It’s true —if you’re alive on planet earth, you will experience failure in your lifetime. It’s unavoidable. In fact, we all face some form of failure every day. Things such as saying things we wished we’d not said; doing things we wish we hadn’t done; or not saying or doing that which we wish we’d said or done. I think we all can easily relate to when the apostle Paul said:
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. (Romans 7:15 ESV)
We are all sinners who live in a fallen world, and we must come to grips with the reality that failure is a part of everyone’s life.
When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin… (1 Kings 8:46 NIV)
Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. (Ecclesiastes 7:20 ESV)
…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… (Romans 3:23 ESV)
God doesn’t want us to live our lives fearing failure.Yes, He knows that we all will fail, and He has given us a prescription for how to respond when we do. He also knows that even our failures can be used as a blessing in our life because they can produce something of great value and a necessity for us to have if we wish to have a relationship with Him: humility.
Our failures remind us that we aren’t perfect and never will be, and often cause us to cry out to God in humility for help from the Only One Who is perfect, the One Who cannot and will not fail us. God’s heart is drawn to those who humble themselves, and our failures can be the very instrument of His grace to cause us to walk in humility rather than in pride.
God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble…. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:6;10 ESV)
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12 ESV)
As we humble ourselves before the Lord and confess our failures to Him, we can be assured from His Word that He will be faithful to forgive us and cleanse us from our sin. In other words, we do not need to fear failure because it is never permanent and does not define us! IF we are willing to confess our failure and turn in repentance to God, He will wipe the slate clean!
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 ESV)
As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our wrongdoings from us. (Psalm 103:12 NAS)
We will find that God is ‘rich in mercy’, full of compassion and always willing to forgive us when we admit to our failures and turn to Him for strength. (Ephesians 2:4; 1:7; Psalm 86:15; 103:8) So we do not need to fear failure because God Who knows in advance that we will fail, Who loved us even while we were sinners, is always ready to forgive us when we do what we inevitably will do, which is fail.
It requires humility to come to the Lord and confess our failures and sin, and it also requires great humility for us to confess our failures to others. In our pride we want others to think that we are better than we really are, or we may not trust that they will forgive us, or think they will tell others about our failures if we make them known to them. Our fear of others knowing our failures is always rooted in our pride, and pride must go if we wish to be in close relationship with God, and also if we desire close relationships with others.
When we are willing to admit our failures to others, we also open up the door for a more authentic, richer relationship with them. As we humble ourselves before others in confession of our failures, it likely will lead to their being released from feeling that they have to project a ‘perfect persona’ and they too will feel free to come clean and admit to their own failings. When you admit your failures to one another, you will be set free to experience healing and wholeness. You will be set free to share your struggles and come alongside one another to encourage each other to walk in the grace and truth found in Christ, and found in relationships built upon a love for Christ. (Ephesians 4:32) Think of the people you know who have been willing to admit their sin and failures to you; contrast that with the people you know who have never been willing to humble themselves and admit to failure. With whom do you have the closer relationship? Relationships where people feel ‘free to fail’ are so much deeper than the ones where people are too afraid to admit to failure due to their fear of being judged.God has created us to have relationships with one another that reflect His forgiving, compassionate, loving heart to a world that is longing for authenticity and genuine love.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. (James 5:16a ESV)
Other Reasons We Don’t Need to Fear Failure
As stated earlier, failure is a universal reality that every person who’s ever been born will face, and that’s true even for the righteous. The question isn’t whether we will fail, it’s how will we respond when we do. Do we allow our failure to define us? To cause us to despair and quit? Or do we use it as an opportunity to understand our human frailty, our need to rely upon God in all things and for everything, and to propel us to trust in Him and His will and His ways? Will we choose to focus on our failure, or set our sights on the One Who can deliver us out of even what we consider to be the greatest of failures?
For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity. (Proverbs 24:16 ESV).
One of the great joys of being a child of God is knowing that when we do fall down, He is with us, able to pick us up, and He can put us back on a solid foundation.
“He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. Psalm 40:2-3 ESV
When God delivers us out of our failures, our response will be to praise Him for His goodness and faithfulness to us! Rather than being repelled by us when we fall down, like a loving father, God is drawn to us and longs to help us in our need.
As the Psalmist indicates, when others witness God’s merciful response to our failures and our praise of Him, they will want to know Him and put their trust in Him too.
I remember one rainy day when I was dashing into the post office to mail a package.I stumbled on the curb, fell instantly, tearing my pants and skinning my knees. I wasn’t happy that my favorite jeans were ripped and blood was streaming down my leg, but mostly, I was overcome with humiliation by the fact that a nearby police officer witnessed the fall and used his blowhorn to ask me if I was all right. Although embarrassed for falling, that feeling was quickly overshadowed by my gratitude for the concern and kindness expressed by the police officer who reached out to make sure that I was OK, offering to help me get up. I’m certain that any other onlookers were also aware of the police officer’s considerate response and left with a good feeling about him and police officers in general.
How much greater than the police officer’s response to my fall is God’s loving reaction to us when we fall down, and His desire–and ability– to pick us up! And just like how my embarrassment for falling was quickly overtaken by my gratitude to the police officer for his kindness, how much greater is the focus upon the kindness of God Who delivers us from our failure than it is upon our failure itself. As we declare God’s goodness for His putting us back on our feet after our falls, others will be drawn to Him, a God of infinite kindness!
“The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down” (Psalm 145:14 ESV).
Bible Verses About How He is with Us
When you fail, you never need to be concerned that you are alone and on your own. No matter where you go, whether to the top of the mountains or down to the pits of despair, God will go before you and be with you through it all.
“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV).
Even more reassuring, God holds the hands of His children–those who have placed their faith in Him- so we can be confident that when we fall, it won’t be a mortal wound but one from which we can recover. Therefore, we have no need to fear failure.
The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. (Psalm 37:23-34 ESV).
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 ESV).
The Lord is with us; we have no need to fear. He will give us the strength to walk through our trials, and when we do stumble, He will be there with us. He will lovingly uphold us.
Do Not Dwell on Your Failings
One of the obstacles that keeps us from moving forward with God is focusing upon our past failures. We should seek to learn from our past mistakes, but not to dwell upon them to the point where we are stymied by them. When we are consumed by thoughts of our past failures, it reveals our pride and our wrongful thinking that we should’ve been and are able to be ‘perfect’. Yes, we have been called to be ‘holy as God is holy’ (Lev. 11:44; 1 Pet. 1:16), but that doesn’t mean that we can be perfect like He is. It means to be separated from the sinful ways of the world, and when we do sin and fall down, to get back up and continue on the path toward the goal God has set before us.
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus… (Philippians 3:13-14 ESV).
Do not dwell on your past; instead choose to follow your Good Shepherd Who will lead lead You in the ‘paths of righteousness’ where goodness and mercy will follow you and you will dwell forever with Him, where there is no more fear, no more failures, just fullness of joy. (Psalm 23; Psalm 16:11) Learn more about True View Ministries and how you can have a relationship with Jesus.
Bible Verses on Fear of Failure
What do you think about these Bible verses on the fear of failure? Comment below and share your thoughts with us!