Tuesday, January 11, 2011

MOVING FORWARD IN 2011...even in Failure!

Have you ever made a mistake? Have you really blown it big time? Welcome to the human race! If you have made mistakes, bad decisions, or experienced failure then it just means that you are alive. The Bible says in James 3:2, “We all stumble in many ways (NIV).” I do not know about you, but I can identify with that verse. We have all failed. We did not want to fail, but still we failed. We failed ourselves, our families, our friends, and we failed God.

So what if you have failed? Should you just give up? Should you write off your life? Is there any hope for you? The Bible is filled with examples of people who failed. Some of these people really made some mistakes, misjudgments, and wrong decisions. Still, we see God’s forgiveness being shown toward these people. We see these people throughout the Bible take advantage of a second chance and lead lives of significance.

Let me share with you some encouraging words about failure. First, you need to remember that failure is never fatal. Failure is apart of life. The only people who never fail are people who never attempt anything great. Author John Maxwell calls productive failure “failing forward.” In other words, failure is common when you are attempting great things and going beyond the status quo of life. Someone has said this: “Failure is not failing to reach your dream. Failure is not having a dream. Failure is not setting a goal and missing it. Failure is not setting a goal. Failure is not falling down. Failure is refusing to get back up.”

Secondly, failure actually has some benefits. Did you know that God often uses times of failure in our lives to make us into what we need to be? Failure is used by God to shape our character, mold our integrity, give us strength, teach us patience, and to help us learn to rely solely on God in this life. It is a wise person who looks at his or her failures, learns from them, and then uses those failures to their advantage.

Thirdly, failure is an opportunity for us to experience the grace of God. God is not surprised or taken back by our failures. In fact when we do fail, God never stops loving those who are His children. Often times it is in the middle of a time of failure when you learn just how loving God is in your life.

Finally, failures can be forgiven by God. The Bible calls our failures or our inability to measure up “sin.” In 1 John 1:9, there is a marvelous verse we need to know. John says, “If we confess our sin, He (God) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (NIV).” Bouncing back from failure is not always easy, but with God’s help and the help of friends from a local church or small group Bible study class you can overcome. Why not allow this time of failure in your life to be a time when God teaches you, motivates you, strengthens you, and grows you? God still has a plan for your life no matter how big the failure may be. Why don’t you talk to Him today about that failure and let Him work in your life?