Are We Asking Ourselves the Hardest Questions? Broad Road to Narrow, Do We Know How to Move Past all of our “Epic” Failures? Hebrews 4:15-16

Hebrews 4:15-16Amplified Bible

15 For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin. 16 Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment].

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

“FAILURE IS NEVER AN OPTION!”

How often have we heard that line from our parents, our teachers, our coaches?

It is one of those infamous statements which serves to drive us, our competitive natures in life: “to succeed is everything, failure will never learn you anything.”

To fail is to fall short, to be perceived as weak, to break down, to fall, to not strive for “being good enough”, to not reach your purpose, to lack success.

No wonder we are so afraid of anything which minimally connects us to failure!

When it comes to failure, we must decide whose rules we are playing by.

Would you and I rather be a success in business and a failure as a parent, or vice versa or would I/we rather be successful by the world’s standards or by God’s?

Now is the time to decide what definitions of success and failure you will live by.

Hebrews 4:15-16The Message

The High Priest Who Cried Out in Pain

14-16 Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.

Believe it or Not ….

Contrary to popular belief, counter-cultural to the maximum ….

Failure is the most important step to reaching success, but it can still feel like it’s crushing your soul.

To make failure your friend and not your enemy, you must overcome it.

Here are some strategies for moving on after a tough break….

Identify: What is Failure

Failure is defined as a lack of success, but its true definition is really up to you.

Small things can be failures.

Maybe you blew an easy task today at work, or forgot to grab something important when you left home for work in a hurry or when at the store.

We all make mistakes, and the mistakes we make that have some weight to them — big or small — the weight of them make us feel like we’ve failed.

Normally, we reserve the word failure for the bigger things.

The times when we’ve let others down, and, more importantly, ourselves.

Trying our hardest, every ounce of effort, our maximum best to do something important and then failing is when it really stings, and shakes your confidence.

Sometimes failure can leave a huge and visible scar — but it doesn’t have to.

Even our successes can be interpreted as “epic” failures ….

In the National Football League, the competition for the worst record and the right to draft the “#1” player out of the College ranks is highly competitive.

Our desire to win never really goes away despite all the epic failures and losses.

This season 2022, two teams were vying for that “#1” game changing player.

Houston Texans and the Chicago Bears.

All Houston had to do was fail to win their final game of the season – and the #1 pick of the 2023 College draft was theirs: the opportunity to change everything.

Except their competitive nature that Sunday lead to a come from behind victory.

The end result, however, was they had a 1/2 game better record than the Bears.

The end result of their hard fought success was their failure to achieve being the number one failure for the 2022 regular season – and the first 2023 draft pick!

Judging a Good Failure or Bad Success will have to wait for time to pass us by.

And how the two teams work and coach and mentor their ways through them.

Succeed or Fail, Feel What You Need to Feel … It is Okay with God!

Failure can take a hefty emotional toll, and that’s okay with God.

What’s important is getting the negative feelings you have out of your system so you can regroup and tackle what’s next.

Don’t keep how you feel trapped inside of you like a shaken up soda.

Bottling your emotions can lead to two things:

  • An emotional outburst: Eventually the pressure will build and it will be too much for you to contain. In a moment of weakness, everything you’ve kept inside could explode and set you back even further. This not only affects your mental state, but it can affect your relationships too. When you have an outburst, the people you care about often end up in the crossfire.
  • Creeping negativity: If you only loosen the cap, the negativity will slowly and persistently enter your mind. You need to openly confront the mistakes you made and give yourself the chance to feel it all. Otherwise, anxiety will start to linger in the back of your mind and the soft hiss of failure will continue. TBT, Constant anxiety is incredibly unhealthy and can lead to even more problems.

So, how do you let it all out?

There are a few ways to get the bad,

and — most importantly — retain the knowledge you gained:

  • Set aside some time: It’s ok to feel like you’ve hit rock bottom. Completely ignoring what happened isn’t helpful, so set aside a specific amount of time to wallow as much as you want. Take some time to be angry, upset and frustrated so you can get it all out. If it’s something small, all you may need is an hour to pace around or cry in a pillow. For something larger, give yourself a full 24 hours to let it all out and wake up the next day with a clean slate. If you need more than a day, that’s OK, but make sure it’s an amount of time set by you and that you stick to it. You get that time to be as mopey as you want, but when it’s over, move on.
  • Talk about it: Talk to somebody you know about how you’re feeling. It’s well known that just talking about something can make you feel better. Take a load off and express yourself. Chances are whoever you talk to will try to make you feel better, but even if they do not, saying and processing how you feel out loud puts that information out somewhere besides taking up residence in your brain.
  • Don’t let it become a part of your identity: Failure is something that happens, not something you are. Just because you haven’t found a successful way to do something doesn’t mean you are a failure at that thing. Be careful not to blur the lines between making mistakes and being that someone who only makes mistakes. Our actions may define us, but our failures do not. The actions you take to move past failure and reach success will define you in the end.

Failure, left unaddressed can leave an open wound and it’s unwise to ignore it.

Without acknowledging it, wounds will continue to hurt, take longer to heal.

Look at the Failure of Others

Don’t think for a second that you’re the only person on the planet to nose dive.

Often we look at other’s success, assume they have everything together when the reality is that they assuredly encounter failure just as much as anyone else.

Some are better at hiding it than others, but failure is universal.

Before you start bashing yourself for not hitting the mark, explore the world of failure and see how vast it truly is.

What successful person do you look up to?

Take a look at the failures they have encountered in their lives and work.

Read biographies, blogs, and listen to witness talks, testimonies and speeches.

Successful people talk about failure just as much as they talk about success, and it is because they respect how important it is to embrace it.

Even the greatest people in our world have fallen, and fallen hard at one point or another –

Ask yourself, “What if these people had let their failure shut them down?”

  1. Basketball Hall of Famer, Michael Jordan, was cut from his high school team.
  2. Walt Disney was fired from his job at a newspaper early in his career–they said he lacked imagination.
  3. Steven Spielberg was rejected from film school three times.
  4. John Grisham’s first book, “A Time to Kill”, was rejected twenty-eight times.
  5. Albert Einstein had the label “mentally slow” put on his permanent school record.
  6. Henry Ford’s first two automobile companies failed.
  7. Oprah Winfrey was fired from an early job as a television news anchor.
  8. Jerry Seinfeld was booed off stage in his first stand-up comedy appearance.
  9. Sir James Dyson suffered through 5,126 failed prototypes before he landed on the first working Dyson vacuum.
  10. Elvis Presley was fired from the Grand Ole Opry and was told to go back to truck driving.
  11. Colonel Harland Sanders of KFC fame was rejected over 1000 times before finding a franchise partner.

You will Fail, I will Fail and Your friends and family will fail too.

We will all inevitably fail at something ….

Think about failures they have encountered, remember that you are not alone.

It is never to point and laugh, but to reveal to yourself that failure is ok.

You are human, I am human …. just like everybody else.

Feel better?

You should.

We have all been there.

It’s all in our frame of reference and determination to keep moving forward, to move off of the broad road to destruction to the narrow road leading to Life that is lived in the presence of God, the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

It is choosing to redefine our frame of reference which is always in our control.

SPEAKING OF GOD THE FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT ….

Changing our Frame of Reference, our Conceptualizations about failure ….

According to today’s devotional Bible text in Hebrews chapter 4:15-16, there is Someone who does understand – infinitely more than we do: Our Savior Jesus.

He came to earth to live our lives from beginning to end.

Came down, Born as a human being who dealt with all kinds of struggles and challenges just as we do in life, he identified with us—and much more, because he also gave his life so that we can have new life and be reconciled with God.

As Hebrews assures us, we have a high priest who can feel what we feel.

As The Message puts it,

“We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin.”

When no one else understands or knows how we feel, the Lord Jesus knows.

If you feel alone and misunderstood, isolated by failure, by your failures, come and talk to him – He 100% knows how you feel, what you have gone through.

Have I mentioned that failure is a good thing?

Re-Read and ponder carefully the Beatitudes …. Matthew 5:1-16 (Amplified)

Pay careful attention and consideration to what is said between the [_____]

The Sermon on the Mount; The Beatitudes

When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and when He was seated, His [a]disciples came to Him. Then He began to teach them, saying,

“Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor in spirit [those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].

“Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are those who mourn [over their sins and repent], for they will be comforted [when the burden of sin is lifted].

“Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect] are the [b] gentle [the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, the self-controlled], for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied.

“Blessed [content, sheltered by God’s promises] are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

“Blessed [anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature] are the pure in heart [those with integrity, moral courage, and godly character], for they will see God.

“Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God.

10 “Blessed [comforted by inner peace and God’s love] are those who are persecuted for [c]doing that which is morally right, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].

11 “Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your association with] Me. 12 Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward in heaven is great [absolutely inexhaustible]; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Disciples and the World

13 “You are the [d]salt of the earth; but if the salt has [e]lost its taste (purpose), how can it be made salty? It is no longer good for anything, but to be thrown out and walked on by people [when the walkways are wet and slippery].

14 “You are the light of [Christ to] the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.

It can be hard to reframe your thinking to that “Beatitude way”, but changing your definition and worldly vs. heavenly perception of failure can help us cope.

Failure is God’s Gift to us, a gifted chance of learning and growing opportunity, spiritual immaturity to spiritual maturity in God, that is necessary for growth.

John 21:15-19The Message

Do You Love Me?

15 After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 He then asked a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”

Jesus said, “Shepherd my sheep.”

17-19 Then he said it a third time: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, “Do you love me?” so he answered, “Master, you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. I’m telling you the very truth now: When you were young you dressed yourself and went wherever you wished, but when you get old you’ll have to stretch out your hands while someone else dresses you and takes you where you don’t want to go.” He said this to hint at the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And then he commanded, “Follow me.”

Peter knew he had failed Jesus.

No one had to tell him.

But Jesus used that failure three times to help Peter focus on Him and grow.

How can Jesus use failure for our spiritual growth?

Failure is not fatal in the eyes of Jesus.

Failure teaches us that we need a Savior.

Peter heard the word “love” from the lips of Jesus again, again and again.

Jesus was not testing him but reaffirming his love for Peter by asking him to see his life lived out far beyond the depths of his failures, reaffirm his love for Jesus.

Peter also learned that Jesus had not given up on him.

Jesus came directly to him and called him to lead again.

Jesus gifted Peter a singularly unique opportunity to lead by dying to himself –

Jesus even predicted in his death, Peter would quite successfully glorify God.

Peter had wandered, so Jesus had to get him back on track.

As Lord and Savior, failures or successes, He calls the shots in our lives.

Failure can bring us back to the Lord, who by His grace and mercy finds us “out fishing naked with the boys” and gives us another opportunity to follow him.

Every mistake is a learning opportunity, and after we have moved past our emotions, it’s important to revisit your mistakes with a new perspective.

Look at what we did that went wrong, but also look at what we did that was right, and what we can do better next time – failure is rarely so black and white.

Come to him boldly, with confidence, and tell him exactly how you feel. And when you do, you will “receive mercy and find grace” in your time of need.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Psalm 16The Message

16 1-2 Keep me safe, O God,
    I’ve run for dear life to you.
I say to God, “Be my Lord!”
    Without you, nothing makes sense.

And these God-chosen lives all around—
    what splendid friends they make!

Don’t just go shopping for a god.
    Gods are not for sale.
I swear I’ll never treat god-names
    like brand-names.

5-6 My choice is you, God, first and only.
    And now I find I’m your choice!
You set me up with a house and yard.
    And then you made me your heir!

7-8 The wise counsel God gives when I’m awake
    is confirmed by my sleeping heart.
Day and night I’ll stick with God;
    I’ve got a good thing going and I’m not letting go.

9-10 I’m happy from the inside out,
    and from the outside in, I’m firmly formed.
You canceled my ticket to hell—
    that’s not my destination!

11 Now you’ve got my feet on the life path,
    all radiant from the shining of your face.
Ever since you took my hand,
    I’m on the right way.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

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