Summary: Talks about the good that God can bring out of our failures. How to overcome failures in our lives

Overcoming Failures

Num 14:44-45

Purpose Statement: To see God’s purposes even in the midst of their


One character that I really identify with is Charlie Brown. One of the

things I remember about him most is his relationship with Lucy. She offers to

hold the ball for him every year, so that he can kick it. And then what

happens? Right, she pulls it away at the last second. He goes flying in the air

and lands on his back. I guess I admire it because year after year, he keeps

trying. He must know in his heart that she going to do the same thing. But,

he keeps trying. Theodore Roosevelt once said that “The only man who

never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.” So, is all failure

bad? More specifically, what is your definition of success and failure? What

do you think is God’s definition of failure? Can anything good come out of

the failures that we experience?

The Biblical View of Success and Failure

The more I look at Scripture, I see people whose ministry in the eyes of

the world may be considered a failure, but not in God’s eyes. John the

Baptist was beheaded in prison. Jeremiah escaped Jerusalem with only his

life. Moses was not allowed to enter the Promise Land. John was placed in

exile on Patmos. Isaiah was told in Is 6:9-10 that his mission would not be

successful in turning many back to God. Isaiah, tradition tells us, was sawed

in 2. Christ was homeless. Often his preaching drove people to say that he is

crazy and they walked away from Him like the rich young ruler did.

“Jesus took the risk of being open with people with the love of God;

many responded favorably, many did not. If, then, we live in the love of God

and listen to the Word of God, we will meet constant failure. It will be

tempting, because we live in such a results-dominated society, to see failure

as reprehensible and therefore to be avoided. One way to avoid failure is to

call it a mistake-and then to try to eliminate any mistakes, to make sure we

things right and that we succeed. Many local churches base their activities on

such priorities and virtually reject anything that is at all risky, because “we

cannot afford to make mistakes.” David Prior, 1992.

Are we still wililng as a church to risk failing and dream big. Could it be that

God’s definition of what success and failure is isn’t measure the same as the

way we see it?

With Christ, success is not performance; it’s surrender. To succeed is

to surrender your motives, ambitions, and priorities to Christ.” Patrick

Morley, p.49

Read Scripture Numbers 14:44-45. God doesn’t engineer failure. He

did not order this group to try to go into the promise land. It should have

been very clear He wasn’t going with them either. But, by God’s grace He

can bring good out of the bad and out of failure.

“Often the doorway to success is entered through the hallway of failure. Our

sins are a forcible reminder of our need for God’s grace; our weakness makes

us appreciate God’s strength. An understanding of our frailty is the basis for

a dynamic relationship with God.” p.30, Erwin Lutzer.

My biggest regrets come from not trying, not in failing.

3 Positive Results from each failure:

1. Make me more dependent on God. It could draw me closer and make me

more dependent. “Our failures can be used as stepping-stones to a more

meaningful relationship with God.” preface, Lutzer.

Failure helps me to become more aware of my weakness. Our defeats

enlighten us that we may not thik of ourselves more highly than we should.

2. Keep me humble (Lk 18:10-14) Moses was a man who met many failures

and victories. He is described as the most humble man on earth Num 12:3

It is said that Thomas Edison performed 50,000 experiments before he

succeeded in producing a storage battery. We might assume the famous

inventor would have had some serious doubts along the way. But when

asked if he ever became discouraged working so long without results, Edison

replied, “Results? Why, I know of 50,000 things that won’t work.”

Abraham Lincoln ran for public office on 7 occassions and failed. Albert

Einstein was once told that he was a poor student that wouldn’t amount to

much. A preacher once became so despondent after his first pastorate he

considered leaving the ministry. His wife encouraged him to stay. He moved

to another state and began a new work and now pastors a church of several

thousand members, is on the radio daily and authored many books. His name

is Chuck Swindoll.

3. Makes me appreciate the mercy and forgiveness of God. (1 John 1:8)

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