Summary: In the journey of life we want to run the race faithfully but we constantly find ourselves failing. However because we are put of the church we are able to fail well. To fail well requires is to fulfil our responsibility and accept our vulnerability.
You can listen to the full message here:-
No-one wakes up in the morning … or at least I don’t know any Christians … who wake up and say, “God let’s make this day a day of failure.”
You and me God – we can do this.
But I do know many Christians, and I have sat with many Christians, who are basically saying, “I’m not running the race. I’m failing.”
I keep falling into the same temptation.
I want to be different and I want to change and I hate myself for my incapacity to say no to temptation.
My times with God feel forced.
I don’t feel His nearness. I read the Word but nothing is really happening. When I pray my mind becomes easily distracted.
I’m tired; I’m always tired.
My life is too full. There are too many expectations on me. I just run from one disaster to the next. It is all too much. And I just don’t have time for Jesus.
We fail in our spiritual lives. With this failure in mind today we are going to explore this question.
Is it possible to fail well?
Let’s turn to Galatians 6:1-10 (read)
Is it possible to fail well?
Indeed it is.
In the church of Jesus there is a “fail-well” process. Paul tells us about that process. Which could be summarised in this way:-
We are RESPONSIBLE for each other.
We should be VULNERABLE to each other.
And when we do this we can all fail well and, at the same time, grow in depth and strength in our spiritual life. It revolves around these two key words.
We have a RESPONSIBILITY to act when we see a fellow believer falling into sin.
“If someone is caught in a sin … restore that person gently” (Galatians 6:1).
That doesn’t mean we start a witch-hunt within the congregation. As if we now have to go and uncover everyone’s little secrets.
Nor does this passage give us the right to come down heavily on those who might have different opinions, or with whom our character clashes.
Paul is doing here is calling us to action “caught” … “restored”.
There will be times when we see the people we love acting in a way that is going to result in a serious disruption between them and God. Because that is what sin is ... a serious disruption between us and God.
When we see that happening we can’t just sit back and do nothing … feeling that it is not our business to get involved. Or that we can just ignore it.
If you had a festering wound on your leg, with obvious red lines creeping up toward your heart, would you ignore it? No.
When a member of our church family is infected with sin and it is obvious to others to the point where it is impacting others can we afford to ignore it? No.
We have to get involved and take risks. We can’t stand coldly by hoping the issue will evaporate, or that the fallen believer will heal himself, or fade away, or something!
God’s people are failing … in the church. The church where the head is Jesus and he says.
It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but those who are ill. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. (Mark 2:17)
And he says:-
The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. (Luke 19:10)
The local church is a clinic for sinners. This brings us to the issue of vulnerability.
We must be VULNERABLE enough to admit that we all struggle with sin.
“If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.” (Galatians 6:3)
It is one thing to fail – because failure is hard. But it is harder to admit that we are failing.
The short-comings and failings of others are so clear to us.
But we don’t so easily see the same short-comings in ourselves.
Jesus spoke about it.
Talking the log out our own eye so we can remove the speck in the eye of the other person.
If we are going to “fail well” we need to be prepared for the moments when others will come alongside because we need to be restored.
If we can’t allow ourselves to admit that we also struggle with sin ...
If we think we are something, when we are nothing ...
Then a basic hypocrisy has come into our lives.
It’s not easy to admit we are not as perfect as we would like other people to think we are.
It’s not easy to have others identify areas of our lives which do not conform to God's law.
It’s not easy, but it needs to happen. We must be vulnerable enough to let it happen.