Dealing with failure

Satan only has a few plots against believers.  I imagine that he has them on well-worn clipboards. One is doubt.  Others are disunity, suspicion and grumbling.  Then there is greed and lust.  But a big one is failure, discouragement and a sense of worthlessness.  Somehow he manages to take a fact (we fail) which God accepts and loves us despite, and tempts us to feel unacceptable to God. Satan

So how are we to respond to our failings?  I can’t prove this, and scripture only gives us a glimpse, but I think its something like this.  We are in training for a larger service in eternity, and our place, standing and even capacity to experience there may depend on the development of our souls here and now.  And He often chooses difficulty as His tool to develop us.  So, somehow in God’s amazing wisdom and power, His Bride, the church, the object of so much of history, will be spotless and pure and without fault, because He will bring it about.   When we think of our own failure, we need to realize that we are in good company. Some of the most important Biblical figures were real failures!  Take Moses, David, Peter and Paul.  Between them they wrote 22 of the Bibles’s 66 books.

Moses had a temper (broke the tablets of commandments Ex 32:19), and was a murderer (killed an Egyptian – Ex 2:12) David was an adulterer and a murderer (Bathsheba & Uriah her husband – II Sam 11) Peter was a hot head, liar, faithless. Episode of walking on water. Denying Jesus. Absent at cross – had run off! Paul was a murderer – consented to Stephen’s stoning (Acts 7).

So failing, apparently, is not an issue in God’s eyes, rather it’s what we do when we’ve failed. “For the righteous man falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked are overthrown by calamity” (Prov 24:16). God sends disillusions to breakdown our illusions in order that we might see the truth. Our sorrow and pain often increases our capacity for joy.

He calls to us “only acknowledge your guilt” (Jer 3:13). I have to face up to it and admit it, firstly to myself! I need to stop telling myself how righteous I am! Then I need to tell Him. And that’s costly, because confession to Him goes hand in hand with confessing to others (when a wrong involves them), and forgiving others, without exception!!

Admission of failure purges pride, reputation, self-sufficiency and self-righteousness if we are honest with ourselves and God, eager to be changed. God can then work “for my power is made perfect in weakness” (II Cor 12:9). Inner concealing of it makes us feel defeated and static if we say it isn’t a problem … “Its just the way I am” …. “His family have always been moody” …. “She knows I love her, my cross words are soon forgotten”.

God says “Only acknowledge your guilt”. To myself; this part of me is not as it should be. To God; I acknowledge that this is wrong —> genuine repentance will result in apologizing to others. Healing forgiveness will flow, provided I forgive others unreservedly. The process repeated as a lifestyle will see me changed!

Published by John Sloan

Husband, father, grandfather, teacher, pastor and doctor. I am a keen observer of human behaviour, and an avid follower of Jesus Christ

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