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A Study of Success and Failure

A Study of Success and Failure

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Published by glennpease
Even God and Jesus experienced failure, as we all do, but success is simpler than we tend to think.
Even God and Jesus experienced failure, as we all do, but success is simpler than we tend to think.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 05, 2009
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05/24/2010

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A STUDY OF SUCCESS AND FAILUREBy Pastor Glenn PeaseINTRODUCTION:We all have an equal chance to be more successful than we now are. To a largedegree success is a matter of choice. Someone said, "God gave us two ends; one tosit on and one to think with. Success depends on which one we use the most. Headswe win, tails we lose."Success and failure are a part of every intelligent life in the universe. Do youthink that is a true or false statement? The reason we learn more from failure thanfrom success is because we fail more than we succeed.If it can be established that God the Father and Jesus the Son experiencedfailure, then it will be established that the statement is true. Peter states in II Pet.3:9 that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come torepentance. Do all come to repentance? Is God's will always done on earth as it isin heaven? If so, then why pray for it? If it is as inevitable as the sunrise and thesunset, we do not have to pray for it to happen. Does anyone pray for the sun torise? If God's will can be defied, delayed, and disobeyed, then God experiences thefrustration of failure, that is, the non-accomplishment of goals he wants to reach.Do things go wrong for God so that He regrets decisions He has made? We readin I Sam. 15:11 God saying, "I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because hehas turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions." And we readagain in verse 35, "And the Lord was grieved that He had made Saul king overIsrael." Saul was His choice for the first king of His people Israel. Saul turned outto be a failure who did not do God's will, and he had to be rejected and replaced.Does God know what its like to put a man in office and then have him turn out to bea mistake? Have you ever voted for a leader and lived to regret it?If God can feel bad and grieve, and repent of choices He has made, this meansGod experiences reality in ways very similar to what we experience. The NewTestament stresses that Jesus, as God incarnate, experienced life as we do. Heb.2:14-18 says this: "Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in theirhumanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil--and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear
 
of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. For thisreason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he mightbecome a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he mightmake atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he wastempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted."We read in Heb. 4:14-16, "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who hasgone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith weprofess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with ourweaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yetwas without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so thatwe may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Did Jesusexperience failure? Did His disciples always please and obey Him? Did He weepover Jerusalem saying, "I would, but you would not?" The experience of failurewould appear to be universal and inevitable. Nobody, not even God, can get theirwill done one hundred percent, or achieve all they desire.What is success? The dictionary defines success as the attaining of a desiredgoal. If my goal is to bowl one hundred and fifty, then I can measure my successquite easily, for when I hit one hundred I know I am two thirds of the way there.When I reach one hundred and fifty I am successful, for that was my goal and I gotthere. Success is simply arriving at a desired goal. We do it everyday. My goal is toeat breakfast, read the paper, and be at my desk by 8:00 A.M. I do it most everyday, and so I succeed almost every day as I begin the day.But my goal is also to discover profound insights into the word of God, anddevelop a unique and interesting way to communicate them to others. I do notachieve this each day, and so I live with perpetual failure as well as perpetualsuccess. I am achieving goals every day, and falling short of goals every day. Thepoint is, success, by its very nature, is goal oriented, and so is failure. They areopposites, but exactly alike in that they both depend on goals for their existence.You cannot fail or succeed without a goal. You can always know instantly if you failor succeed when you shoot a basketball at a hoop. The goal is clear and it eithergoes in or does not. But remove that goal, and shoot the ball into the air, and youcan neither fail nor succeed, for these terms do not exist without a goal. A ballthrown into the air cannot be either right or wrong, if there is no goal.Some goal is essential to determine all success or failure. If my goal is to read abook, I succeed when I read it, and I fail if I don't read it. If my goal is to buy anew car, I succeed when I buy it, and I fail when I don't. If my goal is to make amillion dollars, and I only make 500,000 I fail, but if my goal is to make 100,000and I do, I succeed. The man with 500,000 feels like a failure, and the man with100,000 feels like a success because success is relative to one's goals. A man whosaves only ten thousand in his whole life, but who expected to save only 5,000, is ahappy successful man. The man who saves 50,000, but who expected to save100,000 is a miserable and depressed failure. It is not the quantity that makes aman feel successful, but how close did he come to his goals. You determine how
 
successful you are by the goals you set for yourself. Success is not in how otherpeople think about you, but in what you think about yourself.God is the first and greatest example of success in the Bible. He set out to createsomething good and He completed it. He had achieved His goal and rested on theseventh day. The universe began as a great success, and in spite of all the failuresince, the end will also be a great success. God is determined to have a new heavenand new earth where all effects of sin will be no more. The final picture is one of total success and eternal victory, for salvation is a success and heaven is a success.If reaching goals is what success is all about, then aimlessness is the worst enemyof success. Success is getting somewhere that is important to you. But if it is notimportant to God and His plan, it is only temporal success. The Pharisees weresuccessful at getting public attention for their piety, but they were failures in theeyes of Christ. So true success is in reaching goals that are not only pleasing to you,but also pleasing to Christ. The order is to be goals that are pleasing first to Christ;second to self, and third to others. Such goals are true success in the eyes of God.If the direction you choose to go is a key factor then persistence is also a majorfactor of success, for there will be constant pressure on you to change your course.We have to face reality, however. If a Christian is going a way he feels is right andGod's will, but he or she is not able to do the job for lack of gifts or training, then tochange course is not wrong. Many Christians go to the mission field and learn theyare not fit vessels for that task. They can't adjust to the culture, learn the language,or stand the food, etc. And so they quit and come home. One said, "I climbed theladder of success only to discover that my ladder was leaning against the wrongwall." It is not failure to admit a mistake and choose another wall.It is often a process of failure by which people find their calling. Not to see thishas led Christians to despair. Erwin Lutzer tells of a Christian in Chicago who, asa young man, got all excited about becoming A Royal Mounted Policeman inCanada. He went for the training and was rejected because he did not conform totheir life-style. He committed suicide because he felt he had failed. He did, of course, at that goal, but it was folly to think there was only one goal pleasing toGod. Peter failed a lot, but he did not stop trying, but kept pressing on. He criedover his failure, but he did not stop.The question is, what makes you feel successful? I feel successful when I havedone a fairly quality job of whatever I do. It is not necessarily the best I could do,for if I had another day I could do better. But under the limitations of life I havedone what I feel is acceptable for pleasing God, and being of value to other people.John Maxwell says that the worlds definition of success says as long as I meet all myneeds even if I do not help others, I am successful. The Christian, however, has tosay that I must contribute to the welfare of others to be successful. The ultimatesuccess is to be saved, and the ultimate failure is to be lost. The Christian is assuredof being ultimately successful, but to be successful in time they must contribute tothe blessings of others.

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