Every day I fail. I fail as a Christian, as a person, as a woman, as a friend, a wife, a mother. I fail to be kind, considerate, and loving. I fail to be humble and hold my tongue. What about you, Friend? Do you feel like a failure, too?
Failure can be demoralizing. It can immobilize. It can feel like a chokehold, a foot on one’s neck, strangling the breath out of us. Failure is condemning.
But condemnation? It’s not from God.
Romans 8:1-2 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”
Do you see what the enemy does with our failures, my friend? He throws them down as evidence in front of us, in front of God, in front of others. He yells out accusations and screams our failures from the rooftop. He convinces us that our failures disqualify us, define us.
But God? God doesn’t condemn. He convicts, yes. There’s a huge difference between conviction and condemnation. Don’t get them mixed up, my friend. Too often, satan convinces us, the liar that he is, that our failure is final, that failure is reason to quit. We give up without a fight when the enemy takes us to “court.” But what we fail to remember is this: We have an advocate with the Father. (1 John 2:1) Jesus Christ is our divine defense attorney. He stands before the Father in our defense. Actually, more than that. He takes our place at the table before the Judge. Though we are guilty, he enters a plea of “Not guilty” for us. He takes the punishment for our sins. Our failures and shortcomings are transferred upon him, and he bears the sentence incurred. And we, through repentance and forgiveness, are set free. We are free. Our failures can no longer tie us down like stakes in the ground.
The enemy can point his finger, proclaiming our failures day in and day out, but they are no match for God’s mercy. His mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22) My failures, your failures, are not dead ends. They do not kick us out of the kingdom. Contrary to the lies of the deceiver, we can rest confidently in knowing that the love of God, the sacrifice of Christ’s life on the cross, enables us to go forward in faith.
What do we do when we fail, then?
We don’t live in condemnation. We admit our failures, and, as poet and author Maya Angelou said, “…When you know better, do better.” (In Christianity, it’s called repentance. Repentance means you stop, turn around, and go the opposite direction. In other words, you stop doing wrong and start doing right.)
When you’ve failed, admit it. Then start doing the right thing. When you fail, ask forgiveness from God who gives it generously through Jesus Christ. Then when you have believed his word of forgiveness, start doing the things he’s called you to do through the help of the Holy Spirit. Don’t rely on your own strength to live righteously. Satan would like nothing better than to convince you that you can do things yourself, that you can be all and do all on your own. Pride was his downfall. Don’t let it be yours.
Finally, when you have failed, don’t let it define you. Failure is not who you are. The enemy will tell you that your failures comprise your identity, but your identity is in Christ. The Liar will tell you that because you haven’t had victory in a certain area (or areas) that you will never have victory. That is nothing but, please excuse me, crap. Total bull. Do not swallow that lie, friend. Christ has plenty to say about who you are! Look it up for yourself. Discover what God has to say about you in his word. If you need a bit of help on this, feel free to start here with Priscilla Shirer’s list: https://www.goingbeyond.com/blog/who-you-are-in-christ/ or do an internet image search with the term words “Identity in Christ.”
Look, I am not perfect. You are not perfect. There is only One perfect person: God. Imperfect, failing people are who God works on, in, and through. We will not achieve perfection here on earth, friend. No, but we are being sanctified, every day a new opportunity to become more like him. This shouldn’t discourage us, either, this unachievable goal. No. It should only serve to draw us closer to him, closer to the heart of God, for it is “…in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts. 17:28) Only God is able to transform our failures into faith. Will you let him? Will you trust him?