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Failure Isn’t Final

By Pastor Tony Smith

Winning isn’t everything. 

People tend to say that when they aren’t winning. When we are losing these may seem like soothing words of comfort. We use them to somehow alleviate or to explain away our pain. Because the reality is everyone likes to win and no one likes to lose. It is a correct statement that winning isn’t everything. But let’s be honest, losing surely Can’t be everything either.

We like to win. 

We love to succeed. We enjoy the sweet triumph of victory. We don’t like to lose. We never desire failure. We are averse to the agony of defeat. The problem with that is life is filled with peaks and valleys. Sometimes the ball is in, sometimes it’s out. Sometimes the basket is made, sometimes it’s missed. Sometimes the game is won, sometimes it’s lost. Jesus said “in this life you will have trouble.” Job echoes that same sentiment  with his statement “a man born of woman is a few days and full of trouble.” The old adage says sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I love the twist John Maxwell does with this. He says “ Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.”  We see this displayed throughout history with people who have accomplished great feats. People like…

Henry Ford 

Failed two times that resulted in bankruptcies, prior to his successful automobile company Ford Motor Company.

R.H. Macy 

Failed seven times, before his store in New York caught on.

English novelist John Creasey 

Got 753 rejection slips, before he published 564 books.

Babe Ruth 

Struck out 1330 times but he also hit 714 home runs.

Thomas Edison

In developing a commercially viable light bulb, went through over 10,000 prototypes before getting it right. 

Michael Jordan 

He said “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Another is the Apostle Peter. The story of Jesus walking on water shows up in three of the four gospels…Matthew, Mark and John. However, in Matthew alone we learn the added detail that Peter also walked on water!  Take a minute and check it out in Matthew 14:28-33.

Here are a few lessons we can learn from the Apostle Peter’s apparent failure.

As we see in this passage, Jesus invites Peter to come CLOSER. We are invited to come closer to Jesus. Paraphrasing James 4:8 God says “come closer to me and I will come closer to you.”  You can experience a closer relationship with Jesus because there is an open door, an open invitation, despite all our failures.

Our next step to a CLOSER relationship with Jesus takes faith. It takes faith to get out of the boat and move toward Jesus. Allow your self to be uncomfortable because that is the place where we grow. 

As we see in Matthew, failure is not final. It is not fatal. Failure is an opportunity for us to get CLOSER to Jesus. Peter cries out and Jesus lifts him out of his failure. Because Peter pursued a closer relationship to Jesus. Jesus responded to his failure by pulling him closer. You see Peter steps out of the boat in a direction closer to Jesus. And even through his failure, he returns to the boat with Jesus. 

Winston Churchill Said “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Don’t lose your desire, passion and pursuit of CLOSER in your life. Everyone experiences failure in life. Make the decision today that you aren’t going to allow a temporary setback to become a permanent reality. Lift your head up, set your eyes ahead, and move closer to Jesus.