How many of you (us) have ever failed a test or even multiple tests? What did you do? What are you doing today? Did those failings derail your future or did you allow the experience to challenge and make you better? How we choose to handle failing in any area of life, will either make or break us. If we allow the enemy to whisper or shout his condemning lies, then we will buy into the lie that we are a failure.
Have you ever wondered why there are so many people living on the streets and what their back story is? You may be shocked to learn that some of them are college graduates, former executives of major companies. Gifted and talented people who have somehow become disillusioned with their lives. While others may have fallen prey to greed, drugs and alcoholism, or maybe they made a poor business decision. There are varied reasons why people end up on the ash heap of poor choices. But are they a failure, or did they fail? Perspective is the mother of turn around, the great U-Turn. People label themselves, or allow society to label them as failures without knowing their stories. Everyone fails at something, but everyone is also good at something. Whatever you fail at doesn’t make you a failure. If you’re afraid to fail, then you’re limiting yourself. You’re stifling opportunity for greater growth.
If we’re enjoying electricity today, flying in airplanes, driving cars, using technology of any kind, watching television, listening to the radio, using a washer and dryer, vacuum cleaner, ecterea, guess what? The inventors all failed. They didn’t get it right the first time or the hundredth time. But because they didn’t consider failing the same as being a failure, they; A.Graham Bell, Edison, Wright brothers, Ford, Charles Babbage and many others like them, have opened the door for others to improve upon what they started mostly through trial and error. A toddler learns to walk by falling and getting back up. A baby learns to crawl by belly flopping before realizing that they can get on all fours, hands and knees. Failing like breathing is a natural part of growing up. None of us skipped the natural process of conception to get here except for Adam and Eve. What I’m saying is that life is a process of starts and fits. The old adage ‘you must crawl before you walk’, is referring to trial and error on the road to success..
Testing is designed to evaluate progress not failure. If you’re failing at anything, it’s an opportunity for growth- not giving up. God has never once called any of His children failures. We may fail in our attempt to serve Him the way we should, we may fail in our obedience to Him because we use our own human efforts, but He’s never once labeled us failures. He never sent Jesus to die for and redeem failures, He came to seek and save the “lost” His image bearers. Failure to accept Jesus’ invitation to a better life does not make you a failure, but you will fail in your attempt to come up with your own way to Him.
When Elijah ran away in fear of Jezebel’s threat, He was fresh off his greatest demonstration of the power of God on Mount Carmel. Was he a failure because the man of power had run like a coward from a woman? Not in God’s eyes. He may have thought he was finished but God was just getting started. 1 Kings 18-19. Was Peter considered a failure because he denied knowing Jesus? Maybe to us, but not to Jesus. John 21. Was the woman caught in adultery considered a failure? Maybe to those who wanted her stoned to death, but not to Jesus she wasn’t. John 8:1-11. Was the woman at the well considered a failure? Maybe, by the people in Samaria, but not to Jesus who asked for and offered her life giving water. John 4. Was the demoniac considered a failure because he lived in a graveyard? To the people in Gedera he was, but not to Jesus who went to the region specifically for him. Mark 5:1-20. Was Moses considered a failure because he didn’t make it to the promised land? Maybe by some religious leaders. But not to Jesus, he and Elijah were front and center on the Mount of transfiguration. Matthew 17:1-13. Was Thomas a failure for doubting the resurrection of Jesus, someone he had spent three years with? Maybe to some scholars. But not to Jesus. He showed up for Thomas but never called him a failure for doubting. John 20:24-29. Was the woman pouring costly perfume on the feet of Jesus and wiping His feet with her hair considered a failure and an outcast? Maybe by the elitists in the room. But not Jesus. Luke 7:36-50
So what’s your story? We’re imperfect people who have the honor of serving a perfect Savior. We may fail in life, fail at things. But failures never! As you read the accounts of the people I’ve showcased today, you can take confidence in the knowledge that God our Father, Jesus our Savior and the Holy Spirit our Teacher knows our failings but never labels us failures. We are more than conquerors through Him who not only loves us but gave Himself for us. He didn’t die for failures. Stop seeing yourself as a failure because you failed at something. Failing will only become failure when we give up. Never view failing as a reason to give up, see it as life patents. Roadmaps to even greater possibilities. Sometimes the thing we fail at may not be what we were designed to do. Or maybe we’re good at whatever it is, but failing at life. The absence of joy means it’s time to evaluate your decisions through prayer, allowing the Holy Spirit to bring clarity. Walking away isn’t a sign of failure, it's a sign of growth, spiritual maturity even. God has a plan for all of us, finding out what that is will lead to greater satisfaction and fulfillment.
I’m sure if we took the time to research people who were considered failures because they walked away from what the world considered success to go do some menial work but had found real joy and purpose in their decision we’d be shocked just how many there are. Jesus could’ve been labeled a failure. He gave up the splendor and riches of heaven to be ridiculed, maligned, lied about, spit upon, beaten, stripped of all dignity, but He called it the joy set before Him. Hebrews 12:2. When you do what you love it’s never failure, it's progress. Don’t ever consider failing as failure. They’re opposing outcomes. One is designed to test and mature us, the other is designed to condemn and rob us of what we’re capable of becoming. The streets of our cities are filled with limitless potential, gifting and talents, written off as failures by some, but not by Jesus. He saw something worth saving in all of us who have failed. And this is what He said.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
His is a call from the condemning label of failure to finding success in failing. Discovering the rhythms of His grace. Being afraid to fail will lead to a life of pride. A life of self righteousness, and self reliance. Get the ‘I‘ out and rest in His secure love. Even at our worst His love never wanes. Overachieving is overrated, finding joy in what you’re wired by your Creator to do, is true success. You’ll do it for free. You’ll be physically tired but emotionally refreshed. That’s failing at its ultimate, failing to depend on anything or anyone but the Lord Jesus Christ. Jeremiah 17:7. We’re only failures if we abandon, abort, or give up on our God given dreams. That word should never be allowed to be spoken by believers in Christ Jesus. We’re the righteousness of God in Christ, we’re chosen royalty. We’re seated in heavenly places with God in Christ. Low self esteem has no place in the redeemed child of God who knows who they are positionally in Jesus. So before you label yourself a failure, check your genealogy. 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit
November 17, 2021