Reading time: 2 minutes
How often do you feel discouraged by some kind of failure? If you think you’ve failed, you might say something like:
- I really messed up this time.
- There’s no hope for me now.
- I can’t believe I did that.
- I can’t be forgiven for that.
- That was my last chance.
- My best wasn’t good enough.
- God is going to send me to hell.
- I’ll never recover from this.
- There’s no use trying again.
To believe any of these statements, you must be deceived. Every one of them has something false about it.
A worldly definition of failure has four parts:
- You did something.
- You weren’t supposed to do it.
- You can’t undo it.
- You are therefore perpetually caught in shame.
In fact, what makes failure so hideous is not so much the first three, but that last one. The lingering feelings of self-condemnation and self-loathing are unbearable and there appears to be no escape from them.
Sin is probably the best definition of failure. It completely misses what God wants for your life. Without God, you are defective because of sin. But God has stripped sin of its power. So it does not have a significant lasting effect.
Let’s reconsider the definition of failure, but include God this time. A worst-case definition of failure considers it to be only a temporary set-back.
Failure implies some kind of ending. But because God is an eternal being, endings do not exist for Him. Any moment in time is not the final word on your situation.
Failure implies some kind of hopelessness. But God is an endless supply of hope. Nothing can defeat God. Nothing can defeat God’s plans. Nothing can defeat God’s people. Nothing can defeat you.
You can always learn from your experience, even if it seems like an abysmal failure. God is ready to give you another chance. You can start again in a stronger position.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.Psalm 34:4-7 NIV
So you can see that you will have trouble, but God will deliver you from the trouble. He will deliver you from evil. He will even deliver you from failure.
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.