Sunday, May 2, 2021

Successfully Failing

Successfully Failing 

Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. 2 TIMOTHY 4:11

One of the most unusual sets of circumstances in the New Testament is that surrounding Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. Paul and Barnabas took young Mark with them on a missionary trip, but he returned home before the end of the trip for reasons not revealed in Scripture. Whatever Mark’s reasons, Paul apparently thought they were unjustified since he refused to take Mark along on a subsequent trip (Acts 15:38). Did Mark fail at being a missionary? Judging from Paul’s response, it would appear he did. While the New King James Version says Mark “departed” from Paul and Barnabas, the word probably is closer to “deserted”—a more negative connotation. It’s probably reasonable to conclude that Mark did fail at being a missionary. But did that make him a permanent failure? Apparently not, for the same apostle Paul who was so disappointed in Mark counted him a valuable coworker in ministry later in his life. This is a perfect example of how to succeed at failing: fall, get up, and continue on. The next time you fail, make sure it is a temporary experience, not a permanent label. Don’t get “failing” and “failure” confused. Failing is nothing more than the back door to success. - Dr. David Jeremiah Morning and Evening 

Many know the story of a confronted Thomas Edison concerning his self-admission of it taking over 2,000 tries to create the lightbulb. A remark was made of it being 2,000 failures. To him it was just 2,000 ways NOT to make a lightbulb. 

I, personally, find great difficulty in celebrating successes in my life.  It's not that it's pride so much as it is the subsequent humbling moment that eventually comes later.  My success is only determined by what I believe God grants me. It's me who takes on the celebration too far or too much.  

If I could succeed at more things, in the world's eyes, I would be a better person!  

In God's eyes, those kinds of successes wouldn't be beneficial to His plans for mankind.  There's reasons that are deeper than we see as to why failure is before us.

But we can change the world! 

Exactly.  But remember Scripture must be fulfilled.   Anything that happens to change the world must be filtered through Scripture. 

I have had designs, in my head, for decades on ideas that would indeed change the world. I am not permitted, by God, to create them.  I believe, with all my being, that I would be successful.  God says no, it's a no.  

As I mentioned earlier, failure is often the first thing that I am aware of.  I don't have a memory like most.  There's times of my life when I have been envious of how some remember things.  

It's taken decades to let go of enough of me to be in a ministry that doesn't have me at the center.  This blog has its tools that goes back decades in my life, even though the fruits of it has only been seen for a few short years.  I could easily say that for 40 years that I failed as a writer, or it could be said that for 40 years I have been in training. 

We as Christians can be seen as often weak or single minded.  To the world that amounts to failure and throughout history has caused many a world leader to want to wipe us off the map.  Israel's plight isn't so much failure as who it is who claims them.  They are God's chosen people. He claimed them.  Christian people are Christ-followers.  They, according to the New Testament are the Bride of Christ.  This, in the eyes of the enemy of God, puts us too in his crosshairs as his enemy.  He lives to make believers miserable and to make believers think they are failures. 

To live for Jesus is quite different than living for yourself.  It's not failing at all when we don't meet the standards of the world.  It's meeting what we are to meet in Christ that makes us successful. 

Some have also heard it said that pride comes before a fall.  Much truth in that as well.   Scripture is replete with examples of prideful people and leaders who thought more highly of themselves than they ought to have thought.  Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, by all and every right deserving to have everything including all serve Him.  Yet, in Scripture He says He didn't come to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.  That doesn't imply at all that He failed as a King or Lord.  He said that those who wanted to be the greatest should become a servant. 

Never accept the world's definition of success.  You do and indeed you will accept the world's definition of failure. 

Jesus didn't fail at the cross. The world said "We win!" when He died and was buried.  Satan celebrated and said "I win!!", at seeing Jesus in the grave.  Three days later Jesus arose from the dead.  Whole, healthy and healed. What you also don't see but is further proof that Satan doesn't live in Hell, is anything about him being there when Jesus showed up to gloat or celebrate. 

I certainly would like nothing more than to be rid of the daily battles that come with life.  We who are alive in Christ are here at this point in time as part if God's plans.  Not for our personal benefit but to reach others for Christ.  We are to be His light in all this darkness to draw people to Jesus.  
Not to be among the world's must prosperous necessarily.  Not to be the most of anything that the world holds in high regard.  God is hope to all who are still breathing.  Including all whom we CAN decide to hate, despise or shun in this world. There are indeed millions per day waking up in Hell. There are also millions waking up in Heaven.  Hope for all is while they are still breathing in this world. 

We must choose what to think about success and failure.  Jesus said we would face trials and tribulations.  We would face temptation. Don't let the world's definitions cloud your judgment.  

Follow along...Peter and Silas thrown in jail.  Ah! I win again! Satan exclaims. Throwing in their faces that their beliefs were what put them there, hanging on a wall.  You failed! He cries.  What happened? They started singing hymns.  The jailer can't figure it out. They kept singing. There's no way they could be happy at a time like this!  The singing was getting to him. He had to know the reason! He had to know why!  They explained it to him. There time in jail was hailed as a colossal failure to the Jewish leaders.  The jailer took them down at the risk of becoming an inmate himself.  The end result was he and his household were saved. Failure to the world, success to Jesus. 

Do not expect the world to understand your choices to obey God.  For much of the last 20 years many never saw me as successful in the working world.  I was where I was because of where God wanted me.  I enjoy a return to one of those places of employment today. Yet should Jesus say it's time, I would gladly move on again.  The world would say such thinking is nonsense. Would say that I failed again!  I was taken place to place, job wise, to be healed and to learn.  The world sees failure, I see where Jesus made me a success.  

Know what constitutes success in God's eyes.  Live that and you will never be a failure. 

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