In my mind, one of the all-time greats in professional football was Walter Payton.

During his career as a running back, he carried the football the equivalent of nine miles. That is a long way to carry anything. But the astonishing thing is not that he carried the ball for nine miles, but that he got knocked down every five yards in the process.

Every time he took the ball there were 11 men wearing a jersey of a different color whose primary purpose was to knock him down.

We can learn some lessons. First, regardless what you do, not everyone will be on your side. There will always be those who oppose you. There will be those who will try to stop you. A simple rule of thumb is the greater or more important the task, the greater the opposition.

In spite of the opposition knocking him down, Walter Payton got back up. When you get knocked down, get back up. Walt Disney went bankrupt six times before he became a success. Thomas Edison tried literally thousands of times before he invented the light bulb. He never considered any one of those to be a failure, but that he was simply one step closer to success.

That reminds me of what the Apostle Paul tells us, “Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14, RSV)

With Jesus’ help, make heaven your goal and never look back and never quit. Regardless how many times you get knocked down get back up.