Friday, April 01, 2016

To a Friend Fearing Failure

Dear friend,
I know you've been told in the past you're a failure, and it has been a marker that you have tried to avoid for much of your life. Please let me share with you something that I hope might free you up in this area:

There's no way that you and I can do everything right. As Jerry Bridges put it,
'Even the good works we bring to God are in themselves defective, both in motive and performance. It is virtually impossible to purge our motives completely of pride and self gratification. And we can never perfectly perform those good works.' Holiness Day by Day, Week 46, Thursday.
That means, because of indwelling sin, when we do good things, they probably won't be good enough, and we will probably have some mixed motives as we do them. So, all of us humans are bound to fail. If you fail bro, you're just like the rest of us, we all fail. I fail at being a good husband, parent, and pastor. I hate that I fail in these areas, I want to work harder to not fail, but even when I work harder, I still fail.

But here's the good news. Jerry goes on to point out the following verse,
'you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house  to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.' 1 Peter 2:5 (NIV) 
Even though you and I are failures, God has chosen to make us into stones that he's building his house with. He's hand picked you bro as one of the stones he wants. He is making us failures into a holy priesthood. 'Holy?' you say, 'I don't feel very holy'. Well check out the next bit:

We offer sacrifices that are acceptable to God. Even though we're failures, the things we do for God, are accepted by God, even though we fail in them. How come? Look at those final three words, 'through Jesus Christ.' So, the failed things we do, are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the lens through which God looks at the things we do for him. Although we don't do them properly, and although we have selfish motives whilst we do them, shone through the lens of Jesus, they look like acceptable offerings to God.

This is so freeing to a failure like me. I'd like to be the perfect husband, father, and pastor - and I can be through Jesus Christ's filter. He filters out the bad, and all that's left is a good work pleasing to God. This means that whilst I might look like a failure in many ways, in my heavenly Father's eyes, what I do in my marriage, parenting, and pastoring pleases him, all because of Christ! I don't need to be the perfect success, Jesus gives it to me through his life, death, and resurrection!

Think about that filter bro, think about that lens, and be freed up from the fear of failure, and live your life as a living sacrifice to God, acceptable through Jesus Christ.