I’m one of those people who loves the idea of eating healthy and getting more in shape. I love the idea of it. I love making a plan. I love scheduling out how it will go. But here’s my issue: the moment the plan gets messed up, I’m done. If I go to bed too late and don’t get up early enough, I quit the gym. When those chicken tenders and fries are calling my name and I give in, I quit the eating healthy. When my plan ceases to be perfect, I give up on it completely.

Unfortunately, just like it is easy to give up on a meal plan or a workout routine, it can be easy for us to take the same approach to our spiritual lives. Whether it’s trying to be more disciplined in doing things of the Spirit, like being more compassionate, kind, humble, patient, forgiving and loving, or striving to rid the self of things of the flesh, such as sexual immorality, impurity, idolatry, wrath, malice, gossip and obscene talk, it can be easy for us to be completely thrown off when we skip the routine once or indulge in the sin we are trying to kick.

We can have all the best goals, dreams, and intentions, but if we don’t learn how to keep going after perfect is destroyed, we will never be able to be the people God has called us to be. So how do we keep going when it inevitably fails to be perfect? I think Hebrews 12 gives us such sound wisdom to apply to our lives:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
— Hebrews 12:1–2

The key to getting up when imperfection hits, the key to striving after Jesus when the first mistake comes up, is to look to Jesus. Look to the one who is the originator of our faith and the one who is the perfecter of our faith. When you do that thing you promised you’d never do again, reset your eyes on Jesus. When you realize you have to dust off your Bible because you can’t remember the last time you read it, reset your eyes on Jesus. When you feel guilty because you haven’t talked to God in a hot minute, reset your eyes on Jesus. He is the only one that can get us through the day after perfect.

Get back up.

Don’t quit when it’s not perfect.

Look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of your faith.