How to Fail Beautifully (Part 3 of Failure)
Once you accept that failure is part of our existence, perfection (in the sense that one is trying to be without sin or not to sin any further by your own strength), is no longer a goal. Being mature, obtaining maturity in spiritual matters is the goal, not perfection and then failing is no longer a fear.
How does one become spiritually mature in Christ?
I recently had a chat with a friend who joked that something I said wasn’t very Christian. I laughed, but I then began to think on it. In that moment, I failed to be the example that Christ wants me to be. My reaction should have been in that moment, then I need to spend more time with Jesus, instead of laughing it off.
I didn’t feel condemned, I didn’t feel ashamed that I wasn’t perfectly showing Christ, at one time I would have and then continued to do the same thing over and over magnifying my guilt, but instead I acknowledged my failure and understood the remedy for my failure.
Why is it so simple, but so difficult to do?
Because while we are young in our faith, we still assume that it is by our own strength that we overcome obstacles. We assume that by following the law, and being perfect in the law, we become blameless before God. That our own actions, in essence our own righteousness is what frees us from sin and ultimately failure. But, we know that our own righteousness is faulty, that anything we do to overcome our faults and failures, is as if we washed ourselves with the same rag over and over without being able to clean the rag. If you’ve ever washed something and used the same rag to clean, it gets so dirty that eventually all you are doing with it is pushing around dirt from one spot to another, our own righteousness is as filthy rags.
If we are saved, having believed by faith in the salvation through Jesus, then we do not need to do the works of the law. Through the law, we are dead, because we are consistently faced with our failure and no possible redemption, forced to examine our flaws. Yet through salvation by faith in Christ, we are free from condemnation, and we live by grace. We are able to fail beautifully.
Read Galatians 2:11-21
Failing beautifully is not willfully running around and carrying on like a heathen and saying “I’m saved! Don’t judge me!”
Giving yourself permission to fail is accepting the work, that your relationship with Jesus is doing in you.
By faith, entering into the relationship with Christ is what gets you saved.
By faith, we are justified before God through Jesus Christ, so that you can go chat with God at any given point.
By faith, we spend time in conversation with God, examining His character, sitting before His feet, listening to what the Holy Spirit has to say to us.
By faith, we read our Bible, meditate on the word.
Faith is not hoping we are saved, or hoping that we go to heaven.
Faith is believing that God wants to have a relationship with you and made a way through Jesus Christ.
It’s simple, but can be exceedingly difficult for some.
Believing is not easy, but it is simple. It’s making a conscious decision to wholeheartedly believe. For some it is easier than others, for others it is difficult to believe and have faith. We must have patience with those who struggle in their faith and walk with God.
This past weekend, I attended a Christian music concert. Thousands of people gathered at this event, there were speakers, performers, people from charities with booths that had information about what they were about, and people attending. 10 acts performed, several speakers talked in between acts getting on and off stage, and it was loud.
On the way into the event, one of the people in our grouped joked that the ‘Christian protesters’ might be out there. These are typical street ‘evangelists,’ they have bullhorns, large signs, and they mock and tell people they are going to hell as they walk towards their destination. We crossed the street, in no way intending to avoid these people with signs. As we passed a few, I felt moved to turn aside and chat with one of the people yelling at us that the event was pagan and woe to those who entered.
I began the conversation with scripture John 3:17 “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” Telling people they are condemned is not helping the lost, they already know this.
He agreed and then said that his purpose was to Christians attending the event, and that they were sinning by attending the event, and to save them from going to hell, because sinners go to hell.
I asked him if he knew that our flesh was unredeemable and even the apostle Paul spoke on this subject in Romans 7:13-25, he agreed and asked if I had studied it, which I, replied in the affirmative.
He then asked me about what then if we are crucified with Christ, not completing the passage, how this all plays into not sinning. In that moment I responded that it is not I that does any good work. For it is not my righteousness that justifies me, but through Jesus Christ. I even went further to say that if I do any good work, I cannot take credit for it, because it’s Christ within me that does it and not anything I’ve done.
I was shortly then pulled away by the group I was with to get into line for the concert, and our conversation ended.
I prayed that this man I had chatted with would enter into a deeper relationship with Christ, that he would understand that salvation is not by our doing good, but rather through faith in Jesus Christ.
I also re-read Galatians 2:11-21, reaffirming that salvation is through faith and not by the works of the law.
I was also grieved knowing that if a brother sins against us, we are to talk to them privately and confront them and restore them gently to correction in their relationship with Christ.
I will note that although I engaged this fellow believer in conversation, in the past my emotions would have taken hold and it would have been a yelling match on my end, for I am passionate about the word of God and what it says. This conversation was an aside and done in a conversational manner, and I actually found myself caring for this man and how he was approaching brothers and sisters in Christ, rather than just being right on what the word of God says.
This is approaching maturity, being patient, kind, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, love and joy.
Failing transfers into beauty when we exemplify these behaviors.
In years past, I thought I was doing good when I tried so hard in my flesh and strived to be good and do better, when all I needed to do was accept that I was failing and go enter into prayer and conversation with God. I needed to stop trying to be good and allow the goodness of God to flow from out of my relationship with God.
Scriptures to read and think on: Galatians 2:11-21, Romans 7:13-25, John 3:16-20, Galatians 5:22-25