Failure and Success

I don’t always share what I think of the sermons that our Pastor preaches, not because I don’t like them or agree with them, but often I get distracted and forget – something I’m pretty good at.  However, tonight I wanted to share what we learned, so I made it a point to remember to do so.

Tonight’s message was about failure and success.  Pastor said that Failure is always right next to Success.  Every single person has the potential to fail or to succeed – and every person does both at some point or other.  I am going to share the points of tonight’s message because our Pastor hit the nail right on the head.  This  message really spoke to me because I have spent the vast majority of my life believing that I am a failure.

Now – just to be perfectly clear – the points are NOT mine – they were given by Pastor Ken Whitten.  I will add my own “commentary” afterward – but the points were from his message.   So – just to be clear anything in quotes is directly from Pastor Ken Whitten – I can’t take credit for any of it. 🙂  However, everything else – that’s my thoughts on what he spoke about tonight.

Point #1:

“There is a strategy behind failure.”

The fact is – that Satan works toward our failure.  When Christians fail that means that Satan has won a battle – not THE battle, but a battle none-the-less.  So, in order to try to win the battle, Satan chooses key times in which to attack us – and never forget “Satan fights dirty.”

Satan attacks:

A. “During times of pressure” – When we are feeling stressed or discouraged, Satan chooses those times to attack.  He doesn’t attack when we are strong – he waits until we are weak and worn down.  That’s why it’s so easy to fall prey to him sometimes.  We get so focused on our stress and discouragement – the distractions of work, family, etc – that we lose sight of our faith and we “fail.”  Satan is such a deceiver too.  That pressure we are feeling may be a result of a failure – and Satan will take those opportunities to hit us when we are down – and he will keep reminding us of our failures – if we let him and don’t arm ourselves with God’s Word to be able to combat his attacks.

B. “During times of pride.” – When we let pride take over, we think we have it made.  We all have weak points and strong points.  Pastor Ken pointed out that often we will protect our weak points, but we don’t protect our strong points quite so much.  That means they are left vulnerable.  We get so focused on protecting ourselves where we are weak that we forget to protect our strong points too.  We let pride get in the way and tell ourselves – ‘oh I won’t mess up there’ – and then what happens?  We fall – we fail – we leave ourselves vulnerable to attack.  We need to be sure to protect both our strong and our weak points.  We need to keep fortifying both and focusing on keeping those walls high and strong against Satan’s attacks.

C. “During times of potential/promise.” – Often this is the time when we least expect to have Satan attack.  After all – we are doing all the right things.  We have done well to this point, and we are ready to move on to bigger and better.  And that’s when it happens – Satan swoops in and does one of two things. 1) He puts prideful thoughts into our heads that make us feel like we’ve got it made or 2) He puts doubts in our minds, and reminds us of all the others times when we’ve failed.  Either way, we need to be on our guard at these times.

Point #2:

“There is tragedy because of failure.”

See, as Pastor Ken spoke about tonight, Satan asks for permission to “sift” or “test” us.  And God allows him to do so.  He gives permission for Satan to test us.  During those times of testing we have an opportunity to succeed or fail – each one of us.  However, when we fail, there is tragedy involved because of we are one or all of the following:

A. “Boastful” – Some of the biggest failures have happened because someone got boastful and believed that they were “set.”  We all have things that we think we would never do or that we are best at.  The truth is, until we are in a situation, we don’t know what we are going to do.  Pastor Ken used an illustration in tonight’s message that hit home.  He said “I’ve never stolen a million dollars.  But then again, I’ve never been in a position to.”  He reminded us that until we are put into a situation, we never truly know what we will do.  What seems to black and white now, may not seem so later.

B. “Neglectful” – When we neglect spending time in God’s word, we set ourselves up to fail.  We aren’t armed for “battle.”  We aren’t ready to stand against Satan.  This doesn’t just apply to our spiritual life either.  When we are neglectful of things in our personal life or work life, we also set ourselves up to fail.  We need to be careful that we are not neglecting necessary activities and tasks, so we can be ready to succeed.

C. “Fearful” – Often we do not do what we know to be right because we are afraid.  There are all kinds of things we can be afraid of – failure, ridicule, gossip, etc.  We need to remember that ‘God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.’ (2 Timothy 1:7 NASB)  God gave us everything we need to succeed when He sent His Son to die for our sins.  And best of all – it’s FREE.  We don’t have to do anything to deserve it – the truth is – there is nothing we CAN do to deserve it.  Yet He gave it to us none-the-less.  We have nothing to fear if we are in Christ – because through and with Him, we can do anything.

Point #3:

“There is victory beyond failure.”

The truth is, each and every one of us will fail at some point.  But we have a choice when that happens.  We can let it rule us, or we can learn from it.  There are three reasons that we can have victory beyond our failure.

A. “Conviction” – When we fail, God can work through that failure to help us be convicted about the wrong things we have been doing.  That conviction can lead to change.  But we have to be willing to do what is necessary to change – we have to trust God to be able to help us.

B. “Compassion” – Christ feels compassion for us when we fail.  Pastor Ken used Peter as an example in his message.  When Peter denied knowing Jesus three times, Christ looked at him after his third denial with a look of compassion.  If Christ can feel compassion for a man who denied Him three times, then how can there be anything we can do that would keep Him from feeling that same compassion for us?  That compassion for us can provide us with the strength and courage to move forward and learn from our failures, but only if we let it.

C. “Contrition” – The conviction of our failures and the compassion of Jesus because of our failures can lead us to be contrite – sorry – for the failures we have committed.  When we become contrite, we give ourselves the chance to grow and change.  We can admit our failures, and that allows us to move on and to grow.

So – you may be feeling like a failure right now – you might feel that you have nothing to offer.  But God doesn’t agree.  He sees something valuable in you, something of worth, and it doesn’t matter how many times you have failed, He can still work in and through you.  He can use you to do great things – but only if you let Him.

I leave you with this one last thought that Pastor Ken said in his message tonight – “You are one step away from success or failure depending on what you do with the Lord Jesus.”

What will you do?



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