Listen! Do not get cues from people who say you are a failure. It is a lie from the devil. Get your cues from God and the Bible. God says you are not a failure.
Over the years I have seen many instances of personal failures on the part of the believers in Christ resulting in quenching their faith life. Many people decided to leave the church and even stopped following the Lord just because of some failure that happened in their life. Individual failure has the potential to shipwreck our faith and trust in the Lord if we do not biblically understand this topic.
Wolfs in the most unexpected place
I have also noted over the years that few of the local assemblies or churches who are expected by the Lord to guard the truths of the Bible and care for the sheep in their dangerous times and needs, turned against the Lord’s sheep and acted like wolves to destroy them in their most needed times and attempt to ruin the faith life. Knowing or unknowingly it happens in some circles. God is the right judge in all these matters. Such people will have to give account for their attitudes and actions in this matter.
Bible says John 10:12-13, “The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.” Instead of protecting the sheep, the hired ones who do not care about the sheep do not even mind joining the wolf and attacking the innocent sheep. Such ungodly pharisaic leaders of the church are a disgrace to the Church the Lord established. They are there just for the fame and front seats. They do not even care about the wellbeing or protection of the sheep. I also admit very humbly that there are genuine spiritual leaders who exemplify the character of the Lord Jesus. May God bless and use them. Praise God for them.
Personal failure has the potential to shipwreck our faith.
However, this is not my point in this insight. My insight is that personal failure (self-caused or other caused) has the potential to ruin one’s faith life. The leaders of the church should know this truth and change their mindset as God gives them more time. Do you know that personal failure can cause people to walk away from God? They never thought something embarrassing like this would happen, but it did happen. Now the so-called shepherds (not real shepherds) are too quick in judging and condemning and the sheep run away. It can drive you away from the church and even from God. Your conscience says you did that or this and you end up convincing yourself that you are wrong and you can not do that or this. Your future spiritual future is gone let alone the ministry God called you to. Let me tell you this- such voices are lies, and it does not have anything to do with the truths shown in the Bible.
You are not a failure. It is only the lie of the devil and his agents. Can I convince from the Bible, the Word of God?
Beloved, I am going to convince you from the pages of the Bible why such a notion is a lie and far from the truth. The truth is this – many heroes of faith recovered from their failures and shined like stars again during their lifetime and even through history. You see we all fail one way or another. Is there anybody out there who can claim that they never failed God, failed others, or failed themselves? Sometimes, other people cause us to fail. It is part and parcel of living in a fallen world. I do not think there is one person on this earth who ever lived, who did not experience the pain of failure. However, the truth is that failure when it happens can ruin our life or build up our life. It all depends on how we are going to respond to our failures. Bible gives many examples of the failures of faith warriors so that we can learn from them. Some were handled in the right way, and some were handled in the wrong direction.[bctt tweet=”Listen! You are not a failure. ” username=”sam2017insights”]
Abraham- the father of faith
Abraham, the father of faith, failed in his faith life on many occasions. The severe failure in his life was the occasion when he decided to have a son from Haggar. He thought God need help in fulfilling the promise of a Son. He walked out of the plan and will of God. The consequences were heartbreaking for him and others. This action resulted in family rivalries which even continued to current days. The offspring born through Ishmael is the Arab people while the progeny of Isaac is Jewish people. Drastic consequences of rivalry and enmity are in existence even today right in front of our eyes. The Jewish/Arabic issue is the number one international political issue even today. However, Abraham recovered from his failure didn’t he? He trusted and leaned on God, and God blessed him again. God fulfilled all the promises He made to Abraham. Abraham became a great blessing, and his offspring became great, his name is one of the great names in history. He continued in faith and did not quit trusting in the Lord. In short, He did not run away from God. He remained in his faith though he failed in a big way. Today we look back and honor him as our father in faith and we don’t remember his failure, but we do remember his victorious faith.
What was the secret of his success? He did not quit and ran away from God. He continued his faith life with God. He proved himself to be a great hero in faith by even willing to offer his promised son Isaac as a burnt offering to God according to God’s command. Of course, God intervened and spared the son of His covenant by offering a substitute in Isaac’s place – a ram caught in a thicket. His continued trust and faith in God made him a great man of history.
Moses- the greatest leader and the lawgiver of Israel
Another major star of the old testament is the great leader Moses. Moses knew even from an early age that God had called him with a specific purpose and plan. So he left the palace of the Pharoah and the privilege to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He left Egypt and the palace not fearing the king’s anger. However, in his rush to take things into his own hands, he ended up killing an Egyptian to save an Israelite. He became a murderer. He committed a big crime in Egypt and fearing being caught by the authorities he fled away and lived a hidden life for about 40 years. He was afraid due to his failure. He went and hid from law and justice. However, after 40 years he came out of the bushes and hiding places and emerged as the great leader of the nation Israel. He brought the children of Israel out from their slavery in Egypt and led a massive number of more than six hundred thousand men (not including women and children) to the promised land, the land of Israel. The God who had an eternal plan in his life fulfilled His plan by calling and restoring him again at the place of an unusual site, where flames of the fire were within a bush but not burned up the bushes. He stepped in back in faith by leaning on the Lord because he decided not to allow failure to crush him. Although he ran away due to his failure and the resultant fear, he did not allow his failure to change God’s plan for his life. What is the lesson here? Our God is big enough to keep His calling and gifts in tack, safe and secure despite our failures. Bible says in Romans 11:29, “God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.”
How about Jacob? Oh, poor Jacob-He was convinced he failed God when he deceived his brother Esau and got the firstborn status of the family. The fact of the matter even earlier, at the time of the birth, his mother Rebecca had twins in her womb and the Lord said to her, the two nations are in your belly, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.” (Genesis 25:23). He and his mother together invented a shortcut and quick scheme, and they dramatically tricked Isaac his father to obtain the birthright of Esau. You can read about this incident in Genesis. Jacob fled from his father’s house after this incident in fear of Esau. For more than 14 years he stayed in Padanaram. Then Jacob decided to come back to his father’s house. He returned with more wealth, vigor, and strength. He even wrestled with God and said ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ God changed his name from Jacob to Israel, and he testified that he saw God face to face, and yet his life was spared. He called that place where he wrestled with God ‘Peniel’.
Jacob who became Israel – the one whose name carries the name of the nation
Jacob did not allow his failure to impact God’s calling and destiny for his life negatively. He did not quit but came back to the promised land, to his father’s house, and moved into the history books of the Bible. God blessed him and gave him twelve children, and they are the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel. The nation Israel is known by his God-given name – Israel. Today we remember Jacob as one of the three patriarchs of faith along with Abraham and Isaac.
Are you listening? Your failure in life is not going to be your tombstone. It is not going to be your graveyard either. Your failure becomes your tombstone and cemetery only if you quit. You should not stop and leave the Lord. The enemy says you are a failure. He would accuse you and say you can not do any ministry anymore. Remember what you hear is a lie of the devil to stop God’s work in your life. If people around you, whatever pious they may look like, if they say or act like you are a failure, they are also echoing the lie of the devil. They are just the devil’s agents. I am sorry I have to say this truth because I know for sure how damaging those people’s attitudes are. I was there and experienced it. The fact is – Beloved, God has not finished with you yet, and you should not quit either.
David- the greatest king of Israel
Now comes the man after God’s own heart- King David-the sweet psalmist of Israel. The one who spent the lonely nights out there in the wilderness with his sheep. In those times his only companion and soul friend was the Lord God in heaven. He said at his young age, “the Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. The Lord makes me lied down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” (Psalm 23). On a starry night out in the wilderness, after his sheep slept, he uses to talk to the Lord in heaven, and on one occasion he said, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. (Psalms 19). Young David and the God in heaven together killed the giant Philistines when all of Israel including King Saul was hiding in fear from him. A simple shepherd boy but God made him the king of Israel.
Oh, but one evening his lust aroused in him. He called Bersheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, to his palace bed and lay down with her. He became pregnant. To cover up all, this charm, sweet musician and godly, strong king of Israel murdered the innocent Uriah, Beersheba’s husband. What sad events! He tried his best to hide the matter for about three years. Finally, the prophet Nathan came to Him and rebuked David and said, “you are that man! The LORD, the God of Israel says.” That broke the heart David. Immediately he confessed, “I have sinned against the LORD,” day and night he pleaded with God for mercy and forgiveness. Oh, his heartfelt cry over this sin is in Psalm 51. “Have mercy on me, O God.. according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Do not cast me from your presence. Restore to me the joy of your salvation. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God. Oh God, my sacrifice is my broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart, God, you will not despise. Didn’t it show a heartfelt confession from the depth of his inner soul? It is the picture of repentance and faith. God restored him. He again became the greatest king of the nation Israel and nation Israel became the greatest nation in the world under him.
You see, David did not allow his failure to affect his God-given gifts and destiny negatively. He admitted his sins to the Lord. He acknowledged he sinned against the Lord by his actions. He sought the face of the Lord for mercy and forgiveness. In short, he did not quit, and his failure became a stepping stone for him to advance in God’s kingdom.
None of us remember David as a man of failure, do we? However, we remember him as a man after God’s own heart. We recognize the fact that the Son of God, Jesus Christ was born in his genealogy and we enjoy his writings, the book of Psalms every day, especially in times of our troubles and sorrows. All because he did not allow his failure to stop him from God’s plans and purposes. He continued trusting the Lord and used his failures as stepping stones.
The Lord upholds the Godly
The names mentioned above, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and David are a few of the faith warriors and star leaders of the Old Testament Scripture. The New Testament also gives examples of star leaders who failed tragically but recovered because they did not allow their failure to determine their God-appointed eternal plan and destiny. It is also true to say God did not let them fail. Bible says in Proverbs 24:16-18, “For a righteous man may fall seven times, And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity.” There is a difference between the fall of godly and wicked. A Godly man, a righteous man, fay fall many times but rise again. However, the wicked man, the evil man, fall and he would not rise again. Psalms 37:24 says, “Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.” This is talking about a Godly man. Though he falls means chances are there that he would fall, but shall not be utterly cast down. Why? For the Lord upholds him with His hand. What comforting and encouraging words. God is faithful and sticks closer than a brother when people prove unfaithful toward you, accuse and blame you for your failures. He is the good friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24.
New Testament Stars.
Peter- the one who opened the church doors for the first time on this earth
We can prove the above fact in Peter’s life. The night before the crucifixion of Jesus, he said to the disciples what is going to happen later that night. He said, “All of you will be ashamed of Me and leave Me tonight. For it is written, ‘I will kill the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be spread everywhere. After I am raised from the dead, I will go before you to the country of Galilee.” When Peter heard this, he said to Jesus ‘not me Lord’. He said, “Even if all men give up and turn away because of You, I will never.” In fact, he was claiming he is the bulletproof man in his commitment to Jesus. Even if all may fail him, Peter, Me will never fail you, Lord. Jesus answered and said, “For sure, I tell you, before a rooster crows this night, you will say three times you do not know Me.” Peter replied, “ Even if I have to die with You, I will never say I do not know You.” And all the followers said the same thing.” He said again, not me Lord; I will even die with you. I will never say I do not know you. It appears Peter was a little bit overconfident in his ability to stand with the Lord even in the most crucible time. The same chapter verses 69-75 say He denied Jesus three times exactly like Jesus predicted and on the third time, the Bible says, “he (Peter) began to say bad words and swear. He said, “I do not know the Man!” At once a rooster crowed. Luke 22:61 reports, exactly that time Jesus turned around and looked straight at Peter. What a meaningful look! It broke the heart of Peter. Bible says in verse 75 “Peter remembered the words Jesus had said to him, “Before a rooster crows, you will say three times you do not know Me.” Peter went outside and cried with loud cries.”
This was the profound valley failure. An eclipse failure time in Peter’s life. How can he face Jesus again? He denied his loving master three times. Not only he denied, but he did also swear and began to say bad words. Apparently, Jesus heard all those and Jesus looked at him. Also, Peter looked at Jesus at the same time. Oh, what a moment! Any rescue possible for that moment of failure? He genuinely repented for sure because he went outside and cried with loud cries. However, Peter could not face Jesus again. For a period, even after the resurrection of Christ, Peter ran away and hid from Jesus. He decided to go back to his old fishing lifestyle and tried to forget all that happened during the last three years with Christ. He called other disciples also to join him in going back to the old trade of catching fish. All hope and expectation were faded away from Peter’s mind. His failure was so, and that negatively impacted his faith in the Lord Jesus.
You see, this is what failure can do to you and me. On top of that, there are some whitewashed so-called “Christians” (not real Christians, but just outward believers) also there to make a profit out of your failures. I am telling you dear one, do not even worry or care about them. You look to the Lord. He will never leave you nor forsake you in your failures and troubles. Jesus pursued Peter after His resurrection. Jesus wanted to talk to him, but Peter was not ready. At last, one morning on that old Galilean seashore where Jesus called him first to follow Him, right there Jesus cooked breakfast for him and reinstated him after asking three times “do you love me Peter” All those three times Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” The Lord Himself was reinstating Peter to his original calling in those moments. What a marvelous incident! Can Peter forget that occasion ever in his life? Later, Peter, the man of Jesus, opened the doors of the newly formed church on the day of Pentecost with his bold, powerful and Spirit-filled preaching and three thousand people believed in the Lord and got baptized.
What else you need as a proof that the loving Lord will never leave you nor forsake you in your personal failures? Do not look for approval from people or such people called Pharisaical believers/Christians. This kind of people was there in Jesus times in the first century, and they are present even today in specific Christian groups. Do not believe the voice coming from inside you saying you are a failure nor from other people saying that you are a failure and you cannot recover from your failure. God in heaven values you so much that He called you with an eternal plan and purpose. You must continue in your faith no matter what happened in your life until the end. God has not finished with you yet.
Paul – the superstar of the New Testament
I need to write about the star hero of the New Testament. Saul became Paul. He was a murderer who forced Christians to renounce their faith and blaspheme the Lord Jesus Christ. He was a murderer who killed many believers in Christ. He arrested men and women who were following the Lord Jesus, pushed them to blaspheme Jesus if they want to live on this earth. (Acts 26). He says he was a persecutor, violent aggressor, and the worst of all sinners. Jesus touched the young man called Saul and turned him to Paul, the apostle, and minister of Jesus Christ.
Later he said in Philippians 3 about his credentials, “I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9 and become one with him.” He then said he became righteous through believing and placing his faith in Christ because God has only one way to make us right with Him and that is the way of faith in Christ, His Son who died for our sins. He said he wants to know Jesus Christ and experience God’s mighty power that raised Jesus from the dead. He said he wants to suffer with him. He wants to share in the death of Christ. This is the only goal now he had in life. He poured out the rest of his life for the preaching and teaching the Gospel (the good news) of Christ around the world and established churches throughout the middle east areas.
I want to bring one sentence he said in Philippians 3:13-14, “but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Paul let me ask you this- how can you forget your past being an old criminal, murderer, persecutor, one who forced believers to blaspheme Christ and a violent aggressor? He would answer like this. I believe in the power of the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I experience it. When he went to that cross and there on the cross hanging down on crucified on the nails on his hands and feet, the blood dropped down was the divine and innocent bloodshed for me. The blood of Christ is so powerful to wash away all of my past sins. I am thoroughly and wholly washed clean by the blood of the Son of God who loved me and died in my place and paid for my sins. Now I can boldly say I can forget my past and move forward to what lies ahead because of the lamb of God, Jesus Christ, and his shed blood.
Beloved, Christ is the answer to all our failures. His blood is the most potent and wonderworking detergent that wipe away all your sins of the past, present, and future. When you come to Christ and accept Him as our savior and Lord, you become a new creation ready to be used by the almighty God. I beg you on behalf of God, to know this truth -you are not a failure. All people fail. Bible says all are sinners. There is not even one person ever lived on this earth, except the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who escapes from the verdict of the Bible. All sinned. All failed God in one way or another. If someone says he is perfect and never failed and acts as a superior faith man or woman, that is just a lie and no truth. (1 John 1:10). Your failure is not your tombstone. Let that be your stepping stone for God’s kingdom. Remember Abraham, Jacob, David, Peter, and Paul- all testify this truth.
First thing first. Call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and seek His forgiveness and continue walking in faith. When you ask Jesus for forgiveness, he removes that sin from your life and restores the fellowship with the holy God by the power of the shed blood of Christ.
Prayer time: Father in heaven, thank you for talking to me today through your Word. I know you love me and want to turn my past failures to grow and mature in your eternal plans and purposes in my life. Lord, help me to love the people whose words and actions communicate that I am a failure. I leave them and their attitudes into your hand. As I forward, Lord, give me strength and wisdom inside me to fulfill your plans in my life. May I continually look to you and your guidance? Expand the doors of my opportunities to serve you in this world until the last breath of my life. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.”