list. While I don’t usually struggle with perfectionism, my struggle with my immediate failure to keep up with a summer Bible study disappointed me. I needed this focus on scripture in my life; how could I fail so miserably?

The Bible has good news for those who fail to maintain spiritual discipline and it has less to do with us, and everything to do with God.

It is God’s Work, Not Mine

In passage after passage, the Bible speaks of God using feeble acts of faith to accomplish his purposes. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t really want to have feeble faith. I would rather have steadfast faith like Paul’s or even that of Jesus himself. Often, however, my faith is barely that of a mustard seed.

As much as I want to have the faithful life of John the Baptist, or Paul, I don’t. Sometimes, it seems as though my sacrifices are barely that of the friends of the paralytic in Matthew 9 who knew only to bring their friend to Jesus. He saw their faith and did more than just heal their friend’s body, he healed their souls. I often wonder if I could even match their simple faith much less obey Christ like Ananias who brought Christ’s message to the feared Saul in Acts 9.

When the disciples could not cast out a demon in Matthew 17, Jesus promised them that the faith of a mustard seed is all it takes to move a mountain. Clearly, even that grain of faith is sometimes difficult to find, but I pray for the strength to point a friend to Jesus or share the gospel when the time comes, even if I’ve failed many times before. Perhaps such faith looks like praying as the father of the demon possessed boy prayed, “I believe: help me in my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). Such a prayer reminds my heart that it is God who works in me, producing the fruit of obedience. I cannot do it apart from him.

God Promises to Continue It

Exercising faith can feel overwhelming much of the time. I find myself comparing myself to others wondering if there is more I should be doing and if my feeble attempts at living a godly life are accomplishing anything at all. Whether I feel like it or not, however, Galatians 2:20 tells me, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Because Christ lives in me, I“KNOW that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, emphasis mine). After all, as Paul told the Philippians, our “partnership” in Christ ensures that God will bring the “good work” he started in me “to completion” (Philippians 1:6). This is a profound truth. The very presence of Christ lives within me. I am not laboring on my own strength, but Christ through his Spirit is at work in my heart. And he will finish his work.

The Next Step

So, what now? These biblical truths are all well and good, but what do I do about the fact that I desire to be more consistent, yet stare at my failure in the mirror every morning? I think the answer lies in the morning. Lamentations tells us, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore, I will hope in him’” (Lamentations 3:22-24).

Rather than worrying about the failures of yesterday or whether I’ll be consistent tomorrow, I do what Elizabeth Elliot reminds us: Do the Next Thing. Yes, I have failed: failed to pray, failed to hide God’s word in my heart, failed to rejoice, and failed to bear witness to Christ in my family, church, and job. But this morning is a new morning, a morning filled with fresh mercy. By his grace, I can move forward in obedience, doing what God has called me to do today.

If you, like me, struggle with consistency in your walk of faith, take heart: God is faithful. He promises to transform us by his grace, and he never fails to keep his word. Give thanks for his mercy is new every morning!

Photo by Joshua Lanzarini on Unsplash

Jessica Roan

Jessica Roan has a Bachelor’s Degree in English Education from Oklahoma Baptist University and a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Montana State University-Billings. She is a high school English teacher, mentor, and blogger.  She can be found at She enjoys writing, hiking, skiing, and traveling. She lives in Billings, Montana with her husband and two boys. Her home church is Rocky Mountain Community Church.