Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Conquering the giant of failure

Published:Saturday | August 6, 2016 | 8:07 AM

Every one of us will face the giant of failure at some point, and if you aren't prepared, it's going to take you down. We can't stop failure from happening, but with God's help, we can grow through the experience of failure.

In God's eyes, failure is not final and can be a new starting point. We see this in the story of King David. David was Israel's greatest king and a man after God's own heart. However, David also faced great failures - adultery, murder, incest, and rebellion. The big question for us, like it was for David, is, when we fail, will we give up, or will we grow up in our relationship with God?

Let's look at how we can overcome the 'giant of failure'.

 

1. DEAL WITH THE EMOTIONS OF OUR FAILURE

 

Failure hurts! Especially if your identity is connected to the thing at which you fail. We must learn to deal with the emotions of shock, fear, anger, shame, and despair associated with our failure. Otherwise, we can get stuck in any one of these five emotional states and become paralysed by our failure. Philippians 3:13 (NLT) encourages us: "I focus on this one thing: forgetting the past, and looking forward to what lies ahead."

God is always stretching His hand towards us to give us the help we need. He says: "Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you." Isaiah 41:10 NLT.

 

2. DRAW CLOSE TO GOD IN THE MIDST OF OUR FAILURE

 

There are two possible responses when it comes to failure: you can either push away from God, or you can pull towards God. God wants to use our failure to draw us closer to Him. Note that God did not cause your failure. This is what is outstanding about David. He had major failures, but in each of those, he kept looking up to God. Psalm 51:10 NLT says: "Create in me a clean heart, oh God ... Do not banish me from your presence and don't take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation ... ."

We have the same choice as David when we fail at something. We can let it defeat us and keep us from God, or we can let it draw us close to God.

 

3. DETERMINE THE CAUSE OF OUR FAILURE

 

Evaluating the cause of our failure can be the hardest thing, but not doing it can lead to us making the same mistakes over and over again. David says, in Psalm 38:1 4 NLT: "O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage ... My guilt has overwhelmed me - it is a burden too heavy to bear." David felt guilty because he had messed up, but through his failure, he turned to God, and God reminded him that He wasn't through with him. Ask God, 'Why did I fail?' Then, listen and learn what He wants to teach you.

Romans 8:28 NLT states: "... God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose ... ."

In each failure, we need to ask God: God, what are you trying to teach me? God, what's your new purpose for me?

 

4. DECIDE TO FOLLOW GOD'S NEW PLAN FOR OUR LIFE

 

God loves to give new plans and revised directions. The truth is, most of us have such a deep-seated fear of failure that we don't listen to God's voice. Nevertheless, God loves healing hearts and giving fresh starts. In Psalm 37:23-24 NLT: David says, "The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand."

Whatever failure you're facing right now, it is not final. It is not the end of your story. Your failure should not prevent you from being used by God.

Now, no discussion of failure would be complete without talking about what the Bible considers the ultimate unpardonable failure, which is "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 12:31 32).

What is this? It can mean the failure to accept and follow Jesus Christ when the Holy Spirit prompts you to do so. But as long as you still have breath, you can say yes to following Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.

If you want to defeat the 'giant of failure' in your life, you can start by saying this prayer: "Dear Father, I acknowledge that I have failed in the past and no one else can lift me up again except You. Help me to deal with the emotions and to determine the circumstances that surrounded my failures. Then, show me how to move forward according to Your plan for my life. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com