How Failure Can Stop You
BY DR. ROBERT E. FOWLER
No one’s life is an unbroken chain of victories. We all experience setbacks, defeats, losses and failures. Consider the example of baseball: Not even the greatest players bat 1,000%. The same is true in ministry — we all make mistakes, even as we seek to serve God.
The first thing to do when you’re faced with any failure is to analyze why it happened. Although there may be a variety of reasons — many beyond your control — here are five common causes of failure:
When you don’t plan ahead
As the old saying goes, “If you fail to plan, then you’re planning to fail.” Proverbs 27:12 says, “A sensible man watches for problems ahead and prepares to meet them.” (LB)
When you think you’ve “arrived”
Remember the lesson of the whale: Just when you get to the top, and you start to blow — that’s when you get harpooned! Proverbs 18:18 says, “Pride leads to destruction and arrogance to downfall” (TEV). John Maxwell once said, “When Jesus walked through New Testament times, people had trouble seeing him as God; when some people walk through their churches, people have trouble seeing them as human.”
When you’re afraid to take necessary risks
The fear of failure can cause failure. We worry about what others will think of us if we fail. So we don’t even try. Fran Tarkenton says, “Fear sets you up to be a loser.” We fail to take advantage of golden opportunities. “Fear of man is a dangerous trap,” according to Proverbs 29:25 (LB).
When you give up too soon
Many times, success is just around the corner. The prophet Daniel tells of a time when he prayed for days and days, never getting an answer to his requests before God. Then one day, in a vision, he sees a mighty angel. “Do not be afraid, Daniel,” said the angel. “Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.” Although God heard Daniel’s prayer and dispatched an angel immediately, that angel was delayed 21 days due to a great spiritual battle: “Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.” (Daniel 10: 12-14, NIV)
When you ignore God’s advice
The Bible is the owner’s manual of life. It is filled with practical instructions and guidelines for work, home, finances, relationships and health. When we fail to follow these directions from God, we’re only asking for trouble. How many times have you run face first into failure simply because you ignored the Word of God? “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12, NIV).
If you’ve experienced failure in your life, you are not alone. Stay with it. The one who does not quit receives the ultimate crown.