Summary: Failure is an important subject to study because many of us suffer a fear of how others see us rather than thinking about what God wants us to do.
Failure is an important subject to study because many of us suffer a fear of how others see us rather than thinking about what God wants us to do. Partly, this is because within our American society, more so than others, we view any failure as a permanent mar against our esteem. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Failure, particularly when it involves sin, has consequences affecting you and others. When understanding God's amazing grace and His incredible forgiveness through Christ, a mature Christian grasps the concept that his or her failures are not the end of the world, nor permanent deterrents to salvation. To fail simply means you have serious or even troubled situations to strive to overcome or work through. Romans 3:23 teaches us; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Certainly, everyone dreams of being be successful in marriage, raising children, in the workplace, and in social interactions with friends and relatives. Have you ever met anyone who purposely set out to be a failure? That's why “How to Succeed” manuals and self-help books on zillions of topics are so widely read. Truth be known, in view of this, there is often an abundance of deep-seated defeatism in the lives of many Christians. None of us can expect to live trouble free lives. No, not one of us! It just ain't happening and will not happen 'till we get to live in heaven or on the new earth! But never fear—Christ can get us there.
Failures can grow entrenched roots arising and fertilized on many different grounds. Some are the results of specific sinful actions, but others are not. Some are simply the backwash of ignorance or uncontrollable circumstances like floods over a farmer's crops or the exact opposite, like no rainfall at all during the growing season. Naturally, this kind of failure, though painfully serious, is not as damning as spiritual failures.
Consciously or subconsciously, we often try to ignore our daily sins and life's insufficiencies because to acknowledge them is to admit failure. Fear of failure often paralyzes people into a state of no action at all. Those so affected—often refuse to tackle any meaningful evangelism or Church-based responsibilities out of fear of failure. People believe if they fail, they are no good. They think failure equates to being a bad person or a non-achiever. But, as previously mentioned, most of the great leaders in Scripture at some time in their careers experienced some sort of failure.
Thomas Edison is quoted as having said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” It is almost impossible to consider the lasting effects on our modern day lives had Edison quit after a mere 1,000 or 2,000 failing disappointments. Over his adult lifetime, he was awarded more than 2,300 patents here in the US of A and abroad. He developed hundreds of inventions distributed throughout the technologies of recorded sounds, telegraphy, telephony, electricity, and power.
Failure can defeat you. Let that sink in, but don't take it to heart as a preordained result in any circumstance. Failure can, and should, fortify you for the next challenge. Failure could not only strengthen you, but successfully overcoming failure(s) can tighten your bonds to our Lord and Savior.
Look who failed in the Bible. Adam and Eve failed. After all, they lived in a world more perfect than we will ever see in this life. Cain failed when he allowed feelings of rejection, envy, and jealousy's evil clutches to invade his thoughts, and he committed two unthinkable acts. We all remember that Cain killed Abel, but how many recall that Cain lied to God about Abel's whereabouts? When asked of Abel's whereabouts, Cain replied, “Who am I—my brother's keeper?” Yet despite of Cain's atrocious acts of murdering his innocent brother and falsehoods spoken directly to God, God placed a mark of protection on Cain so no one would attempt to kill him. Is not our God a loving and just God?
At the age of forty, Moses failed when, in anger, he killed the Egyptian man for flogging a Hebrew slave. Not only did his anger get the best of him, but he slyly looked to see if someone could see him before he struck the man dead. Then Moses buried the body and became a runaway fugitive. After knocking about for another forty years, when confronted by God's angel of the Lord appearing in the flames of fire from within a burning bush, Moses heard God's instructions but hesitated by saying, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” Moses tried to use his stuttering or difficulties with speaking as an excuse not to take on God's mission.