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Freedom To Fail!
February 19, 2013

Some time ago, I was sitting with an old friend from a church Julie and I previously attended and we were discussing the need to encourage people who don’t quite measure up to our standard or do things the way we would do them. In our conversation, I made the comment, “We need to give people the freedom to fail”. My friend’s eyes lit up and he remarked how true that statement was, suggesting that I write a book entitled, “Freedom To Fail”. Perhaps at a later date, but right now, I’ll write this blog. I, personally, have failed numerous times in my life and ministry. It would require too many pages to record every instance of failure on my part, and the marvellous thing about it that still humbles me, is the fact that God continues to use me in spite of my many disappointments to God and others.

God gives you and I freedom to fail. It is never His intention for us to sin, or give in to temptation—that is not the failure that God endorses, for He has provided victory for us over sin through the cross. But out of that naked reality of surrendering to our fears and our flesh, He grants mercy and grace to the repentant heart, broken with the healing shame of failure. Failure in marriage, in business, in friendships, in ministry, in prayer, in promises and commitments—whatever our failure may be, God gives us freedom to fail. Our freedom is a loving expression of the Heavenly Father’s continued trust in His fumbling child. Think about it—God already knows that we are going to fail in our faith and obedience before we even fall. And yet He willingly accepts the personal pain that our failure brings Him, knowing that we are going to come through victoriously as we confess our sins with full assurance that forgiveness is ours—forgiveness that never brings the matter up again, at least not on God’s part; people, yes—the devil, certainly—God, never!

I often reflect on Peter who was Christ’s faithful “disciple in training” who failed miserably many times over! Out of his many slips, Peter is most famous for his dreadful denial of Christ while under extreme pressure, even though Peter assured Jesus hours earlier that he would never fail Him, that he would even die with Him. Poor Peter—he’s just like us and we’re just like him! Good intentions, relying on our own strength and ability to conquer. The amazing thing about this account is the simple fact that Jesus chose Peter as one of the three to sit with Him in prayer in His deepest test of agony and suffering, even after disclosing to Peter that he was going to deny Him three times. Of course, just like us, Peter swore vehemently to the Lord, “No way, Jesus, not me! The others, perhaps, but not me!”. Right there and then, Jesus gave Peter freedom to fail with these gracious words, “Satan has desired to have you that he may sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you, and after you are converted, strengthen the brethren.” Wow! Jesus spoke this to Peter before his ignoble fall. It was not God’s will for Peter to deny His Son, but He looked days ahead and saw a champion of the faith—a pillar of the Church that would still be standing after the smoke of fear and failure had left. That’s why we should never give up on anyone because Jesus doesn’t. And after the fall, Peter was stronger than ever in the grace that he found in Christ Jesus and the empowering of the Holy Spirit that transformed a coward into more than a conqueror!

The Bible is full of “failures”; men and women who let God down in a time of great trial and crisis—and God did not abandon them. Failures like Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Samson, David, Elijah, Mark and many more who caved under pressure. But God tenderly raised them up out of the ash heap and restored to them beauty, dignity and honour. I thank God for failures because it reminds me of where I have come from and God’s power to promote me to a position of authority in His Kingdom—His Kingdom of ex-failures! I say “ex-failures”, because we only remain a failure if we wilfully stay down and walk away after a crash instead of turning to “the Lover of our soul and the Lifter of our head”. We really can learn from our mistakes—we really can rise above our failures—God really can work all things together for good for those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose. You may be down right now, but you are not out! Pick yourself up as one of God’s chosen failures and He will brush you off and put you back into the race—it is a race of victory, success, blessing, favour, freedom, honour, glory, reward, position, breakthrough, authority—and most of all, grace! “By the grace of God, I am what I am”—no longer a failure, but an overcomer through the blood of Jesus Christ! Take you freedom to fail, and then after you have repented, rise up to glory! Failure is not in your destiny, but success is!


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