A B C D and E always come before F!
I hate F.  F is for FAIL!  I failed.  What in the world is wrong with me?
But there is a reason God allows us to keep seeing the F for FAIL in our life (even when we've coasted on the B for a long time) and that is so He can begin to cause us to notice, E, then D, then C, then B and finally live, eternally in the image of Christ, in the area of A.  Maybe I'm not the only one.  Maybe you failed this week?  That's okay, start looking for what happened JUST before it.  That's E - you might still fail again, but the next time you will realize what came before E was D.  God will focus you a step at a time if you will listen to Him.  And soon you will begin to prevent reaching the F for FAIL mark by stopping and pausing and not getting past the marks that come before it.  Caution though!!  Many people become satisfied with making C's and B's.  They're pretty good right?  Reaching C is passing.  Making the B mark is even better.  It's passing AND promising.  Well I went from B to F in a split second.  God loves me so He let me fail.  Wouldn't it be nice to just get to B and stay there?  No one would think anything in the world was wrong if you stayed at B forever.  I can hear it now. "Oh you are putting too much pressure on yourself.  No one is perfect.  B's are okay."  But I'm not measuring up to man's ideal of perfection.  That would be too easy really.  God is not satisfied with a B mark because He knows you can make A's.  And He will push you like never before.  He will be unreasonable to you and you will begin to question yourself and your thoughts on everything when He does.  He's not trying to discourage you, you're almost there!!!  He's not about to let you settle for less than Christ.  See God's work in you is perfection because you are being made in the image of Jesus Christ.  And Jesus Christ, my dear friend, is at the A mark.  So until you take your last breath and cross over into eternity you can be sure God will be pushing you.  Your last breath on this earth is the final moment when you move from B to A and it takes keeping your FAITH in GOD even when you face your final moments.  See God is not just going to change His mind and be satisfied with you being "almost" in the image of Jesus.  He's not going to say, "Well, you got one more step to take but you're close.  I'm okay with that."  No no, He is the author and the FINISHER of our faith.  This is not at all about you being perfect so much as it is about you refusing to give up.  His workmanship is to bring us to perfection and He will not cease until it is done.  The only thing that will stall that process is if we take the work out of His hands and try to do it on our own.  When we do that, we are spinning wheels in one place and all that leaves us with is a grave.  Spin wheels there long enough; you may get 6 ft deep.  Our time here is limited.  Yes, if you start doing it on your own, He will allow the inevitable to occur.  He will let you hit that F mark harder and faster than ever before and if you aren't careful you'll want to give up with no fight because it looks like you've gotten nowhere.  (You are right where God needs you to be, surprise surprise!)  You'll take inventory and feel that you're no better than you were 10 years ago.  You used to read the Word and pray every day.  Do you do that anymore?  Do you think you can succeed without doing it?  If you go day to day without it, you do.  You used to turn off certain programs and music or hold your tongue in the heat of a moment but suddenly you find yourself compromising.  Big deal right?  What's the harm?  Well it is harmful because if it doesn't bother you now like it once did, you're getting num.  You don't feel IT anymore, the still small voice of conviction that comes from your first true love.  The devil brings condemnation.  God simply brings conviction.  Condemnation is designed to make you give up and kill you but conviction is designed to convince you that God’s way is the better Way.  The devil is an imposter and has always been.  He walks around AS a roaring lion because he doesn't know how to BE one.  There is only ONE.  That's the Lord God almighty.  Not the devil  and not you!  We have to be wise to the enemies devices so let me see if I can illustrate this. 

When we walk according to faith in Christ we are on solid footing.  You can't drown on dry land.  But when we get into the waters of self-righteousness and doubt, we are vulnerable.  We can be carried away, knocked down and even destroyed.  Now the devil is a liar; that is what he does best.  He's like an alligator, just beneath the surface of the water, making his way to you when you are in these waters.  He can't attack you on dry land very well because frankly he doesn't have the moves for dry land.  There you are, in the water and you realize it.  You are broken.  “How did I get out here?  Why am I not on dry land?  Why did I think I could do this on my own?”  And the devil's waiting nearby.  He WANTS you to see yourself in the water and so does God.  But Satan wants to use it against you and God wants it to work for you.  You see what’s happening now?  The enemy will use this to condemn you but God will simply use it to convince you to get out of the water!  Stop trying to do it on your own.  “Come back to ME,” the Lord cries out to you.  The enemy hopes you will just sit there and start blaming yourself because you didn't do it well enough ON YOUR OWN.  He looks for that opportunity because he likes to sneak in and impose himself as the finisher of your faith, the faith you had in yourself.  And here is what he says, "Look at yourself in this water.  You don’t have enough sense after all this time to just stay out of here. You're just a fool, wasting your life on things that aren’t making a difference at all.  You'll never be anything more than what you've always been."   It is a lie!!   It is a lie exalted against the very Sovereignty of God Himself.  It’s not really you that he wants!  He’s after God!!  What the devil is really saying is that God's arm is not strong enough to fix YOU.  He is a God hater and don’t you fall for it.  THERE IS NOTHING IMPOSSIBLE FOR GOD.  And there is nothing impossible for you when you are acting in faith in Christ!  You are never too far away, to low or too much of a nut for God to grasp and crack and use for His glory and for good!  Yes, He’s going to have to crack you, but He isn’t trying to hurt you.  He’s just trying to set you free.  God is ABLE and in Christ so are you!  As long as you don't give up on God, you can't drown, but you have GOT to get out of the water!  God will place your feet on the solid rock to stand but you've got to put your faith back in Him.  God will let you hit the F mark again and again if He has to so you will begin to work your way back through the E and the D and the C and leave those things behind you that so easily entangle you.  He will let you fail sometimes so you will get still and look around and find Him.  When we are looking for Him we are on the dry land because that, in its tiniest form, is an act of faith in God.  Looking for Him is admitting one NEEDS Him.  Let us never forget in the church that a lost soul in the pew on Sunday morning is a small initial act of faith in God and we must always encourage it in Truth and in love.  OUR success is in none other than God alone.  Sometimes when we've done well for a long period of time, we forget that we are following Christ into those things and we think we got it.  We think that the routines and the practices are causing us to succeed but that is works and we will never ever do well because of works.  It does not produce lasting change.  It does not have the power to change your heart or your will or your desires.  There is no power in works.  Apart from God, I can do nothing; NO THING!  But in Christ, all things are possible to Him who believes.  To him who believes in the work and power of GOD; that God is perfecting you AS you obey Him and do the things in which He leads, like read the Word of God, pray and turn away from the things of the world that will dull our spiritual senses.  Perfection is God's work in us.... trying, never giving up, pushing forward and trusting Him to complete His work is ours....  When I grow weary with myself I have to remember that God is not finished with me and it's His work, not mine.  Mine is just to believe and stick in there. My work is to pay close attention and allow God to focus me in the areas He will allow me to participate in with Him.  When He shows me something I need to adjust, I chose to remember, He is allowing me to participate.  That is part of His work too.  I'm just to obey and follow and believe.  I want you to be encouraged today friend.  Did you stumble today?  Did you miss the mark yesterday?  Has this week been one to forget even though you can't seem to?  Is the enemy condemning you?  That's okay.  Just get out of the water quick and give it to the Lord, even if it is the 99th time, and push forward.  Don't give up.  God's not through with you yet!!  He doesn’t care about how any times you’ve been in that water, He just wants you to get out and work on staying out.  "So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you!" - Hebrews 10:35