The blessing of failing

29 Mar

It is tempting to think of prosperity as a sign of God’s blessing.

It must be since thousands upon thousands of people do. If someone does well in a certain area, perhaps their ministry is flourishing or their finances are booming, people often automatically think of that as a demonstration of God’s favor; or if perhaps someone is not doing well in a certain area, their ministry is struggling or they are having financial problems, people often automatically think of that as a sign of God’s judgement or at least disinterest.

We know however when we look to the Scriptures that it is not nearly that simple.

Because the fact is God sometimes gives blessing and prosperity to people He hates. That’s obviously not always true. But it sometimes is.

Job describes the wicked as “spending their days in prosperity…” (Job 21:13)

Esau was rolling in it.

David describes the wicked men who were attacking him as being blessed with riches and large families. (Ps. 17:14)

Jesus tells a story in Luke 12 of a rich man whose land produced plentifully and had so much that he needed to build larger barns to contain it all, yet when God addresses him, he calls him a fool.

We can’t judge God’s attitude towards what we are doing very well by whether we are doing well or not because prosperity sometimes can be a kind of judgement and suffering sometimes can be a kind of grace. Paul describes it that way in Philippians 1:29, “For it has been granted (graced) to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake…”

Instead of judging God’s attitude towards by whether we are succeeding, we should judge God’s attitude by the promises of mercy that our found in Christ. When we look there we know God is for us, whatever our earthly position.

Which should change the way we think when we are failing. Instead of becoming depressed and feeling like we must be disappointing God, as believers, we should begin to think hard about all the ways that God is showing love to us in that moment.

I mean, just stop and think though about some of the blessings that can be found in not doing well.

When we are not doing well, it sometimes increases the pleasure in small successes. If I have a church of thousands, I don’t get too excited when a new solid family comes in; but when I have a church of thirty or forty, one new solid family can keep me talking for weeks.

When we are not doing well, it sometimes increases our dependence in God in prayer. This is obviously not always true. I would say Charles Spurgeon was pretty dependent. But, for many of us, the more we succeed the less we feel our need and the less we feel our need, the less we go to our knees. When you are not doing well, it can bring you to the end of yourself, to the point where you say to God, man, I can’t do this, and so you pray, because that’s the only thing you can do.

When we are not doing well, it sometimes gives us more time to think and meditate. With success often comes busyness and distraction. If I have three houses, obviously I need to think about how to maintain those three houses. If I rent, I don’t have to spend much time thinking about the upkeep. If I am constantly asked to speak at major conferences, I am flying here and there; if I am not, I have much more time just to spend with my family or with people in my church or in my study before God.

When we are not doing well, it sometimes forces us to think more carefully about the Word of God and how to apply it. If everything I say works, I don’t always look as carefully at what I am saying. But when I fail, it sometimes forces me back to the Word of God to ask, is what I am saying true, is what I am doing what God wants, really? Is this just my opinion, preference, or is this a principle that I need to be willing to even die for?

When you begin to base your confidence regarding God’s attitude on the Word of God instead of your circumstances, it changes the kinds of questions you ask when you are doing well and when you are not. That’s important. If you ask questions based on false assumptions, you will always get wrong answers; but when you start asking questions based on truth, you can finally begin moving forward.

Advertisements

One Response to “The blessing of failing”

  1. Tommie. March 30, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    “important. If you ask questions based on false assumptions, you will always get wrong answers’

    The problem is, we often don’t know about our false assimptions, identifying them is almost the hardest part.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: