Lesson 11

CHAPTER ELEVEN

FACING FAILURE

OBJECTIVES;

Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:

C Write the Key Verse from memory.

C Identify three basic causes for failure.

C Identify Biblical leaders who triumphed over failure.

C Identify Biblical leaders whose lives ended in failure.

C List Biblical guidelines for turning failure to success.

KEY VERSE;

A just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again. (Proverbs 24:16)

INTRODUCTION

This lesson is one of the most important ones in this course on "Biblical Management

Principles.” It deals with failure. God has perfect plans, but He works through imperfect leaders to accomplish His plans. Because you are imperfect, you must understand the reasons for failure and know what to do when you fail.

In this lesson you will learn the basic causes of failure. You will study examples of

leaders whose lives ended in failure and those who turned failure into success. You will also be given Biblical guidelines for facing failure and turning it to success.

WHAT CAUSES FAILURE?

There are three basic reasons for failure:

1. FAILURE IN RELATIONSHIP:

Many leaders fail because they have an improper relationship with God. They may not have developed the proper spiritual foundations listed in Hebrews 6 :1-3. When they try to build a work for God on a poor spiritual foundation, it collapses.

Some leaders get so busy doing "God’s work" that they neglect prayer, Bible study,

fasting, and seeking the Lord and His will. Others lose their first intense love of the Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of God and His Kingdom being the priority, cares and riches of the world, making money, or pleasing people begin to take first place in their lives.

King Uzziah is an example of a leader who failed because of his own relationship with God . King Uzziah started well. He sought the Lord (II Chronicles 26 :6-8). He did well in battles against Israel’s enemies (II Chronicles 2 6 :6 -8 ). But when King Uzziah became well known and prideful, he began to "act corruptly,” was unfaithful to God, and no
longer sought the Lord (II Chronicles 26:16).

To be a leader, you must have close fellowship with God. Many leaders who have failed
discover that their problem began with a failure in their own personal relationship with
God.

2. FAILURE BY COMMISSION:

"Failure by commission" means failure caused by your own sinful actions. Sins of

"commission" include every wrong action, word, attitude or motive. Such acts or sins of "commission" result in failure.

3. FAILURE BY OMISSION:

"Failure by omission" means failure caused by what you do not do. When you sin by "omission,” you fail to do what you should do. The Bible says:

For to him that knoweth to do right and doeth it not it is sin. (James 4:17)

Sins of "omission" are things the Word of God says you should do but which you fail to do. Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of His time for such "omissions.” He said …

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law,
judgment, mercy, and faith; these ought ye to have done, and not leave the other undone. (Matthew 23:23)

LEADERS WHO TRIUMPHED OVER THEIR FAILURES

The Bible contains many examples of great men who at some point in their lives failed as leaders:

Abraham: He lied about Sarah being his wife for fear he would be killed and his wife

taken from him. Yet he is called a man of faith and the "friend of God.”

Moses: In anger he struck the rock and called forth water instead of speaking to the rock
as God directed. Yet the Bible says there has never been another prophet as great as
Moses.

King David: He committed adultery with another man’s wife, then had the man killed to try to cover his sin . Yet he was a great king and is called "a man after God’s own heart.”

Jonah: He went the opposite direction when God called him to preach in Ninevah. Later he preached the greatest revival in history. The whole city repented.

Joshua: This man was a great military commander who assumed leadership of the nation of Israel after the death of Moses. One of the challenges God gave Joshua was to lead Israel to claim their promised land. But at one point Joshua was so discouraged that he longed to be back on the other side of Jordan in the wilderness. At another time he was deceived by the Gibeonites . Yet this man went on to conquer the land promised by God.

The Prophet Elijah: A wicked queen named Jezebel sent a messenger to the prophet Elijah informing him she was planning to kill him . Elijah…

…went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a
juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is
enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
(I Kings 19:4)

Here was the great man of God who had healed the sick, raised the dead, and controlled elements of nature in the name of the Lord. Now he was hiding, fearful, despondent, and requesting to die. Yet Elijah returned to demonstrate God’s power before the entire nation of Israel at Mt. Carmel.

Peter: This man denied Jesus, but later became a great leader in the early church.

The Apostle Paul: The Apostle Paul also faced failure. He wrote once that due to

experiences in Asia he was "pressed out of measure" and "despaired even of life" (II

Corinthians 1:8). He expressed times when he was troubled, perplexed, persecuted, and cast down (II Corinthians 4:8-ll). He said he had fears and troubles (II Corinthians 7: 5-6). But the Apostle Paul successfully spread the Gospel to the Gentiles, raising up great churches and leaders throughout the nations of the world.

LEADERS WHOSE FAILURES ENDED IN DEFEAT

The Bible also contains many examples of leaders whose lives ended in failure and

defeat:

Samson: Who was a great judge of Israel and had great physical strength given him from God. He began to deliver Israel from the Philistine enemy. Through involvement with a heathen woman, Samson was taken captive and died while yet a prisoner of the enemy.

Uzziah: He became a king when he was 16 years old and as long as he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, he prospered. Uzziah sinned by entering the temple and
performing duties which only the priests were permitted to do . God smote him with
leprosy and he died.

Saul: Saul was the first king of Israel, adored by the people, and a man upon whom the Spirit of God rested. Because of disobedience, Saul was rejected by God and another king was selected to complete his task. Saul’s life ended in failure, disgrace, and suicide.

Eli: He was originally a great priest in the house of the Lord . Because of disobedience, Eli and his sons died in disgrace.

Judas: Judas was a disciple of Jesus during His earthly ministry. He witnessed the great miracles of Jesus and heard His teachings. Yet he betrayed Jesus and ended his own life by suicide.

WHAT MADE THE DIFFERENCE?

Some of these leaders recovered from their failures and went on to be great men of God. Others never changed. Their lives ended in defeat. What made the difference?

To answer this question, let us examine in more detail the lives of two great leaders of the nation of Israel, the kings David and Saul. First, read the story of David’s failure in II Samuel chapters 11-12. Then read the story of Saul’s failure in I Samuel chapter 15.

In our human reasoning, David’s failure seems so much greater than that of Saul. Saul

simply brought back some oxen as spoil from battle when God had directed him not to do so. David committed adultery with another man’s wife. When it was discovered she was pregnant, he had her husband killed to try to cover the sin. Saul was rejected by God as king, yet David remained on the throne and was called "a man after God’s own heart.”

Why did one man’s life end in failure while the other went on to future successes? The

answer is one word: Repentance. When the prophet Samuel confronted Saul with his sin, Saul said …

…I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.

Then he said, I have sinned; yet honor me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I worship the Lord thy God. (I Samuel 15:24 and 30)

Saul was caught in his sin and he admitted it. He was sorry, but only for being caught . Being sorry for sin is not enough. That sorrow must lead to repentance:

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (II Corinthians 7:10)

Saul admitted he had failed, but he blamed his failure on other people. He wanted

Samuel to honor him before the leaders of the people so he would not be disgraced . He
wanted Samuel to worship God with him to show to the people he was still a spiritual
man.

Saul never confessed his sin to God , repented, and asked forgiveness. He refused to

accept personal responsibility for his actions. He offered God worship when God wanted repentance . Saul was more concerned about his reputation among the people than his
relationship to God . He saw the Kingdom not as God’s Kingdom , but as a way to build
his own empire .

Because of this, Samuel told Saul:

…The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbor of thine, that is better than thou. (I Samuel 15:28)

The kingdom was taken from Saul and given to David .

When the prophet Nathan confronted David about his sin , David immediately acknowledged:

I have sinned against the Lord. (II Samuel 12:13)

He did not try to blame others. He did not blame Bathsheba. He admitted his failure and humbly repented before God . David’s great prayer of repentance is recorded in Psalms

51. Read this entire Psalm in your Bible. David acknowledged his sin and asked forgiveness:

For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

Against thee, thee only have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight… Create in me a clean heart O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalms 51:3,4,10)

Then he said, I have sinned; yet honor me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I worship the Lord thy God. (I Samuel 15:24 and 30)

Saul was caught in his sin and he admitted it. He was sorry, but only for being caught . Being sorry for sin is not enough. That sorrow must lead to repentance:

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (II Corinthians 7:10)

Saul admitted he had failed, but he blamed his failure on other people. He wanted

Samuel to honor him before the leaders of the people so he would not be disgraced . He
wanted Samuel to worship God with him to show to the people he was still a spiritual
man.

Saul never confessed his sin to God , repented, and asked forgiveness. He refused to

accept personal responsibility for his actions. He offered God worship when God wanted repentance . Saul was more concerned about his reputation among the people than his
relationship to God . He saw the Kingdom not as God’s Kingdom , but as a way to build
his own empire .

Because of this, Samuel told Saul:

…The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbor of thine, that is better than thou. (I Samuel 15:28)

The kingdom was taken from Saul and given to David .

When the prophet Nathan confronted David about his sin , David immediately acknowledged:

I have sinned against the Lord. (II Samuel 12:13)

He did not try to blame others. He did not blame Bathsheba. He admitted his failure and humbly repented before God . David’s great prayer of repentance is recorded in Psalms

51. Read this entire Psalm in your Bible. David acknowledged his sin and asked forgiveness:

For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

Against thee, thee only have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight… Create in me a clean heart O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalms 51:3,4,10)

Then he said, I have sinned; yet honor me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I worship the Lord thy God. (I Samuel 15:24 and 30)

Saul was caught in his sin and he admitted it. He was sorry, but only for being caught . Being sorry for sin is not enough. That sorrow must lead to repentance:

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (II Corinthians 7:10)

Saul admitted he had failed, but he blamed his failure on other people. He wanted

Samuel to honor him before the leaders of the people so he would not be disgraced . He
wanted Samuel to worship God with him to show to the people he was still a spiritual
man.

Saul never confessed his sin to God , repented, and asked forgiveness. He refused to

accept personal responsibility for his actions. He offered God worship when God wanted repentance . Saul was more concerned about his reputation among the people than his
relationship to God . He saw the Kingdom not as God’s Kingdom , but as a way to build
his own empire .

Because of this, Samuel told Saul:

…The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbor of thine, that is better than thou. (I Samuel 15:28)

The kingdom was taken from Saul and given to David .

When the prophet Nathan confronted David about his sin , David immediately acknowledged:

I have sinned against the Lord. (II Samuel 12:13)

He did not try to blame others. He did not blame Bathsheba. He admitted his failure and humbly repented before God . David’s great prayer of repentance is recorded in Psalms

51. Read this entire Psalm in your Bible. David acknowledged his sin and asked forgiveness:

For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

Against thee, thee only have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight… Create in me a clean heart O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalms 51:3,4,10)

REPENTING:

After the cause of your failure is revealed , you must repent:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

Jonah’s great prayer of repentance is recorded in Jonah chapter 2. Jonah acknowledged his sin before God, repented , and asked forgiveness. When you fail, come before the Lord in repentance. Ask God to forgive you for your failure. Be sure to forgive yourself, too!

RETURNING:

Through prayer, the written Word of God , and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, God will reveal to you the point at which your failure began. You must then return to that point and reverse your direction .

In the case of Jonah, he realized his failure began when he went the opposite direction from Ninevah. He had to return to this point of failure and reverse his direction. True repentance involves a change in direction. When you return to a point of failure you go back to where you first sinned and correct your error. This is done by…

RESTORING:

In the case of Jonah, when he recognized his failure began by heading the opposite

direction from Ninevah, he reversed directions. He went towards Ninevah. He corrected his failure (Jonah 3:3). He did what he could to make things right. This is called
"restoring.”

Sometimes you can do nothing to correct your failure except repent. In the example of

David which we discussed, he could do nothing about his sin with Bathsheba after it was committed. The mistake was already made. The adultery was committed and her husband was dead. There was nothing he could do to correct it except repent.

But in situations where you can return to the point of failure and make restitution, you

must do so. You may have to apologize to someone. You may have to return something you have stolen or admit you told a lie. These are all examples of restoration .

You also need time to restore yourself and rebuild your spiritual strength after failure. You may need to temporarily step down from ministry responsibilities. You will
definitely need time alone with God.

Here are some ways to restore your spiritual strength:

-Study God’s Word.

-Spend time in prayer and fasting.

-Review the basic causes for failure (given in this lesson) so you will be able to avoid future failures . Ask God to reveal and help you correct any problem areas in your life.

-Review strategies of spiritual warfare to help you wage more effective warfare next time. (See the Harvestime International Institute course entitled "Spiritual Strategies: A Manual of Spiritual Warfare.”)

-Rest physically. Man is body, soul, and spirit. When your physical body is exhausted, Satan can take advantage and affect your soul and spirit and cause you to fail.

ON TO SUCCESS!

After you have taken these steps, put your failure behind you and go on to success. Jonah put his failure behind Him. The Lord spoke unto him a second time and said, "Arise, and go to Ninevah" (Jonah 3:1-2). This time he quickly obeyed. In Ninevah, Jonah led one of the greatest revivals in history . The whole city repented. By following the steps of
revealing, repenting, returning, and restoring, his failure was turned to success.

The Bible contains many stories of men like Jonah. These men failed but admitted their failure and asked forgiveness of God. When they did, God never failed to forgive and provide new direction . This is the Biblical pattern for turning failure into success.

God can do the same for you! He is not looking at your past failures. He is not looking at you as you are today. He is seeing the man or woman …the leader you can be if you only walk in obedience to Him .

LEARNING FROM FAILURE

Paul wrote:

For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life.

But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in the God which raiseth the dead;

Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver, in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us. (II Corinthians 1:8-10)

Paul explained that problems in Asia taught him an important lesson…"we should not trust in ourselves , but in God." This is a great lesson to learn from failure. You cannot trust in yourself. Your power, your authority, your success as a leader is assured only in Christ Jesus. Paul looked beyond the natural world to see the spiritual benefits of
problems, temptations, trials, and failures:

For which cause we faint not: but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things, which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which

are not seen are eternal. (II Corinthians 4:16-18)

Paul had learned that even though the outward man perished, the inward man was being

renewed. Instead of giving up, Paul learned from failure and went on to success. In II

Corinthians 1:1 0 he indicated that God…

"Delivered" (In the past)

"Doth deliver" (In the present)

"Will yet deliver" (In the future )

…us from all of our problems, trials , temptations , and failures. He said we were…

Troubled . .. .BUT NOT DISTRESSED.

Perplexed .. .BUT NOT IN DESPAIR .

Persecuted . ..BUT NOT FORSAKEN.

Cast down .. .BUT NOT DESTROYED!

(II Corinthians 4: 8-9)

In spite of all the perplexities, persecution, trouble, and despair, Paul was able to say in the closing days of his life:

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. (II Timothy 4:7)