Summary: We all fail, but most of us struggle to come to grips with our failure - God’s Word provides instruction.
Please Note: To the degree I may positively contribute at all is a reflection of the degree to which I have been open to and willing to learn from the Holy Spirit, in God’s Word and through other servants of His. All of my messages are directly or indirectly, consciously or subconsciously influenced by others. I have no problem referring to or quoting others who have expressed something better than I ever can and do my best to give credit in every instance possible. However, per general rules of publishing, I do not notate quotes or illustrations that are common knowledge and widely available.
OVERCOMING THE FOUR “F”s: FAILURE
Sometimes, things don’t go or end up the way we want or hope. We all have failed – sometimes even while others have succeeded. We aren’t able to complete a task or challenge, we lose a game, fail a test, let somebody down, fail in a relationship – or marriage, do something that is wrong, or even turn our backs on Jesus..
And, sometimes, we feel like a failure because of something that happens outside of our control. It could be losing your job because of ’downsizing’, your parents (or children) fighting or getting divorced, the weather ruins your crops or your carefully laid out plans, or perhaps having something or someone we really counted on suddenly taken away for one reason or another.
Whatever it is, it can feel like life hit in the chin, you’re just a dunce, or no matter how many times you try you can’t even hit the target right in front of you.
The question I would like us to consider this morning is: How can and should we face failure – especially our own? What do we do when it seems like we can’t do anything right? How do we respond to life’s disappointments?
There are many models that we could follow. First, consider some of the most common ones, which are also the ones we should not follow:
The Presidential Model - Cover it up and conveniently forget.
The Jim & Tammy Baker Model – Refuse to take the blame. Shed a lot of crocodile tears. Threaten to sue.
The Celebrity Model – Deny. Act indignant. Throw some money around. Take advantage of the free publicity.
The Enron Model – ’Cook’ the books to make your colossal failure look like a tremendous success. Then destroy all evidence to the contrary and live it up extravagantly.
The Judas Iscariot Model – Give up. Despair. Hang yourself. Be replaced. Set your failure in permanent ink for all history.
Fortunately, we do NOT have to follow these models. We are blessed because God and His Word tell us a lot about facing failure. In fact, the people in the Bible we look up to all the time were pros at failing! Adam & Eve only had one simple rule to keep and they couldn’t even do that! Abraham lied about his wife in Egypt and said she was just his sister. Esau sold his birthright. Joseph’s brothers tried to kill him and then sold him into slavery. David loved someone else’s wife and then had her husband killed. Solomon received divine wisdom and then willfully chose to live like a fool. Elijah allowed himself to get so depressed that after defeating thousands, he ran away from a single woman and begged God to take his life. Jonah first rejected God and His plan. How many times did the 12 disciples fail to understand Jesus? To trust Him? On the eve before His arrest, they couldn’t even stay awake for Him! And what about John’s three denials?
The Good News of Great Joy is that we have a Lord who loves us in spite of our failures. That doesn’t mean He always loves our failures or that we won’t sometimes have consequences because of them, but He will still love us and be there to help us overcome even the worst of failures!
We’re going to try something different today. Whenever a Scripture verse drops on the screen, I’m going to ask you to read it together with me. Let’s try it now with the first one we need to remember this morning. Hebrews 13:5b
OUR GREAT GOD OF COMFORT (parts based on a sermon given by Dr. Jerry Falwell):
It is at times of failure and disappointment that we most need to be comforted, isn’t it? I want to make sure that you learn and never forget that if you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, He will always be with you and He will always comfort you – no matter what is happening!!!
That doesn’t mean that He won’t prevent you from ever failing. Those things are all part of what it means to live and learn in a sinful world. But He WILL always be with you during those times to comfort you, guide you, teach you and make you stronger and more godly because of your experiences. The world convinces us that failure is the ’unpardonable sin.’ But, God Almighty desires to use our failures to shape who we are and demonstrate His glory. Will you let Him?