Devotions

When Failure Wants to Define Me

June 1, 2020
“The LORD of Heaven’s Armies has spoken — who can change his plans? When his hand is raised, who can stop him?” Isaiah 14:27 (NLT)
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Failure is a word almost no one wants to be associated with.

Let’s be honest — many of us still cringe at the letter F because we have flashbacks of how it looked on the top right-hand corner of a school assignment we did years ago. The red ink just made it worse, as if that F were shouting: “You’re stupid! You’re a failure!”

Whether it comes with the memory of an algebra II midterm (Why oh why did they have to put letters with numbers?), a job interview, bankruptcy, a pregnancy test or a divorce, the weight of failure can be heavy.

Because no matter whether the failure was a sin or not, and no matter whether we had much control over our success or not, the pain of failure is hard to overcome. The aftermath might take years to clean up. Oh, listen, friend: Failure does not disqualify us from our potential. We all fail, but we are not failures, even when the enemy convinces us to define ourselves by that word.

What or who defines you?

Take a minute, or longer if you need to, to answer that. The quick Sunday School answer is God defines us. And here are some bits of biblical descriptions that are true about ourselves:

  • Fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
  • A new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
  • Accepted (Romans 8:1).
  • Forgiven (1 John 1:9).
  • Holy and dearly loved (Colossians 3:12).

There’s more we can add to the list, but these verses may or may not make you feel better. If you’re dealing with the fallout from failure, those words are probably not making their way through your dark mood yet.

Women following Christ are supposed to allow God’s truth to define who they are. But do we? On good days, yes. When the sky is blue and the clouds are shaped like carousel ponies, when our boss sings our praises at the weekly staff meeting, when we clean our house from top to bottom in one day, when the laundry basket is finally empty, and when dinner — all four courses — is ready for our people at 6 p.m. on the dot. Yes, that’s when we believe God’s definition of who we are. (I’m kidding, of course!)

But what about all the other days — the days when none of that happens? Who “defines” us then?

Parents. Past. Unruly children. Finances. Friends. Social media. Your boss. The crotchety coworker. An abusive partner. Education. Possessions. Property. Success … or failure.

Our failure is never more powerful than our God. Let this truth define you.

God is more than capable of taking what we messed up, turning it upside down, twisting it sideways and making it work for our good and His ultimate glory. But if we don’t believe what He says, we might completely miss out on seeing Him work in and through us. Not even my failure, no matter how great, can redirect God’s plan for me.

 “The LORD of Heaven’s Armies has spoken — who can change his plans? When his hand is raised, who can stop him?” (Isaiah 14:27)

When the winds of failure cause you to drift, fan the fire of your faith and stand firmly on the truth. We don’t have the power to change His plans. But for those who follow Christ, nothing you have done or will do can keep you from being in the presence of God. Nothing you have done or will do will erase the potential God sees in you.

You are a worthwhile possibility!

Lord, I’ve allowed my failures to compromise Your best for me. You love me and have only the greatest plans for me. I want to be unchained from the shackles of failure so I can live free in Your love for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY

Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (NLT)

Psalm 86:15, “But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” (NLT)

RELATED RESOURCES

Fears. Faults. Failures. Frailties. Every woman at some point wonders, Do I have to overcome all my weaknesses before God can use me? The answer is no. He can use you right now. You have not missed out; there is still potential in the season you are in. Learn more as we study Hidden Potential by Wendy Pope. Our next Online Bible Study begins June 22! Click here to register for free.

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CONNECT

How’d you like a copy of the next OBS book? Just connect with Wendy over on her website, and enter to win a copy of Hidden Potential: Revealing What God Can Do Through You or a Worthwhile Possibility sterling silver necklace.

REFLECT AND RESPOND

Spend some time today looking up the following verses defining who you are. Write these truths on a piece of paper, and keep it close to you:

I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
I am a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I am accepted. (Romans 8:1)
I am forgiven. (1 John 1:9)
I am holy and dearly loved. (Colossians 3:12)

Let us know in the comments below which truth(s) you are holding close.

© 2020 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks David C Cook for their support of P31 Online Bible Studies and Encouragement for Today devotions.

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