Failure as everyone knows is an unlooked for and unwelcome commodity in life. It disrupts our plans, impedes our progress, upsets our feelings and is generally intrusive to our lives. As a result of failure’s glowing resume, we often do whatever we can to avoid it, and when we experience it we often try to soft-pedal its impact or even hide its presence. All in all, these descriptions of and reactions to failure are really quite unfortunate. Failure gets too bad a rap. It is judged too harshly. A few weeks ago we began a journey towards a better understanding of failure. In that journey we began to see the place that failure holds in our lives and the value that it can bring us. Let’s get back to it, for success begins when we understand our failures!
Nobody likes failure. Even when we have been told that failure is good for us, that it is a stepping stone and that you don’t learn from success nearly as much as you learn from failure, we still don’t like it! For many of us, failure can be discouraging, debilitating and even depressing. So, what do we do with this? We learn from it. We look into the lives of those whom we consider successful and study their failures and their reactions to those failures to see how we can use their experiences to help us navigate our own experiences. The Bible is full of great examples of faithful ones who had many failures, and the Bible is also full of their success stories afterwards. What are we waiting for? Let’s get started with this whole making-failure-work-for-me thing!
In our world today, success is an integral part of all that we do. We love success. It is a way to label progress, it is a reason for congratulation, and it is a vision for our future. We honor those who have it. We attribute wisdom to those who have experienced it continually. Yet, the word “success” does not appear in the New Testament, nor does any form of it. And the few times it occurs in the Old Testament, it has a different meaning than we generally understand it to have today. So, how do we understand “success” in the context of Christianity? What must we be, or do, or believe to be considered a “successful” Christian? Stay with us this morning as we look at Christianity, success and their relationship.