If there's one thing that both successful and unsuccessful people have in common it's this- they've all failed at some point. Failure is nothing uncommon to people. We've all failed in little ways and in miserably big ways as well. But in our failures, we must come into terms with two things. How does God react to our failures and how are we, in response to God's response, to react to them?
In his book entitled "Failing Forward" John Maxwell has this to say about failure: "The essence of man is imperfection. Know that you're going to make mistakes. The fellow who never makes a mistake takes his orders from one who does. Wake up and realize this: Failure is simply a price we pay to achieve success." Failure is not just likely. It is expected. The biggest factor now is how we respond to failures.
The best way to get a good grasp of our failure is to first understand how God sees our failure and how it affects our covenant relationship with Him. One of the most wonderful stories that depict our covenant relationship with God is the parable of the lost son. (Luke 15:11-32)
You probably know the story- a young man asks for his portion of his inheritance from his father only to squander it and go broke. Upon realizing he had failed miserably, he returns to his father who receives him openly.
One of the most notable things in this parable given by Jesus is the reaction of the father to the prodigal son. Jesus depicts the father as one who hastily ran to his son upon seeing him return. That's the picture of what God does when we return to Him after failures. Why? Because when God looks at you He doesn't see a failure. He sees His child.
So how does failure affect our covenant relationship with God? It doesn't affect it at all! God will still love us despite our failures and will restore us if we allow Him to by humbly coming back to Him.
In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says this: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." If you've failed before, you'll probably fail again. Your business might flop. You'll make a mistake at work. Your ministry will be shaken. You'll probably fail to meet your family's needs. You'll most likely fail another quiz at school.
But in those failures know that God does not define your worth by them. He defines it by the bitter victory that was won by Jesus on the cross two thousand years ago. Because of what Jesus did for us, we can now share in God's glorious triumph and trust Him to be our strength when we are weak.