Thursday, January 11, 2007

Failing is a part of the Christian Walk.


Failing is a part of the Christian Walk.

Did you know that failing is part of the Christian walk? Most people just don’t know, or deny that, yet every one of the great bible characters failed in some way. Adam disobeyed God, Joseph lied, Isaac stole his brother’s birthright, Moses (besides murdering and Egyptian guard) hit the rock more times than he should have, King David committed adultery, Peter denied Christ, and Paul even boasted in his failures…

2 Cor11:23 -33
Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.


In this passage Paul is basically been asked for his credentials… I want to ask you, if you started a church prayed over it every day, and worked harder than everyone else how would you feel is asked after all that to give your credentials? In Corinth, credentials were held high it meant you were SOMEBODY. Yet in great Pauline fashion. Paul starts out bragging about all the wrong things!

1. It was shameful to have been flogged and Paul had been five times!
2. It was shameful to have been beaten with rods and 3 times that happened!
3. Stonings were shameful
4. He was shipped wrecked and survived his inability to even stay afloat!
5. He moved constantly so had no stability!
6. “Danger” was his middle name!
7. He was a laborer
8. Gone without food, shelter, water, and was at times naked!
9. In all this he only claimed to be… weak!
Yet #10 is the big one… for you see in times of war it was an honor to be the first one in battle to be sent over the wall in a basket… This soldier most likely died in battle but was held in honor for being the first one in the city to attack… yet if they lived, they were heroes… Here Paul, boast in the one thing that was most probably the greatest failure… he was let over a wall in a basket and RAN AWAY!!!!! This was all shame!

Failure is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact it shows that we are weak… yet it shows how great God is and how much He truly loves us. You see in the end we know more about Paul and are more inspired by his failures than some of the greatest heroes out there today. Paul learned the art of “failing forward”.

In “failing forward”, instead of shame one learns from your failures and then leans more into Jesus for His strength. We all sin, to deny that is denying the truth. Yet, even when we do Jesus is ever before the Father on our behalf. (1 John 1, 2)

When you fail thank God for His forgiveness and stand up… knowing Jesus truly loves you and will not forsake you. Confession is basically agreeing with God that He is right and you were wrong… and that is called humility if you confess your weakness to God. A shame based faith is bondage… don’t get caught up in the lie God is not big enough to cleans you from all unrighteousness. We are clothed with Christ Jesus. He has become our righteousness. So next time you fail… fail forward and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessings,
iggy



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2 comments:

Rob Witham said...

Some excellent thoughts on failing, iggy. I recently delivered a message on Lessons in Servant Leadership from Nehemiah. One of the lessons I mentioned was that leaders are not perfect. We read several times in Nehemiah how he repented before God. He also was the first to sign their vow before God. Leaders are not perfect and faith communities need to remember that and allow leaders to repent and move on. Too often leaders are pressured to be fake and phony because failing is viewed wrongly. Great post!

iggy said...

Rob,

Oh man, don't even get me started on how we pressure leaders... the result is so often what happens to people like Ted Haggard, or the Pastor that recently committed suicide because a local TV station was going to "out" him.

I have had friends in ministry destroyed because of anger, and affairs... great men of God reduced to hiding from their sin and the truth.

I so often see that if these men (and women) could turn to their communities (churches) at least to a few select brothers (if you is one) or sisters (if you is one) to help carry their burden and struggles. We all have them...

That is why I sought out ordination with UMCI as I was planting a church here in Billings. To be accountable to someone beyond myself. I still see them as a resource for just that now even though I am no longer church planting myself and am with Vineyard. Though now I have become friends with some great Godly men at Billings Vineyard.

Yet, so often we let shame paralyze us and weaken us... which is what Satan wants as he is a predator... and that is what they do, they seek the young and old and seek... they feed on the weak.

Somehow, (again I am not at all perfect) I have been preserved from things like divorce and my family has not been effected by unfaithfulness ( though I am open that as a man I struggle with lust... which is not all having to do with pornography! It can have to do with power and placing desires or wants of this world which is "idolatry" as these are common to every man and woman). We went to one church that almost everyone of our friends divorced... even two of the pastors divorced... so many people had divorced that there was a rumor that my wife and I had also... it was almost assumed that those in leadership or were on the board all had divorced their wives... that is how bad it was... yet at least two of us, somehow were preserved by God. The saddest thing for me is that many of these men in that denomination are then disqualified to be ordained and pastor a churches... Even if the divorce was not their own fault. Like I have said, some of these guys were great men of God... yet with fatal flaws... I am brewing over a post on that... one how Scofield was a "con man" and some other things about men like Walter Martin... not to justify, nor to show them as "sinners!!!!!!!" but to show that even with all our flaws and knowledge we can have morale and ethical failures... yet God can still use us... and the most important thing is we can overcome these flaws, (not over night!) by the blood and inner workings of the Holy Spirit... and the ones we worship locally with... and with friends... and sometimes even our enemies!

Like I said, don't get me started! LOL!

Blessings,
iggy