Today’s guest post comes from Kim Martinez. She gives us a biblical foundation for resurrecting failure. May the Scriptures and her insight bless you today.
There have been times in my life when I knew God wanted me to do something, but I balked because I was afraid. I don’t like to mess up, and the voices of condemnation get really loud when I fail. In times like this, it is helpful to know what God really thinks of failure (and success).
Here are a few things to consider:
1. Your idea of success probably isn’t God’s.
He told Abraham he would make him the father of a nation – but Abraham couldn’t manage to get Sarah pregnant. Sarah was pretty sure it was her fault, so she had Abraham sleep with Hagar. Ishmael was born. Sarah must have thought – Yup, I was a failure, but I figured out a solution. God said – that wasn’t success. I had a better plan, and we are still going with it.
2. Other people’s idea of success probably isn’t God’s.
Joseph had a dream. He was honored by his brothers. However, his brothers didn’t like that dream. They thought Joseph was a snot and they didn’t like him. Instead of being the honored son, Joseph found himself first in slavery, then in prison. It would have been easy to give up on a dream. There were probably times when Joseph thought the dreams he had were, well, just dreams. It would have been easy for him to see himself as a failure. But Joseph wasn’t a failure – all of his hard times were part of God’s plan to put him where he needed to be when God needed him there, and the Children of Israel were saved from starvation because of Joseph’s ‘personality failure’.
3. A real definition of success is one who leans on God.
Gideon saw himself as one of the least – as a failure – but God saw him as perfect for a job that required someone who would lean on Him. As Gideon leaned on God, the nation of Israel was freed from tyranny.
4. If you are going to live every day full on for God, you are going to make mistakes.
- Peter was brash.
- He sank while walking on the water.
- He tried to refuse to let Jesus wash his feet.
- He denied Jesus three times.
- Even after he was used mightily, Paul called him out for duplicitous behavior.
- Then, on the day of Pentecost, Peter was used magnificently to preach to the crowds, and 3,000 were saved. Jesus said of Peter “On this rock I will build my church”. Can someone who made as many mistakes as Peter be used by God? You bet!
To live a life of fervor means living your life out loud. If you are going to make a mistake, at least make it loud. When God tells us to move, the fear of failure is often overwhelming – it is at the moments we need to step out anyway.
God sees you as you are, and as you can be. He won’t be surprised if you make a mistake, but He will be delighted that you tried, and He will be ready to help you clean up the mess.
Knowing who you are, and Whose you are, gives you the power to walk when God says walk, to wait when He says wait, and to keep going when you messed up.
So what causes your fear of failure? Is it hard for you to step out when you might mess up? Did you really mess up at some point? Have you let a mess up define who you are? Let us pray with you today for a new sense of God’s purpose as you continue to live your life with faith and purpose.