Failures – Hurdles or Stepping Stones?

The Olympic Champions do not achieve their goal always at their first attempt. Thomas Edison’s teacher said that he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.” As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb.”

1. Failure in Exams: Most of us experience failure for the first time only in the context of our school exams. Immediately most of them go depressed. Failure in examinations has led 2403 people to commit suicide in 2014. In the Big Picture of our lives, this failure is not a big issue. We have to ask God to give us His Wisdom – James 1:5.
The next step is to chart out a workable study plan and follow it scrupulously. “God helps those who help themselves” !
Attitude matters !

2. Love Failure: Many young people face “Love Failure”. Movies, media, modern gadgets are the tempters for the immature youth to get into love relationships. But most of these end up in separation after campus life term gets over leaving a big scar in the heart. 4168 people have committed suicide in 2014 due to love affairs. Attraction between the opposite genders is a natural action. But that infatuation needs to be controlled till one finds one’s God-given partner and gets united in marriage. A student has to concentrate on his/her studies and nothing else. except asking God to bring the right person of His choice in His time.
It is the challenge of his love by his partners that destroyed Samson – .
“You hate me! You don’t really love me.”Jud. 14:16
“How can you say, ‘I love you,’  – Jud. 16:15
Alertness is needed to avoid unwanted affairs!

3. Failure in Family Life: Unrealistic expectations can lead to a failure on the family front. Matters like rearing the children, taking care of the aged parents, managing the finances within the income limit and the like are to be discussed and sorted out. One cannot have these as pre-conditions before marriage. In that case where is “God’s Will”? ‘Don’t count the chickens before they are hatched’, goes an old adage. The beauty and success of a marriage are found in talking with the spouse on important issues and arriving at solutions. Absence of such solutions took spouses to extreme cases like divorce. “I hate divorce,” says the Lord, Malachi 2:16. According to statistics 28,602 people in 2014 ended their lives due to family problems. Accepting one another as Christ received us is the bottom-line solving family problems. We have to surrender our ego to God, dare to apologize to our spouse and be willing to go the extra mile to safeguard the relationship.
The family that Prays together Stays together.
“If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?” – 1 Tim. 3:5

4. Moral Failure: One man, one wife is the biblical dictum. We live in a society where men and women work together. Healthy distance must be maintained in relationships between men and women at the work place. If no caution is observed, ordinary friendship becomes an intimate one This applies to both man and women. Man and Woman are like cotton and fire. Even in the religious context is not exempted from this.
Moral failure is not the end of life. Jesus restored people who were living in sin – John 4:17,18; Luke 7:37-39, 47,48; 15:1,2,20; John 8:11. A real repentance from the past life is needed for change. After confessing our sins and being assured of the forgiveness of the Lord, we have to set right our lives in the right track by the grace of God – Pro. 28:13. Otherwise we will face a worse situation – Mat. 12:43-45. We need to fill our mind with the Word of God for a new life – Ps. 119:9,11. “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

5. Failure in Vocation: Right choice should be made in choosing our vocation. Job satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment in our vocation are the signs of right choice. If not ,we have to take a bold decision to change jobs. The decision has to be taken in consultation with our spouse and children. The society and friends may not appreciate. But we have to be clear about our convictions. A high salaried friend of mine realized that he was not able to give quality time to his family. He took the bold decision, of changing his job and now gives time for family and for ministry. Are we willing to take the risk and save our family? At the same time one must exercise caution here. It doesn’t mean that we have to change our vocation when a promotion is denied, an increment is postponed or one is served with a transfer order. Joseph was doing his work as a slave, house keeper, in charge of prisoners without any murmur or compliant. God made Joseph the ruler of the nation.Gen. 39:2-5, 21-23; Ps. 105:17-22. Accept the sovereign hand of God in all situations and you will get over the feelings of failure.
Achieving our goals depend on avoiding the distractions!
“Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank”. Prov. 22:29

6. Failure in Personal Spiritual life: No Christian can claim that he will never backslide from faith. A musician told once, “If I don’t have my practice one day, in the next performance I can note the mistakes I make. If I don’t practice for 2 days, my fellow musicians can notice my mistakes. If I don’t practice for 3 days, my audience can note the mistakes I make”. Similarly if we neglect our personal relationship with God, it will show up in all our activities. If one feels the prayer a waste of time and Bible is an ordinary book, can’t hear God speaking anymore.

The basic things needed for spiritual growth are:
G – Go to God in Prayer – Mark 1:35
R–Read God’s Word – Ezra 7:10; 2 Tim. 2:15
O – Obey in Fellowship – Heb. 10:25 W – Witness for God’s love
– Rom. 1:8
“For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel” Ezra 7:10.

7. Failure in Ministry: God’s Great Commission is always ringing at the back of your mind of every child of God. At the beginning one is enthusiastically do a lot for His cause, investing time, resources, & expertise. As time goes by perhaps due to other commitments and pressures, focus from the ministry has shifted. This shift may have either stopped from involving or diminished the effect of involvement.
No more you are able to enjoy the time with God and the ministry.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Gal. 1:10

May be you need a break to set right your priorities. Elijah needed it and God gave him good food and sleep – 1 Kings 19:5-8. Take a break; spend time with God and His Word. Take the counsel of some senior friend. God will refresh you for your future ministry. Our God always gives us a second chance. Let us submit ourselves in His hands so that He can shape us even through our failures.
“But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.”Jer. 18:4

P. Jebaraj
UESI Field Partner,

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