Trying for the glory of God

Trying for the Glory of God | Journey of Faith | fear of failure and God's glory


It’s one of those ugly, scary words that immediately brings to mind a laundry list of missteps in life.  Wrong turns that may have been avoided, had ignorance or human error not gotten in the way.  Some people are not so affected by these pitfalls.  “Live and learn” seems to be their motto, and they are the adventurous risk-takers of the world.  That is so not me.

Fear of failure lurks in the dark recesses of my mind, constantly tempting me to shy away from new and {to me} frightening ventures, tempting me to curl up in a little ball and simply avoid the scariness of it all.

The imposing threat of failure beckons me to avoid life.

If fear of failure had its way in my life, though, what would I be missing out on?  The answer: SO much.

If fear of failure had its way, my husband would not be in seminary, an adventure that has thus far proved to be extremely rewarding for both of us and has confirmed our hearts’ desire for vocational ministry through pastoring and discipleship.

If fear of failure had its way, I would not have taken the job I currently have.  A job that was given to me by God, one that He has used to stretch me in numerous ways, and one that I am constantly lifting up hands of gratitude for.

If fear of failure had its way, adoption would not even be an option for us.  Adoption, this beautiful and complicated and ever-changing process that is leading us to the children God has chosen for us.  This journey that we cannot imagine NOT doing now.

Praise be to God that fear of possible failure does not have the final word on how I live my life!

Rather, it is Christ, my Judge – the One who has declared me righteous before God on behalf of His life, death and resurrection – He is my authority.

Because Christ rules my life, my husband is in seminary, and he is being equipped not only for vocational ministry; he is also learning how to lead and disciple his family.  He is learning how to display the good news of Jesus Christ to the world on a practical level – namely, in marriage and family life.

Because Christ rules my life, I did take the job that I currently have, and I am learning so incredibly much.  I am learning how to embrace change, and accept risk (I’ve changed positions 3 times in the last 8 months, and the last change came with a timely pay raise!).  I am learning that God has made humans as very able beings, capable of adapting and learning new things.  And I am learning that I am one of them, to His praise and glory.

Because Christ rules my life, adoption is the journey we are on, and we are so grateful.  Our hearts are full, full of love for two little humans whom we don’t even know, nor they us.  We are working hard to bring them home, all the while recognizing it’s really Him working it out in us (1 Cor. 15:10).

The power of Christ in me is greater than my fear of failure.

I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. -1 Cor. 12:9

What to do, then, when I do mess up and fail?  What do I gain from taking a risk and then failing in it?

As I write this, I’m reminded of last year, when Tim and I thought for sure that we would be moving to Louisville so he could start seminary.  We put our house up for sale, we visited Louisville to look for housing and a church.  And our house didn’t sell.  By late July, we decided to take our house off the market and sign Tim up for online classes.  It was then that I found my job, and Tim’s place of employment created a part-time position just for him to stay there.  A few months later, God moved in us to start the adoption process.

  • Sometimes, failed attempts result in something better for us.  

            {Note: “better” does not mean easier, either, because this has been the most tiresome, difficult, and gut-wrenching year of our lives!}

I also think of my job.  In taking a few different positions within my company, I’ve learned a LOT.  I’ve also had to start over in each position I’ve taken, and this has meant making a few mistakes (thankfully, not job-ending ones!).  These mistakes have been so good for me, though, because I continue to recognize my great need for God.  Always, always, I need Him.  Were I to have success all the time, I would quickly fall into a complacent self-reliance, unaware of my need for Him.  What a dangerous place to be!

  • Failure humbles me and opens my {spiritual} eyes to see my unending, overwhelming need for God.

Ministry is an arena full of missteps for me.  Socially clumzy, somewhat introverted, and altogether afraid of saying  or doing {or writing} the wrong thing, I make mistakes frequently when doing ministry.  But do you know what is so beautiful about these mistakes?

  • Failure in ministry serves to magnify the sufficiency of God in Christ to use me despite my insufficiency to accomplish anything. (John 3:21,  2 Cor. 4:7, 2 Cor. 12:9,10)

Sinful errors are on an entirely different level of failure, I think.  This is the kind of failure in my life that is intentional, not just a result of my lack of know-how. Sinful failure is displacing my trust in Christ for something else.  It is clinging to a lie that something else will meet my need, satisfy me, save me.  Sinful failure is turning my back on the very God who has saved me and is the only One who can fully satisfy me!  “But God…”(Rom. 5:8)  But God has a way of turning ugly, sinful failure around and using it for my benefit.  What marvelous grace.  

  • God uses sinful failure in my life to bring me to repentance and give me a deeper understanding of the gospel.

Because of Christ, there is purpose even in failure.

What has God taught you through failure?  How has He used failure in your life to give you a greater understanding of the gospel and its radical implications for your life?

“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”  The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:15-18


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