Failure Is Not An Option?

by Allen Knippers

I have a confession to make: I fail the people I love the most almost every day. 

“Failure is not an option” is a phrase that I have heard many times, but I don’t believe it. I think a better version of that phrase would be “failure is inevitable” because of our sin. The question is, as Christians, how should we think about failure? Should we be afraid to fail?

I think there is one thing that we can say with 100% certainty and that is that we will all fail at some point. For all of us (including myself) failure of some sort will be a daily occurrence because of our sinful natures. So then the question becomes, What do we do when we fail? Do we throw in the towel or do we continue to fight for what matters most in our lives?

I am not a perfect husband or father, and I am going to make mistakes that hurt my wife and kids. I don’t like it, but that is the reality. The fact that I, at times, fail my loved ones does not give me the right to stop trying to be a good husband or father. Through my failures, I am learning how to respond rightly by humbling myself before them and asking for their forgiveness.

If we quit every time we fail, how will we learn to succeed? If Nolan Ryan had quit when he lost his first baseball game as a starting pitcher he never would have achieved 7 career no-hitters. If Michael Jordan had quit after his first losing season, he would not have been on so many championship teams. If Thomas Edison had given up after 10,000 failures then we might not have the light bulb.

Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife. David committed adultery and had someone killed. Saul was a persecutor of Christians. But all of these men were restored by God and used in amazing ways. Just because we fail does not mean that we cannot be covered by the grace of God.

I have failed repeatedly, but I have been made a success because of the blood of Jesus. He bore all of my sin, my shame and my failure upon Himself on the cross, so that I can walk freely in pursuit of Him, unashamed and without fear.

Since we know that we are going to fail, how then can we fight to overcome the fear of failure? 

1.      Remember the gospelIf we have trusted in Christ, then all of our failures have been paid for in full at the cross and we have the promise of His Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts through faith, enabling us to live in a way that brings glory to God. This truth fuels our pursuit of the glory of God in our lives.

2.      Involve the local church – We need the local church to help us in our fight against fear. We need godly believers to walk with us, fast with us and pray for us. We need biblical community to encourage us to be strong and courageous and to hold us accountable. 

3.      Rest in Jesus – He wants us to come to Him with our fears. Psalm 34:4 says: “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” As we seek Jesus daily, we will grow in trust of His care for us. We will experience His perfect love that casts out all of our fear. His grace will strengthen and renew us daily. His Spirit will lead us and enable us to glorify God everywhere we go.