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