What Have I Learned From Failure?

I have plenty of cliche answers like perseverance, work harder, sometimes you need breaks, etc.

“Failure” itself is an elusive term, much like “success.”

I’ve failed morally…and I learned what my toughest temptations and how best to avoid them. I’ve learned I’m not perfect and I am capable of grievous sin if not checked.

I’ve had ministries and initiatives fail but they always taught me better ways to do it.

Ultimately, humility is failure’s lesson to me.

Five Attitudes of a Servant

  1. Servants think more about others than about themselves.  Philippians 2
  2. Servants think like stewards, not owners.  Check out the parable of talents; 1 Corinthians4:1; Luke 16:11.
  3. Servants think about their work, not what others are doing. Galatians 5:26; Romans 14:4
  4. Servants base their identity in Christ.  Only secure people can serve selflessly without worrying about how they appear to others. 2 Corinthians 10:18
  5. Servants think of ministry as an opportunity, not an obligation. Psalm 100:2

How do you Measure Spiritual Maturity?

How do you measure spiritual maturity? By the number of verses memorized? By how much you give monetarily? No. Your spiritual maturity is revealed by your willingness to serve. And not just the “ministry” you have from how God shaped you but the spontaneous service you do for others.

This means that you aren’t too busy with life so that your service would be too limited.  You have to be ready at the drop of a hat.

This means that you are paying attention to needs around you.

This means that you do your best with what you have.

This means that you do every task with equal dedication. Whatever you do, you do it with all your heart. Nothing is too menial.

This means that you faithful to your ministry. You finish what you started.

This means that you keep a low profile. Don’t promote or call attention to yourselves.

Superiority Complex

I am not more moral than the person who hurt me, no matter how deeply they hurt me.

When we’re angry at someone for hurting us it’s so easy to feel superior to them.  But until we recognize that we, too, are sinners, forgiveness will not be truly offered.

Thomas a Kempis,

Should you see another person openly doing evil, or carrying out a wicked purpose, do not on that account consider yourself better than him, for you cannot tell how long you will remain in a state of grace.  We are all frail; consider none more frail than yourself.

Repentance is Where We Begin

Admitting our sinfulness is THE requirement for entry into the Kingdom of God.  See Matthew 4:17 and Acts 2:38.  That’s where we must begin!

Oswald Chambers,

Repentance does not bring a  sense of sin, but a sense of unutterable unworthiness.  When I repent, I realize that I am utterly helpless; I know all through me that I am not worthy even to bear His shoes.  Have I repented like that?  The reason God  cannot come into my life is because I am not through into repentance.

Spiritual Growth Isn’t the End Itself

Spiritual growth leads to spiritual maturity but growth and maturity aren’t ends in itself. We grow up in order to give out, to serve others, to make a difference in the world leveraging what God has given us.

Instead of saying, “I’m looking for a church that meets my needs and blesses me,” say, “I’m looking for a people to serve and be a blessing.”

Service is the path to significance, not career, family, sports, or wealth.

Spiritual Growth is not about Speed, but Strength

Spiritual growth is not about how fast we grow but about how strong we grow. So there will be times when we don’t feel like we’re growing because God seems absent.

He’s not.

Sometimes you will have a short, intense burst of growth (Spring!) followed by stabilizing and testing (Fall/Winter).

Expect gradual improvement in your conforming to the image of Christ.  But be patient with God and yourself.  God’s timetable is rarely ours. He took 80 years to prepare Moses, including 40 in the wilderness.  Great souls are grown through struggles and storms.  Be patient with the process.

God Blesses Forgivers

1 Peter 3:9,

Don’t repay evil for evil.  Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you.  Instead, pay them back with a blessing.  That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.

You have to find a way to show kindness to the people you have trouble forgiving.  They don’t deserve it and probably won’t appreciate it.  But you’re really not doing it for them, but for yourself.  It will soften your heart.

So find something small: pray for them, smile at them, stop speaking negatively about them.  Do it even though its painful.  Do it out of devotion to Christ.  Do it to receive a blessing in return.