Summary: This is the second part to the message, dealing with biblical truths that will help people recover from times of failure.
“All of us have failed, falling way short of fulfilling the beauty of God‘s plan, that which God intended us to be.”(paraphrase of Romans 3:23)
One of the first facts of failure is that failure is a fact. We are all going to fail in some way. The Bible clearly tells us that. “We all stumble in many ways.” And we are learning how to handle failure. If failure is a fact of life, we need to know how to handle it. Many people stay bound their entire lives because of a failure - either one major one, or several small ones, or because of a repeat offence.
I have discovered that many times we mistake self-disappointment for sinful degradation. We can disappoint ourselves, and we think it is testimonial of God’s disappointment. But God said, “My strength is made perfect in your weakness.” He ministers through those failing, insufficient areas.
That’s not to say that we don’t need to strive to do good, but that we need to get failure into proper focus. There are times when we sin. There’s no other way to say it. But there are other times when we just feel “satanic guilt.” The devil just wants you to feel guilty, for no reason. He wants you to feel like a failure.
And this morning, we began to understand a couple of things about failure, that fine tunes our perspective a little bit. 1. Remember That Everybody Fails. It’s a fact of life, and a Biblical truth. We all fail. 2. Realize That Failure Isn’t Fatal. The devil will try and convince you that you will never get back up. Failure isn’t fatal, it’s not the end. Failure isn’t final with the Father. I’m glad of that.
But let me share with you two more things that we should do:
3. RECOGNIZE THE BENEFITS - Are there any benefits? We usually think of failure as a negative experience. But wise people (like the kind in Proverbs) learn from failure. Wise people use failure to their advantage. Wise people make the most of failure. They learn from it, they grow from it. They use it as a stepping stone. They get back up and try again.
Thomas Edison failed 9,999 times before he figured out the light bulb. He said, “They were not failures, I just learned 9,999 ways it wouldn’t work.”
George Washington lost two-thirds of his battles, but he is known as one of the greatest men ever in our nation, our first President, and a founding father of our country.
R. P. Macy, the guy who founded Macy’s department store, failed seven times at retailing – seven bankruptcies before he started Macy’s, which was obviously a big success.
You have to learn from your failures, your mistakes. Did you know that one of God’s primary tools in making you the kind of person He wants you to be is failure? Failure is one of the tools God uses in your life to mold you, shape you, develop your character. *We rarely learn anything from success. Rarely. When we succeed we immediately think, “It’s just because of my sheer natural talent.” We don’t figure out why we succeeded. We seem to feel, "I just instantly knew how to do it.”
We rarely learn from our successes. But we can learn from our failures. And God uses those in our lives for multiple benefits. There are many ways He does that, but here are three ways that God uses failure to benefit your life.
1. God uses failure to educate me. Mistakes are a learning process. Some things we only learn through failure. One thing you learn is you learn about yourself. You learn more than your identity, you learn your content - your weakness, your inability, your insufficiency.
We learn that our ways are not good enough to propel us to success. We discover our inability to resist temptation, to stand on our own, and we recognize that we don’t know enough on our own, in our own wisdom and knowledge, to get us through in life. Failure teaches us about our self.
But failure also teaches us about God, His power, ability, sufficiency. It teaches us that we are dependent upon Him, and without utter dependence on God, we will fail and fall every time. Psalm 119:71 “My troubles all turned out for the best. They forced me to learn from God’s textbook.” God’s textbook is the Bible.
Isn’t it typical that often our Bible sets on our desk gathering dust but when the crisis comes, when the heat’s on, when the winds arise, we get out the Bible and start looking for truth and instruction and comfort and support and encouragement. God says, “Sometimes I have to use failure to get you into My Word so you’ll start learning the things that I want to teach you.”