Daily Devotional for Monday June 30, 2008
(Deuteronomy 29:9; 2 Chronicles 31:21)
Let me share some insights with you that I have found to be true in my life and I am sure you have found in your own life. It is in our failures that we learn life's most important lessons and grow. Nobody wants to fail, but the only person who has never failed is someone who has never tried. Failure is part of life. It is something we all have to experience from time to time. The key, however, is how do you respond when you fail? How do you respond when life doesn't go as you planned?
Winning, losing, succeeding, failing, these are all concepts that we begin to learn as children. Playing games is something all children do, and quickly we learn there are winners and losers. During our childhood we try many things, music, sports, different hobbies. Again, we quickly learn the joy of succeeding in the things we do and that empty feeling when we fail. While it is important to keep winning and success in perspective and learn how to do both with humility, it is even more important to learn how to handle defeat and failure, as well as the lessons they can teach us.
The first lesson in losing, in failing, is to take personal responsibility and not blame other people or anything else. Having spent 31 months of my life in Federal Prison, having ministered these past 18 yrs to tens of thousands of men and women who are incarcerated, I can tell you the biggest problem I see with people in prison is the refusal to take personal responsibility for the choices that put them in prison. Most people you talk to who are in prison will tell you they are there because of what this person or that person said or did. They are not willing to accept responsibility that they are there because of the choices THEY MADE. A person who is in prison will never be able to move forward and turn their life around until they are ready to accept personal responsibility for THEIR choices.
Whenever we lose or fail, it is always easy to sit back and make excuses. Some of those excuses may even be valid. However, rather than investing the time and energy into finding excuses why we lost or failed, it is far more productive to look at the role WE played in our loss or failure. You learn nothing by blaming someone else or making excuses. When you sit down and are honest to look at yourself, at the choices you made that contributed to your loss or failure, then you are able to learn from the mistakes you made and hopefully not repeat them in the future. We can all learn much from our losses and failures in life if we will simply be honest with ourselves and take the time to analyze our thoughts and actions so we can identify what we did wrong.
The second lesson in losing, in failing, is to not let our loss or failure paralyze us from trying again. Some people become so devastated by losing, by failing, that they simply refuse to try again. My friend, losing and failing are part of life. As I said earlier, the only people I have met who have never lost or failed are people who have never tried. You can't be afraid of losing or failure. Nobody likes to lose. Nobody likes to fail. However, you will never win unless you also lose and you will never succeed unless you also fail. Rather than being paralyzed by losing and failing, let them motivate you. Learn from your losses and failures so that you don't repeat the mistakes and poor choices you made that led to them. Instead of losing and failing making you weak, they can make you strong.
*LET ME SAY THAT ONE MORE TIME SINCE THIS IS A POWERFUL THOUGHT. INSTEAD OF LOSING AND FAILING MAKING YOU WEAK, LOSING AND FAILING CAN MAKE YOU STRONG!
The third lesson in losing, in failing is this, THERE IS NO FAILURE WITH GOD! In the process of serving the Lord, we will always have times and experiences when we feel in our flesh that we have failed, that we have let the Lord down. That is a lie from the pits of hell! THERE IS NO FAILURE WITH GOD! You can't fail when you are serving the Lord. The only way you can fail is to NOT serve Him! God uses our obedience and faithfulness in ways we will never see or understand until we get to Glory. The reality is, when we are yielded to the Lord, God uses our lives to do incredible things that we never even realize.
As a matter of fact, I submit that the greatest things you will ever do for God you don't even know you did them until you get to Heaven. Those are the things you do each day simply by being obedient and faithful . God will give us a little feedback along the way since He knows our flesh is weak and needs encouragement. However, the vast majority of what God does in and through our lives we will never fully comprehend in this life. Don't forget, our job isn't to know everything that is going on, it is simply to be obedient and faithful. God can use a willing and yielded vessel!
I love you and care about you so much. Losing and failing are simply part of this life. Things often don't go as we planned. THAT IS LIFE! How we respond to losing, to failing, when things don't go as we planned is the key. Never forget, God is on the throne. He doesn't take naps, or go to the bathroom, or take a break to eat a sandwich. God is on His throne at all times and nothing happens apart from God allowing it to happen. The vast majority of the time we lose or fail is because of the choices we made. God gave us free will, and God allows us to make the choices that lead to our losing or failing. Again, the key is how do we respond when we lose or fail.
Your first response should be prayer. Pray for God to open your heart, give you wisdom, and show you why you lost or failed. Than, you need to pray for God to give you the strength to overcome your disappointment in losing or failing, and help you to move forward. Lastly, you need to seek the Lord to guide you so that you don't make those same poor choices again. Listen to me carefully. God doesn't abandon you when you lose or fail. You are not alone. He is there with you each moment, so reach out and allow HIM to comfort you and give you His peace. God is with you in the good times and bad, through victory and defeat, through success and failure.
I will be praying for you today. Praying that God will speak to your heart today through these words. If you have suffered some defeats in your life recently, if you have failed, know that I am here and praying for you. Losing and failing are part of life. Don't let your defeats or failures keep you from moving forward. Life goes on. Sit down and learn from your losses, learn from your failures, and work to insure you don't make those mistakes again. Let me share a secret with you today. As long as you know Jesus as your Savior you can never lose or fail and if you don't know Jesus as your Savior, you can never win or succeed. One more time, say it out loud slowly, "As long as I know Jesus as my Savior I can never lose or fail and if I don't know Jesus as my Savior, I can never win or succeed!"
My friend, as long as you know Jesus, no matter what may happen, no matter what the setbacks in life you may experience along your journey, no matter what your defeats or your failures may be, you will always win and be successful! YOU ARE ALWAYS A WINNER AND A SUCCESS BECAUSE OF JESUS!!!
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller