Six Temptations of Failure, Day 1 of 6

Blogs by nature are generally supposed to be short. I’m not good at that. I’ve written an article that I’m confident is a message that many people need to hear. Rather than subject you to the reading the article as a very long blog, however, I’m breaking it into six smaller blogs.

Now, on to an introduction and temptation #1.

Six Temptations of Failure

Failure. It’s such an “ending word.” At least it sounds that way to me. In God’s economy, though, it is anything but an ending word. It is the beginning of something great that God wants to make out of the situation and those involved in it. God’s Word says:

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28 (NRSV)

If you love God and are pursuing His purposes for your life, when you experience failure you can know that God is going to begin to make something good out of the situation. Failure isn’t necessarily from Satan – God allows us to fail to bring about growth in our lives. He uses our failures to teach us things, to conform us to the image of Christ, and to show forth His glory. That’s part of the “good” that God works in our lives.

But when God begins to make something good, we can also know that Satan tries to foil His plans. One of his favorite tactics, especially in failure, is to misdirect God’s people with enticing alternatives. Failure carries with it many temptations, all of which have the potential to stop us in our tracks if we don’t resist them.

Bringing goodness – or even greatness – out of failure is God’s specialty. Bringing defeat and death is Satan’s specialty. Whether we embrace the greatness or the defeat is up to us. In this blog, I hope to debunk many of the temptations the enemy uses to entice us away from God’s plan when we experience failure.

Temptation #1: Believing That You are a Failure
I hope all of you have heard the phrase “failure is an event, not a person.” I’ve heard it from many people, but I think the first was Christian motivational speaker Zig Ziglar. Failure is the event that didn’t go as planned; it is not the person who planned, implemented or participated in the event.

One of the first things Satan throws in our face when we experience a failure is the lie that we are the failure. On the surface it would seem like a hard sell for Satan – after all, who wants to think of themselves as a failure? The truth, though, is that for many of us it’s easier to believe the lie that we are a failure than to hold on to the hope of success. Scripture says “hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12). When we experience a failure, it’s easy to lose hope. If we allow the failure to define us instead of applying the word “failure” only to the event, it’s easier to believe that we are the failure instead of holding onto the promise that God has something better for us.

The truth is that God made us uniquely for His purposes. Holding on to His truth requires actively engaging our faith. Believing the lie that we are a failure doesn’t require much of anything from us. Experiencing a failure takes the wind out of our sails and lowers our resistance to temptation. Although it is debilitating and painful, believing the lie can be the path of least resistance. Believing the lie is easier than holding steadfastly to the truth that God has something greater for us. Believing the truth requires that we expend the emotional and spiritual energy to actively engage our faith – to say “God will prevail on my behalf.”

Tomorrow’s Temptation: Allowing a Failure to Spread It’s Branches

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