Don’t Be Afraid Of Failure!
Last week we talked about getting out of the “blame game.” Many people are afraid of the high standard that Jesus set for us to walk in God’s power, which is “those who believe in me will do the same works, and greater works will they do.” We saw that it’s not the high standard itself that makes us feel condemned and “not good enough,” but it’s a perspective of trying to measure up instead of resting in Christ. We can take responsibility for believing and ministering to others without playing the “blame game.”
This brings up another issue. If we are still living from the “blame game” perspective, we are too often afraid to admit failure or a need to grow in faith. Jesus told his disciples, who had already healed many sick, that they were unable to set a little boy free from epileptic seizures because of their unbelief. Then Jesus healed the boy.
We could make up all kinds of unbiblical reasons why we think someone “didn’t get healed.” Many have. We could blame it on the unbelief or sin of the person we ministered to. We could doubt the revelation of God through Christ, saying “maybe it just wasn’t God’s will.” We could make up phrases like “God gave her the ultimate healing in heaven.”
Or we could admit that if Jesus had touched them, they would have been healed. And we, as members of the body of Christ, failed to do what Jesus would have done.
Admitting failure is far too painful if we are still playing the “blame game.” But failure is not bad. Someone who has never failed has never stepped out in faith and tried anything! Most people who are wildly successful in some area have failed many times. If you are afraid of failure, I’d like to share a fresh perspective on it.
Why Do We See Death As A Failure?
Recently, someone asked “Why do we see death as a failure? Haven’t they received the ultimate healing in heaven?”
I’ve heard that kind of reasoning several times after a Christian brother or sister received prayer yet died an untimely death. There’s some truth to it. Yes, Jesus has conquered death and to be absent from the body is present with the Lord.
But when Jesus said “heal the sick,” was he talking about laying hands on people so they could die and “receive the ultimate healing” with the Lord in heaven? I don’t think so! How many people did Jesus “heal” that way? He healed all who touched him. When scripture says that, do you really think it means “some came to Jesus and after they touched him they died and received the ultimate healing in heaven?”
Was it what James meant when he wrote “The prayer of faith will save the sick and the Lord will raise him up.” Unless giving the “ultimate healing in heaven“ was part of how Jesus healed the sick, the untimely death of someone we minister to is a failure to do what Jesus did. And if we claim these promises and then say “God answered by giving the ultimate healing in heaven,” it makes us a laughingstock to unbelievers.
Why would we rather let go of the revelation of God’s will and nature that we’ve been given in Christ, than admit failure? Why are we so afraid of failure?
When I was about 17 years old, someone gave me a prophetic word that really encouraged me. This person said “I see you as a muscleman. God is helping you build muscles of faith and making you strong so that you will lift heavy burdens off of people’s backs.” A few years later, I began to see that word fulfilled.
I recently read the book Do What Jesus Did by Robby Dawkins. His writing reminded me of that prophetic word. Robby talked about how bodybuilders “push ’till failure.” Pushing ’till failure is how they get stronger. It’s how they build muscle. Robby talks about taking the same attitude in power evangelism and exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Failure isn’t bad!
I remember when I was seeing people healed but I wanted to get words of knowledge. I stepped out many times and got embarrassed when I missed it. But my desire to see God touch people was greater than my fear of embarrassment. One night I was in McDonald’s and had the thought that the left ear was hurting of a certain girl working in the back. I really thought it was just me, but in case it wasn’t, I asked the girl at the cashier to call the girl in the back, and I asked about her ear. She said “How did you know that!”And God healed her ear!
All of the successes have made all the failures worthwhile! And if you stepped out in love, you may have failed with giving an accurate the word of knowledge, but your failure was a success! Why? Because stepping out in faith pleases God. Saying “Yes” towhat God tells you to do, even when you feel like you can’t, pleases God. Stepping out to share God’s love with people is a success!
Faith Pleases God!
Peter was the only one who failed walking on water, but he was the only one who did walk on water. I’d rather fail many times more than most people have, but also see more miracles than most people could even imagine, than to live a life devoid of faith and risk.
When we understand this, then failure to do what Jesus did is no longer about feeling like we didn’t “measure up.” Rather, we feel the Heavenly Father’s pleasure that we are taking Him at his word and stepping out as representatives of Jesus! We must start with the position of being already highly favored, accepted in Christ!
Really, scripture says to “strive to excel” in spiritual gifts. How are we going to do that without ever missing it? If your “Christianity” doesn’t constantly challenge you to gobeyond what is humanly possible and live in God’s ability, its message has been compromised. If our view of life in Christ looks even slightly doable according to human ability, out gospel has been compromised.
Paul said “It’s no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” He said to “Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might.” He talked about being strengthened in our innermost being through faith in Christ. If fear of failure moves you, you won’t do anything. Rather, keep “pushing ’till failure” and become strong in the Lord. You will develop a greater and greater confidence in His power working in you.
Being unwilling to admit failure is like imagining that we have are already as “strong in the Lord” as possible and don’t have any room to grow stronger by being strengthened in our innermost being by the Holy Spirit.
The people who fail when getting a dying child healed, yet don’t change their perspective of God, are often the ones to see the next child healed. They say “We failed on that one, but not next time!”
I’ve heard so many stories like this of failures followed by victory. Dan Mohler ministered toa little child with terminal cancer. He lived longer than expected, but eventually died. He refused to compromise his view of God. The next time a child with the same kind of cancer, which the doctors called terminal, was miraculously healed.
Kevin Peterson lost his son to brain cancer. Instead of adapting powerless theology, he got a greater revelation of God. Eventually, he got to pray over the phone for a dying child with a brain tumor. She had already lost the ability to speak. And a few months later he heard she was fine and back in school!
Bill Johnson lost his dad to cancer. He chose to hold fast to the revelation of God’s goodness in Christ, and many testimonies of cancer healed have come out of Bethel since.
God is able to do far more than we could ever ask or imagine according to his power at work within us. All too often, Christians have been afraid to ask or imagine because they are afraid of failure. And then they get mad at Christians who do dare to believe what God can do through them, because such faith makes them feel even more inadequate and condemned. They take that faith as the other person condemning them.
I hope this week’s post along with last week’s article about the “blame game” have encouraged to you. If you are stepping out in faith and other Christian’s are getting mad at you, maybe this helps to understand why they are so upset. They are most often struggling with guilt and condemnation. When we understand our standing and approval with God in Christ, it sets us free from the “blame game” and from fear of failure. Then we can go from strength to strength in the Lord and not only ask or imagine, but experience, far more than we ever thought possible by Christ’s power working through us.