Failure is not fatal

The last time you failed, did you stop trying because you failed or did you fail because you stopped trying. Wisdom is sometimes learned more from failure than from success. In a recent national survey the fear of failure came up as the second most common fear. The Bible gives us antidotes to the fear of failure

1. Remember – everybody fails. Have you ever made any mistakes? Welcome to the human race. Failure validates your humanity  In the Good News Bible James 3:2 states it like this, “We all stumble in many ways.” Nobody is perfect.

2. Realize – failure is not fatal. We greatly over exaggerate the effects of failure “No matter how often an honest man falls he always gets up again” (Proverbs 24:16,GN) Even good people stumble. Even the righteous stumble. Also, the people who are trying to do what’s right will make mistakes. Paul is a good example of this. In 2 Corinthians 4:L8-9, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed. Perplexed, but not in despair. Persecuted, but not abandoned, struck down, but not destroyed.” God says, I am going to take care of you. You don’t need top be afraid of failure. Paul says, I take my limps like everybody else. So how do you reduce that fear of failure?  Let’s redefine failure. What is failure? A good definition of failure is refusing to try again. That’s the greatest failure of all. Paul says, I get knocked down, but I’m not knocked out. I deep on going.

3. Recognize he benefits of failure. We usually think of failure as being negative experience, but wise people that the Bible talks about in the book of Proverbs know how to take advantage of failure. Wise people learn from failure. They make the most of it. One of the primary tools that God uses in your life to make you what He wants you to be is failure. There are benefits from failure.

God uses failure to educate you. Mistakes are learning experiences. There are some things we only learn through failure. For some of us that’s the only way to learn. Proverbs 20:30, “A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful” (GN).

God uses failure to change you. Proverbs 20:30, “Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways” (GN). Many times we change, not when we see the light, but when we feel the heat. When you fail, maybe God’s trying to get your attention and saying, “I want you to go in a new direction. I don’t like you going that way. I want you to go another way.” An Old Testament example is the prophet Elijah in 1 Kings 19.  Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways.

God use failure to help build our character. Romans 5:3-4, “We can rejoice when we run into problems and trials” (Living Bible). Is this our typical reaction? No probably not. “…for we know that they are good for us. They develop strength of character”. Failure has a way of softening our hearts. It helps us grow up and be mature. I makes us sensitive to others.

4. Relax in God’s Grace. Psalm 103:14, “God knows what we are made of. He remembers that we are dust.” God isn’t surprised when you fail. Even if you do fail. God is not going to stop loving you. If you think that you have to be perfect in order for God to love you, you have missed the message of the Cross. The central message of the Bible is this: God loves you not because of who you are, but because of who He is. Colossians 2:14 states, “God cancelled our debt which listed all the rules we failed to follow…(NCV) Notice – “all the rules we failed to follow…He took away that record with its rules and nailed it to the cross.” The Christian life is not a mistake free life. But it can be a guilt free life. It is not a mistake free life. If God only used perfect people what do you think would be done in this world? Nothing. So relax in God’s grace. What is so amazing about God’s grace is not just that He forgives our failures, but He gives us the power to start over. What have you always wanted to do but were afraid because you might fail? What would you attempt for God if you knew you couldn’t fail?

The worst effect of the fear of failure is that it paralyzes your potential.

It locks you in a self imposed prison. It keeps you from being what God meant for you to be.

It causes you to miss God’s best because you don’t even try. Norman Vincent Peale once said, “I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail than attempt to do nothing and succeed.”

Jesus told the story one time about the fear of failure. There were some men that the master divided up talents among them. Two of them doubled their talents. The third man did nothing. He hid it. The master asked, “Why did you do that?” The man answered, “Because I was afraid and I hid my talent.” Are you doing that? Are you letting the fear of failure keep you from being all God wants you to be? My advice is–Don’t. Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from being what God wants you to be.

(Taken from a message by Pastor Mitchell Corder)