Unmet expectations. Unfulfilled goals. 2 points short. Mistakes. Sin. Frustrations.
Failed exams. Ministry isn’t growing. Business is failing. Fired. Divorce. Can’t provide for family.
We’ve all been there…all experienced discouragement and disappointments. But when it seems like they keep coming with no end in sight, it wears down our confidence and makes us feel that’s just the way things are. It’s my destiny. I’m…a failure. Then the voices come, whether from people, the enemy trying to wear us out, or our own self-condemning thoughts.
“You’ll never measure up.”
“You’ll never amount to anything.”
“You’re no good.”
“You’ll never make up for your past.”
Think on this:
- It goes without saying, without Christ, we are failures. “For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23). “”No one is good — not even one…all have gone wrong” (Romans 3:10-11). Without Him, we have no future, we are mess-ups, there’s nothing good in us; only He can give us a new future, erasing our past.
- We feel like failures compared to perfection. The Greek word for perfect in Paul’s letters is telios which carries the more common meanings we’re familiar with: holy, blameless, and unblemished. That describes the perfection of God which we’ll never attain on this side. There is another definition that refers to us: finished, complete, fully grown, mature, whole. Again, we see the lifelong process that the Holy Spirit desires to work out in us. But as we embrace Christ lordship, submitting to His ways, then we will have a new definition of success; I call it obedience.
Paul struggled with failure also. Think about it: “rejected” by the Apostles, rift with Barnabas and Mark, riots, stoning, whippings, arrests, being bitten by a snake, shipwrecked, and spent his most fruitful years in a Roman jail cell. “I don’t mean… that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be” (Phil. 3:12).
He understood: we are all Works in Progress. Salvation isn’t the finish line, it’s the beginning of an intense journey that requires patience, perseverance, and enduring love. None of us are perfect. We’re all in a process of growth and maturity with God’s Help. Many may try, but Church is not a place for facades and masks. We don’t have it all together, don’t know it all, and are ALL still desperately in need of Christ.
There’s great news for failures:
- God’s got our back. “There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears” (Philippians 1:6).
- We don’t have to stay that way. “Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone…” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
- We’re in good company. “We have around us many people whose lives tell us what faith means” (Hebrews 12:1).
Adam and Eve unleashed sin despite living in Paradise.
Noah…God knows what happened there.
Sarai laughed at God, then took matters into her own hands.
Jacob lied and deceived his own family.
Moses never saw the Promised Land.
Aaron caved and built an idol.
Jephthah, because of a rash decision, had to sacrifice his daughter.
Samson was a selfish, vengeful lust bucket who disqualified himself prematurely.
Saul disobeyed God’s commands.
David adultery and murder.
Solomon disobeyed God and turned to lost and greed.
Most of the kings of Judah and Israel were wicked and corrupt.
Peter fell in the water, said a lot of stupid things, and denied Christ…three times.
John and James were prideful.
Judas was a thief and Christ’s betrayer.
Paul killed a whole bunch of Christians.
Then add close to 2,000 years of Church history.
The Bible is a book about failures and their foolish decisions…and how GOD rescued them. Let’s give ourselves a break and let Him worry about being perfect.