In life there are times that failure finds us. It might be through a financial mistake, a disappointment in ministry, the end of a relationship, or a sin that seems to ruin our lives. Or maybe the failure is smaller like a minor car accident, a horrible outcome of a deacons' meeting, or a selfish act that demands that we apologize to another. It may be our fault or something that is beyond our control. Whether our “failures” seem big or small we each must decide whether we will face them with God or without Him.
What makes failure so difficult to deal with? We feel that it affects our self-worth, but as Christians it doesn’t. It makes us feel like life is out of control, but it’s not. It makes us feel like we’ve wasted time and effort but with God nothing is wasted. He works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Every experience good or bad has the potential of bringing us closer to Christ.
It is in this that we find that as a follower Christ there is no such thing as true failure. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. (Phil. 3:8) If knowing Christ is our ultimate purpose then every failure can be a step closer to Christ.
With God our sins are still sins and consequences are still real, but we can find grace and mercy in our time of need as God rebuilds our lives. We can face failure with a Savior who did not come to condemn, but came to save us and make us holy. With Christ we know that we are children of the King even though we may desperately need to make some changes in who we are. Even in the worst of disappointments or failures we still are a people with a hope and a future. That is what God does. He redeems, reconciles, and makes new. With Christ we can face even the worst of human failings and still learn and grow as we get up and start over.
In Christ our precious identity still remains. The resources of God are still at our disposal. An eternity with Christ is still our final destination. Because of this we can face the present and the future in a totally different way than we would without God. Yes, there are consequences for sin, but in Christ there is no condemnation. Our value is secure so we can move beyond the humiliation of people’s opinions. Our peace is secure if we will surrender the situation to God’s care. Our hope is secure because we know that God works all things, even failure, for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
Overcoming failure was part of many stories in scripture, Abraham, Isaac, Rahab, David, Samson, Mary Magdalene, Peter, and Moses. With God it was and is possible. Christ is sufficient even for failure. In Christ there is no eternal failure. Every supposed failure can lead us one step closer to Christ.
The two truths that form our true perspective. Who we are in Christ. (forgiven, child of the king, valuable, free, bound for eternal life, etc.) Who Christ is in us. (the one who works all things for the good, provider, great physician, redeemer, reconciler, purpose giver, sovereign God, the One who blesses the blessable, )
Even in our failing God uses our experiences for his good. Our experiences of failure to strengthen our character. Our suffering to teach us empathy. Our disappointment to work in us humility and dependence on God. All of this will provide us with a way to minister to others in similar situations. Our failures are but a mist and a vapor. Our life with Christ is eternal.
I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.