In Spirit Blog

Let’s talk about “failure”.  Now this is a subject we can all relate to.

The apostle Paul, who learned very early in the race that he must “suffer” for the sake of the gospel, was considered a complete failure to those who trained him as a jealous Jew.  Paul was a Pharisee and held in the highest regard for being exemplary in every way concerning the law.  He didn’t just preach the law, he followed it up with action, his faith being expressed through application.

No doubt all of the young wanna be “holy men” would have been secretly jealous and envious of his position and aspired to his publicly honoured status.  And yet, after that historical horse ride to Damascus, compelled by pompous pride, Saul became Paul as Jesus blinded him, erasing his self-willed arrogance.

Have you ever been thrown off your “high horse”?  I have.  Many times.  As a young mother, I chose to homeschool our three sons.  I wanted them to understand the value of process which develops character, so I read them the lives of many persevering ones from The Book of Virtues.  Furthermore, our sons were born into this era which has proven to be an instant, shortcut demanding, consumptive world.  I had many failures under my belt and not too many successes to point to so I anchored them in the lives of overcoming bible characters, historical forefathers and this simple wee poem:

Try Try Again

by T. H. Palmer

‘Tis a lesson you should heed,
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try, again

Then your courage should appear,
For if you will persevere,
You will conquer, never fear,
Try, try, again

Once or twice, though you should fail,
If you would at last prevail,
Try, try, again

If we strive, ’tis no disgrace,
Though we do not win the race;
What should you do in the case?
Try, try, again

If you find your task is hard,
Time will bring you your reward,
Try, try, again

All that other folks can do,
Why, with patience, should not you?
Only keep this rule in view:
Try, try again.

This is exactly what Paul proceeded to do with his zeal and passion for God.  After many days of blinding torment and his natural vision impaired, he was able to view the unseen world.  Though his whole world came to a halt, he did stagger but he got up again.  Each of us can identify that we all have willfully climbed to our lofty perch oozing with self-confidence and hearts full of devotion but we eventually tho’ suddenly found ourselves intimately familiar with the dirt.falling-off-the-horse

Is your heart posture pointed to righteousness and yet you find yourself floundering in the dirt?  If it is, we say welcome, you are in good company at Back to Eden Group.  Know that courage is the currency of heaven, not achieving success at any cost.

Jesus said, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world (fill in what you are running after) but lose your own soul?

The measure you have been given is to be stewarded to increase but it must be done through the absolutes of the nature and character of God.  We see in the end that Saul was thrown down from the pride that drove him to murder, which he did in his devotion for God.  He was not cowardly but zealous in his error.  He was not lukewarm but hot for God.  The Lord sees the depths of our motivations and knows the depths of our hearts.

When we look at the life of Paul we must examine our beliefs and our lives in light of New Testament realities in which we would do well to ask ourselves the question:

What is God’s perspective on “failure”?

Katherine Matthews
B2E Group

“Failure in never final, giving up is.” – Donniece Greene-Smith

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Showing 11 comments
  • k.noel

    I see failure as moot in the ways that the world does. Its not success, things or even trying and not getting a curtain goal. Because TRYING in no way is failure. What it boils down to is how you react to any given set of circumstances. Its not the circumstance itself but the reaction to it that matters! …And in that reaction would show the “the heart attitude”. Do we believe God is who we says he is in light of our storm? Is he with us when we are in the lions den or when our enemies are after us? Of course he is, even if the world says no… the biggest travesty is to laugh in the face of God and say he isn’t who he says he is…. that’s what I would call a failure!

    • Back 2 Eden

      For sure you have described raw faith. Like Abraham, we are not moved by what we see in our circumstances but look into the unseen, to His nature. He is the faithful one.

  • Edualdo Cicero

    As I see it, failure is just part and parcel of everything that’s done in human, carnal and “down to earth” perspectives for any spiritual mandate even when those things are a “success” to our eyes! The call to be led of the Spirit becomes thus the only way to insure that failure in Kingdom perspective be avoided.
    The nice thing about failure is that it marks the trails of our life that make us consider the excellence of His ways over and above our owns!! It also helps us keep a very humble opinion on our abilities to fulfill God’s bidding! I do learn a lot from that “teacher” (called Failure) who often shows up uninvited… LOL
    As Caleb says, I’m good at celebrating, so let’s raise a toast at our failures … and pretty soon we find out that in essence all that counts is to celebrate Him coming through and making things happen even when we didn’t try!!! Cheers!!!!

    • Back 2 Eden

      Hi Edualdo. Welcome to the B2E Group blog!

      A toast to our failures! C’est magnifique.

  • Mary Tucci

    Failure like fear can paralyse a person or defeat I think of Paul and all the things he went through when he was blinded its like this I think at the end of the day we have to deal with ourselves our motives our desires our wants our selfishness.
    If the spirit of the living God resides in us you be darn tootin he will be with us to deal with our failures our fears our wants our desires our dreams etc he is faithful we just have ti continue to adk ourselves are we faithfuk to him. As a believer failure helps me draw close to God and gain a new perspective on the situation at hand and like the poem Try try again with the spirit of God he pushes us to new heights if ee are willing to get up once we have hit the dirt. Heres to all my brothers and sisters who have hit the dirt fallen off their high horses and gotten up again and reach even newer heights because they Tryed again.

    • Mary Tucci

      Few spelling errors oops
      We just have to ask ourselves are we faithful to him

      • Mary Tucci

        Note to self proof read everything Lol humbled again

  • James Thomas Canali

    I really appreciate this blog. I think a perspective on failure that I’m thinking through is can be compared to sport competitions. No sports competitor would play a game imagining herself/himself to never make a mistake the thought would be ludicrous. What a competitor would need is a joy of playing the game at the foundation, the joy of playing would compel them to achieve great things, make the sacrifice to train, and show up every day.

    I think it’s the joy of getting to play that helps us understand failure as a success at times. The fact that we were brave enough to try something, and something we couldn’t do perfectly was a success. I think God in his perspective enjoys being with us, playing the “game” of life with us. The joy of just being united with us, going through our struggles and joys, with one another.

    I think understanding now that I get to grow and learn by and really only by making mistakes or at least trying and playing the game, getting out on the court of life, and taking risks. I think the success and failure of life is intertwined, it’s all part of the story we get to live.

    • Back 2 Eden

      Love the thought about the motivation of the joy of playing sports versus winning and losing. Having played highly competitive sports myself, while I always enjoyed winning, the real rush came from knowing that I hit a high level of performance and was “firing on all cylinders”. There is a certain joy and rush knowing that we are at our best and when you combine the thrill of partnering with God at the same time it is exhilarating.

      Thanks for the contribution Jimmy.

  • Jessica Sanders

    For much of my life, I’ve held back from the things that stirred my heart, because I was afraid to fail…or because I’d already failed. -The last few years have been a fun, exciting, and sometimes rather painful experience of learning to be braver than I feel sometimes, lol. -Still a huge place of growth for me….still afraid to sing in front of people, even though my voice wants to so badly…still hold back from speaking my mind in some moments, or from letting others see me fully…..just to name a few…BUT…I am crazy excited for the adventure of tackling these, and other areas…excited to try, and to fail, and to try, and do well…just to try, and actually live.

    • Back 2 Eden

      Thank you for being so vulnerable Jessica and saying what many people wouldn’t. We will likely take you up on some of your ideas sometime in the future. LoL.

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