"Even if good people fall seven times, they will get back up. But when trouble strikes the wicked, that's the end of them." (Proverbs 24:16 CEV)
Failure isn't fatal — it's normal! Just look around. All of us mess up from time to time. Somebody recently gave me a book, "The (Incomplete) Book of Failures: The Official Handbook of the Not-Terribly-Good Club of Great Britain." When they printed the book, they forgot to print the first two pages and had to add it later. Even the book was a failure!
Unfortunately, we tend to hyper-focus on our own shortcomings, and that robs us of our confidence. That's part of what happened to the first disciples. Yesterday, I told you how amazed I was that the first disciples went from defeated to dynamic so quickly after the Resurrection. I shared with you the first of three roadblocks to confidence that the disciples illustrated: fatigue.
The second of these roadblocks is failure. Matthew 26:56 says, "All the disciples deserted him and fled" (NIV). One of the main reasons the confidence of the disciples was so shaken was their sense of failure for having deserted Jesus. Plus, the thriving movement they were a part of — the ministry of Jesus — was seemingly dead. They were having a pity party. They were second-guessing themselves and wondering what went wrong. Jesus was supposed to be the Messiah, but then he died. I'm sure they were asking, "Why me? Who cares? What now?"
What's the antidote to failure? It's perseverance. You overcome failure when you admit it to God and keep doing what God has called you to do regardless of setbacks. The Bible reminds us that God specializes in using failures. The fact is, just three days after Jesus was crucified and the disciples thought their lives were in the tank, Jesus rose from the dead. God specializes in lost causes.
The Bible says in Proverbs 24:16, "Even if good people fall seven times, they will get back up. But when trouble strikes the wicked, that's the end of them" (CEV).
Are you ready to get back up?
Talk About It
- What is your usual reaction to failure?
- How have you let your failures keep you from doing what God has called you to do?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.