Having a sense of failure is debilitating and robs us of our sense of true value. Failure leaves us feeling empty, sometimes even worthless. It can cause relationship strain, financial woes and spiritual dryness. It’s easy to self-curse and feel like giving up. Yet God repeatedly uses failure as a stepping stone to where He wants us to be, using failure as a motivator to positive change in our lives rather than a tool to beat ourselves up with. Here are some principles to guide you out of hopelessness felt through failure.
It hurts when we mess things up, especially when we had set out to get it right. Most Christians really do want to please God but we soon discover that often we do the exact opposite. Perhaps you wrestle with repetitive sins, addictive behaviour or were just downright mean to someone you love – again. Maybe you started off on fire for God but now that flame has become barely noticeable and you feel like you have failed as a Christian. The solution does not lie in just trying to be a better person or ‘hopefully get it right this time’. Breaking free from this cycle requires a new perspective, allowing God to bring healing to the inner struggles that are fuelling the behaviour. Essentially cutting the fuel line to a runaway car rather than trying to stop it by strength alone.
Repetitive failure becomes immensely discouraging and we might be tempted to give up trying altogether. Discouragement is one of Satan’s biggest weapons against you. He will tell you: “You can’t do this. You’re a terrible Christian. God can’t possibly like you. Just give up. You don’t have what it takes.” The enemy’s attacks are rarely imaginative but they can be relentless and grind us down. Instead of resisting the enemy we start agreeing with him. Once we embrace these thoughts it’s like we start to do the enemy’s work of discouragement for him and we get caught in a downward spiral of failure and negativity.
the answer is not within our own abilities to break out of the spiral, but to seek a new approach that draws God into the chaos within.
But the answer is not within our own abilities to break out of the spiral, but to seek a new approach that draws God into the chaos within. Here are some practical steps to help break free from your feelings of failure:
God is like a father teaching His children how to walk. He knows this includes falling and getting up again. God is not as demanding, exacting and unkind as you may think. What He wants is that when you fail, you look up to Him. When you do, you will find that He still loves you exactly just as much as before you let Him down. God’s love does not change. James 3:2 says, “We all stumble in many ways.” And Psalms 37:24 teaches us that “though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand”. Our stumbling efforts do not diminish God’s faithful love towards us. His heart is to pick us up and set us going again!
Before God chose you He knew that you would let Him down.
Wounds are caused by our failure, such as bitterness, disappointment, fear, depression, anxiety, self-pity. These wounds need healing, otherwise they fester.
They might have given upon themselves, but God did not
When a bubble of false hope is popped, we feel disheartened. False expectations ultimately lead to disillusionment. Remember the disciples. Every single one of them completely abandoned the Lord when the chips were down. Did God give up on them? No! Instead He chose to use this group of failures to launch His Church! They might have given up on themselves, but God did not. It must have been such an incredibly deep healing experience for them to be trusted again and re-commissioned to bring the Good News of Jesus to a broken world.
When you fail, it is an opportunity to run to the Lord and encounter His unfathomable love for you and accept his healing power in your life. As you walk in a new way, you will learn how to depend more on Him and less on your own strength of will and human ability.
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