A Christians approach to life situations part 6
Many people struggle with this idea of being a failure. Many have their ideas of what failure is. From a worldly point of view someone might consider you a failure if you are poor or if you donít match up to worldly expectations. However, as Christians we should not be concerned at what the world considers as failure, we should be concern at what God considers as a failure. So, in this lesson I want show you the difference between perceived failure and real failure and how failure can affect our lives.
The first thing I want to point out is that it can be hard to determine if someone is a failure in Godís eyes just by watching what happens to a person and those around them. A great example of this is Job. (Tell about Jobís story and how he wasnít a failure even though he appeared to be because all that was happening to him).
Now that we have seen how hard it is to judge someone as failure in Godís eyes. Letís take a look at some other examples. Noah. Some might say that Noah was failure because he was only able to save his own family. However, thatís not true. Noah did what God asked him to do and he preached (2 Peter 2:5) to those around him, but they did not listen.
Sometimes we feel like failures ourselves when we try to teach people the Word of God and we donít see any results from it. However, we are not failures even if we never see any results from what we have done because we have done Godís bidding. We to remind ourselves of the wise words of Solomon.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
If anybody had the right
to give up and feel like a failure it was Jeremiah. He preached to the children
Jeremiah 20:9 If I say, "I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name," there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.
So donít every think you are failure just because you donít see the results of your actions. Just remember all that we are told to do is to plant the seed and water and allow God to give the increase.
Another example comes from the prodigal son. Luke 15:11-32. Those in the world and even some Christians would say that this father must have been failure in his parenting or else this son would not have left home and blew his inheritance on a life of sin. However, this is not the case. We know this parable represents a child of God who knew how much God loved him and even knew what God expected of him, but by his own free will he choose his own path and decided to go into the world and live in sin. So, you cannot call the father a failure in this story.
Yet, this exactly what a lot of Christians do when they see someone who has raised their kids up and then when they leave home they leave the church. They think that the parents must of donít something wrong after all
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
First , we need to realize that these saying the book of proverbs are true most of time, but not all of the time. Now, if you train your child about God as they are growing up and you are being a good example, then most of the time they will go on to become faithful Christians. However, sometimes you can raise a kid up right, but just like the prodigal son they can choose to turn their back on everything you trained them in. God knows we are not perfect and if you tried to raise them in the Lord you or no one else should consider you as a failure because you tried.
Even those who have raised children and they turned out to be faithful have regrets of how the did things a different times and they wish they could go back and change them. Some even wonder how their children remained faithful because they felt like a failure many times as the brought their children up. In our OT studies we have seen some prophets and kings that we very faithful and then some of their sons would end up being just the opposite. They had good example to follow, but they choose to follow after their own hearts. So, that is why we cannot beat ourselves up or consider ourselves as failures just because our children decided to choose their own path.
From a worldly point of view many would call a rich person successful. The bigger the house you have, the more cars you have, the less of a failure you are. However, if you are successfully in material things and you do not put God first in your life then God will view you as failure. You can see this in the parable about the rich farmer in,
Luke 12:16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.† 17 "And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?'† 18 "So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.† 19 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry." '† 20 "But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?'† 21 "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
A person who is not trying to live their life for God and doing his will is what a real failure is. If all you can think about is having more material possessions and how you can make more money then it you are failure and this will cost you your soul.
Matthew 16:26 "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? †
Matthew 6:19" Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;† 20 "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.† 21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Judas is great example of someone who was worldly and it cost him soul. Judas was all about the money because he was thief and was always dipping his hand into to moneybox according to John 12:6. We know that he sold out Jesus for 30 silver pieces. He felt guilty for what he did and because he knew that he was a failure his reaction was to kill himself. Some today deal with failure this way. (expound)
Letís look at few examples of how others in the Bible handled their failures.
When David saw Bathsheba bathing, his lustful heart got the best of him and brought her into his bed chamber and she became pregnant. Then tried to cover up his sin by trying to get her husband Uriah to go be with his wife so that he would think that it was his child, but we all know the story. Uriah would not go be with his wife because he wanted to continue fighting on the battlefield. So, out of desperation David made it to where Uriah would die on the battlefield, so he could take Bathsheba as his wife. This made David a failure because he tried to use a sin to cover up a sin, but this did not escape Godís eyes.
2 Samuel 12:13 So David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.† 14 "However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die."
First, David admitted that he had sinned. Second as read on you find that he fasted and mourned while his child still lived because he knew that God was mercifully and he might allow him to live. But, as soon as found out his son was dead he got up and ate and stopped mourning. This shocked his servants, but he explained to them that there was nothing more he could do now and that he would seem him on the other side of this life.
This shows us that we cannot hide our failures from God and if we do fail we need to admit to it and humble ourselves before the lord and ask Him for forgiveness.
Another great example of this comes from Saul before he became an apostle. We know how Saul persecuted the Christians and tried to destroy them, but when Jesus blinded him by His glory Saul realized that he had failed God. So, what did he do? He fasted for 3 day and nights and prayed to God and then he was baptized.
Again this shows us that when we recognize that we have failed God we need turn to him and repent and then move forward.
Sometime the failures in our life can crush us and make us not serve God as we should. So, this is why is so important that we have fellow Christians that can encourage and help us get back on the right track. We can see example of this with John Mark. When Paul and Barnabas went on their first mission John Mark with them, but for some reason he didnít finish the journey. Whatever the reason was Paul considered his action as being a failure. So when Paul wanted to start his second missionary journey Barnabas wanted to give John Mark another chance to go along with them, but Paul did not. This caused Paul and Barnabas to go their separate ways in Acts 15.
However, we find out that because of Barnabas encouragement and his willingness to help John Mark overcome his first failure, we find out that even Paul found him useful for the ministry in 2 Tim. 4:11. So, let us never forget that our brother and sister and Christ can help us to overcome our failures as well.
Another thing we need to avoid as Christians is having a fear of failure. Some Christians are so afraid of failing that wont even try do new things for the Lord. We like to make all kinds of excuses like I cant teach any one I donít know my Bible well enough or Iím not very good at inviting people to church. We need to stop making excuses and realize that all God wants us to do is try. The more we try the better we will get at it. We also need to realize that when we donít try because we are afraid of failure we are not giving God what he wants. In fact, if we become complacent and we donít try to grow then we have failed to serve as we should. A great example comes from a parable Jesus spoke in Matt. 25:14ff. Jesus tells us about a 5 talent man, 2 talent man and 1 talent man. The first two men take their talents and double them while their master was gone by the 1 talent man hide his the ground and did nothing. Now watch what happens when the master came back, which represents when Jesus will come back for the final judgment day.
Matthew 25:20 "So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.'† 21 "His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'† 22 "He also who had received two talents came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.'† 23 "His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'† 24 "Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.† 25 'And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.'† 26 "But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.† 27 'So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.† 28 'Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.† 29 'For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.† 30 'And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' †
This teaches us that if you do not try then you fail God and it can even keep you from getting into heaven. However, if you try to serve God and you continue to grow in his grace then you will not be failure in anything try even if you donít feel successful at it because you have done what God has asked you do. Everybody in this room has an ability that God has blessed them with and some have hidden abilities that have not be unlocked yet, but you will never know what are capable of doing until you try.
The last bit of advice I can give you about the failures that will happen in your life come from Paul.
Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,† 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
We need to understand that all of us are going fail God from time to time. None of us are perfect, nor will we ever be perfect and God knows this. So, when we fail, we cannot dwell upon failures or it will consume us. Instead, we need to learn from our mistakes and do our best not to repeat them and move on as Paul said, press toward the goal of heaven and if you still find yourself struggling with failure donít forget to pray to God for help. If you will apply all things I have taught you in this lesson then you should be able to effectively deal with the failures that will happen in your life.
In conclusion, I have shown you the difference between how the world views failure and how God views failure. If we are trying our best to serve God then we will never be a failure in His eyes. We learned that you cannot deem a person failure just because bad things are happening to them and you cannot deem someone as bad Christians parents just because their children have not remain faithful to the Lord. Finally, we looked at several scriptural examples that showed us how to deal with failure when it happens and how we should never allow the fear of failure to keep us from serving God.