Everyone wants to be a success. No one purposely sets out to be a failure. The truth is failure is one of the realities of living in a fallen world. Everyone experiences failure at one time or another. How we handle failure can be vital to our spiritual life and growth. The Bible reveals failures in great figures like Abraham, Moses, Elijah, David, and Peter. Their failures did not keep them from effective service for God. Learning from our failures, confessing them to God, enables us to be used by God in ways beyond our imagination.
In the Christian life we are not spared from struggles, losses and failures. The truth is none of us is immune from defeat because none of us will always and perfectly appropriate the victory over sin that Christ has accomplished for us by the cross. We don’t like to talk about it or admit it, but there is a lot of failure. Failure whether from not succeeding despite good efforts or from sin, is a fact of life for the Christian community, but praise God, His grace is more than adequate to overcome any situation (2 Cor 12:9).
I have experienced losses and failures in my life. I especially struggled much when I was newly married and became a parent of young children. The church then had no intentional programme of assigning mentors to young parents. (Note: I’m not attributing my failure to the church.) It was pretty much ‘trial and error’, but mostly error as we tried to parent and raise our children depending largely on secular resources. Many times I felt like a failure. But today I am serving God in family life because of His amazing grace.
There is a tendency to believe if we fail we are no good. But when I look back on my life, as well as examples in Scripture, I have learnt that God does allow failures in us to bring about transformation and good. He does not always come to our rescue when we are heading in the wrong direction or making the wrong choices. He allows us to go through failures so that we can learn and grow.
Here are some ways to look at failure:
- Our failures do not stop God from loving us. Sometimes we have to live with the consequences of failures or sins, but always remember that God will continue to love us in Christ and use us for His purposes because of grace.
- Do not make lame excuses for our failures. Confess any sin to God when sin is involved. Be assured of God’s forgiveness and don’t indulge in self-pity or guilt trips. (1 John 1:9)
- Learn from our failure and put it behind us and move ahead (Phil. 3:13).
- Believe God still has a plan for our lives.God is not done with us yet, and we need to let Him work out His plan in us.
“He has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.” (2 Tim 1:9)
“God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.” – Vance Havner
By Har Lee John, Pastoral Staff (YCKC Bulletin 27&28 August 2016)