– Erwin Lutzer
What are 3 ways that we learn from our miserable failures to see success from a biblical standpoint?
Failures are Great Teachers
I have learned more from my mistakes than I ever did during the times when things went well. I tend to remember my great failures more than my successes but when I do fail, not if I fail, but when I fail, I can see what God says in His Word and look to Him for shifting from failure to success. Peter, after boasting that he would never deny Jesus Christ, did so 3 times but after he was restored he became the same man who preached a powerful sermon on the Day of Pentecost and three thousand souls were added to the church on that same day(Acts 2:14-41)! No wonder Peter wrote “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Pet 5:6).
Failures Point us to God
One thing about failure is that it makes us, or at least it should make us, seek out God because He holds the solution to our failure and God loves to take disaster to make Him our Master. Failure is never final…it is a connecting point to the solution and that is always going to be found in God. If we are broken and humbled before God, God says “Good, now you can hear what I want to teach you.” The greatest times of failure ironically come after times of great success. Shortly after Samson struck down one thousand Philistines with a simple jawbone (Judges 15:15) he succumbed to a prostitute name Delilah and died a short time later (Judges 16) so just as success can sometimes set us up for failure, failure can also set us up for success if we are setting ourselves our knees!
Our Failures Show God’s Strength
During the time of the Judges, Israel had failed miserably and their enemies had been taking advantage of them but God was about to show Himself Mighty using an infinitely small number of Israelites. They had been planting harvests that others had reaped and they were frequently in hiding and if you remember the story of Gideon, he was the least of all in his tribe, which was the least of all the tribes in all Israel. You might say that he was the runt of the litter. God asked Gideon to gather an army together but later to dwindle his army down to 300 to take on thousands of the Midianites and the Amalekites who “lay along the valley like locusts in abundance, and their camels were without number, as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance” (Judges 7:12) but “the Lord set every man’s sword against his comrade and against all the army” (Judges 7:22).
It is true that those who are the first to see God’s formula for success are usually the ones who have failed the most miserably. That’s how much success can come out of much failure and as I said before, failure is not final…it can be a launching point for success if done in the way that God prescribes. That way God always receives the glory and that’s as it should be.