Your Failure and God’s Grace

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The Bible tells us there are at least four antidotes to the fear of failure.

1. Remember, everybody fails. (Part 1)
2. Realize it’s not fatal. (Part 2)
3. Recognize the benefits.

1. REMEMBER THAT EVERYBODY FAILS.
Have you ever made any mistakes? Welcome to the human race. It just validates your humanity. James 3:2 “We all stumble in many ways.”

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2. REALIZE IT’S NOT FATAL
We really do over exaggerate the effects of our failings. We blow them all out of proportion. Failing is not the end of the world. It’s probably not going to kill you. The fear of failure is far more damaging than any particular failure.

3. RECOGNIZE THE BENEFITS

We usually think of failure as being a negative experience. But wise people that the Bible talks about in the book of Proverbs know how to take advantage of failure. They learn from it. They make the most of it. They use it as an education. Failure is one of the primary tools that God uses in your life to develop you into the person He wants you to become. What possible good is failure in your life? Let’s look at a few.

1. God uses failure to educate us. Mistakes are simply learning experiences. There are some things we only learn through failure. This means some of us are highly educated! For some, that’s the only way we seem to learn. Proverbs 28:13 “A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful.” Notice the words “mistakes” and “successful” are in the same verse and they go together. How do you learn to become a success? By learning what doesn’t work and not doing it any more. I tried more things when I pastored a church that didn’t work than did. Somehow I just wasn’t afraid of trying things. I wanted every staff member, every minister in our church, making at least one good mistake a week. If you’re not making any mistakes you’re not growing. You’re not learning. If you make the same mistake every week, now you’re in trouble! But you should be making a new one every week. If you’re not taking any risks you’re not growing. The freedom from the fear of failure is the freedom to grow. God uses failure to educate me.

2. God uses failure to motivate us. Proverbs 20:30 “Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways.” A lot of 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, there is a better way. I want you to go this other way.” There’s the story of Elijah in the Old Testament where he goes down by the brook and the ravens were coming down and feeding him, the water was there. But one day the brook dried up and he gets a little upset. “God, why did the brook dry up?” Sometimes that happens in your life. The brook dries up. The resources aren’t there any more. God said, “It’s real simple. I don’t want you there any more.” As long as the brook was there, Elijah was going to hang out there. It was comfortable but God said, “I want you to move on!” So God lights a fire under us. Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways.

3. God uses it to cultivate us, and to build our character. Romans 5:3-4 “We can rejoice when we run into problems and trials.” Is this really your typical reaction? No, not really. “… 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 become mature. It makes us sensitive to others. Failure makes you less judgmental, helps you be a little more sympathetic to people around you who are hurting. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to live with you if you had an unbroken string of successes? You’d be some pompous jerk! You’d think you had the Midas touch. If you never had any failures you’d be unlivable! We couldn’t live with you. God uses it to cultivate us.

Failure does not automatically grow your character. Failure just makes some people bitter. Failure only builds your character when you respond to it correctly, when you learn from it, when you grow from it, when you say, “What didn’t work here and what can I change?” You’ve got to respond correctly.

Remember… Everybody fails – failure is not fatal and there are benefits if you respond correctly.

By RON CORZINE/roncorzine.com

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