Monday Morning Devotion-September 25, 2023
Failing to Fail
Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22
*from June 2017
Hey fellow believer. Here's some news for you. Jesus has set you up to fail. Is that encouraging or what?
Here's something to think about. In an excerpt from John Ortberg's book: "The Me I want to Be: Becoming God's Best Version of You" I read this:
"Jesus will always lead us toward growth and growth always requires risk and risk always means failure. So, Jesus is leading us into failure. But, He never gives up on us because we fail." Now how about that? It certainly is food for thought.
Let's face it failure is a part of our life whether we like it or not. But failure is not all bad. In fact it is actually good for you…sometimes, maybe all the time because it means good things ahead.
J. K. Rowling is a highly successful author. Her Harry Potter books have sold over 400 million copies. Here are her thoughts on failure, yes, she has failed, at least a few times:
"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all in which case you fail by default."
That's kinda what Ortberg was saying when he talked about Jesus leading us into failure.
You can't really fail unless you take a risk. Jesus wants us to be better today than we were yesterday. In order to do that we must take some risks along the way and that practically guarantees that we will have some failures. But, if we don't take those risks, as Rowling says, we aren't really living so in fact we fail anyway.
Yes, God does have a plan for us and in it there is lots of room for failure. Although John Ortberg added this: "Go ahead and stumble. Failure isn't falling down. Failure is refusing to try! I have also heard it said that when you get knocked down you are not really failing unless you refuse to get back up. Then you do fail.
The late, great Pastor/Author/Theologian Dallas Willard said this: "The main thing God gets out of your life is the person you become. The main thing that you get out of your life is the person you become." Tricky, huh! But true.
Mickey Rooney passed away in 2014 at the age of 93 after eight decades as an actor, singer, comedian, dancer and songwriter. Yes, he did have some failures along the way. Here's what he said: "You always pass failure on your way forward."
I'm sure you heard stories about Thomas Edison and how many failures he had in his attempts to invent electricity. Well, he went on to invent the microphone, the phonograph, the incandescent light, the storage battery, talking movies and more than 1000 other things.
Well, the story has it that in December 1914 he had worked for 10 years on a storage battery, when one evening a spontaneous combust broke out in the film room and within minutes all the packing compounds, celluloid for records and film and other flammable good were in flames.
As his son Charles searched frantically for Edison. He found his Dad calmly watching the fire. His face was glowing. He shouted for Charles to get mother and bring her there because "She will never see anything like this as long as she lives."
The next morning, surveying the ruins Thomas Edison said: "There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew." Three weeks later he had invented the first phonograph.
I read that story on-line at Bible.org where they also had these thoughts about how believers deal with failure:
1) Mature believers understand that a Christian can become successful despite failure because of God's incredible grace and forgiveness.
2) The mature believer seeks to use failures as lessons for growth and change.
3) When mature believers fail, they: acknowledge their failures, refuse to hide behind excuses, confess any sin to God that might be involved, study and learn from the failure, then put it behind them and move ahead,
4) Mature believers grow through failure. They will know and act on the truth that they are accepted by the Lord based on Grace, not performance. God still has a plan for each of our lives and He is not through with us yet.
5) Mature believers understand that there are different kinds of failure. They avoid false guilt of failure because of a wrong view of success.
QSB says that during Jeremiah's time as a prophet he saw his nation disintegrating morally from within and being destroyed militarily from without. He saw the siege and sack of Jerusalem which was about an hour's walk from the village he grew up in. Many of his people were taken captive to foreign lands. His warnings that the people should turn back to God fell on deaf ears.
Yet, intermingled with all the dark messages, there are words of hope about Judah's future redemptions. In fact, as QSB says that we should learn from Jeremiah's encouragement because those prophecies are still being fulfilled today, whenever sinful hearts are transformed by God.
Jeremiah's failures did not defeat him. His optimism came from his underlying faith which---despite his desperation---was rooted in God's unchanging character. He points out that because of God's faithfulness that every morning is a new day in which He shows His love and compassion for us.
In our lives we will not fail to fail unless we never attempt anything with an uncertain outcome. One thing is certain. God is in control and He will turn our failures into success.
Prayer: Lord lead us through the failures in our lives on to the greater things you have in store for us. Amen!