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I know everyone fails at some time but it doesn’t make any of us feel better when it happens. No one wants to mess up because it’s painful, evokes feelings of disappointment, may have negative effects, doesn’t seem to be positive and recovery takes a lot of effort. No one sets out to fail but it happens.

One major example is recorded in Joshua chapter 7 in the Old Testament. Joshua was a great leader of Israel and if you read his story, you will discover a massive failure that affected a whole lot of people adversely. The Israelites were attempting to besiege a city called ‘Ai’ with the purpose of expanding their kingdom because they miscalculated some important details and didn’t have a clear understanding of the big picture.

His example should warn us all. Whether it is an individual, corporate business or the leadership of a nation; failure a-waits those who do not thoroughly investigate all the facts and get to the cause.

There are two responses to failure that can help greatly. Joshua did both and was able to move beyond his failure. Some people move on in life after a defeat but they often don’t move beyond the collapse to recover totally.

1. Resilient people seek to discover the root problem and refuse to deal only with the fruit. They are committed to cutting down the tree and not just trim the branches. Too often we deal only with the symptoms of the failure and not the source.

A life of secrecy and sin surely lead the list but other things contribute to failure as well. When you put in minimum effort and expect maximum results failure is nearby. If you act upon bad advice, the results can be devastating. The ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ syndrome is responsible for many failures and defeat happens frequently if we don’t make a commitment and demonstrate perseverance. Whatever the root reason is, it’s worth finding. It may be obscure, hazy or concealed but you can’t fix something unless you know why something is broken?

2. Don’t react to failure but respond.

Emotions are wonderful but if you allow them to lead your decision-making process amid failure you will react improperly rather than respond correctly.

Here’s a few ‘Do’s and Don’t’ when you fail.

Don’t be quick to look outside before you have taken a long look inside. This will lead to shifting the responsibility onto someone else. Others may have contributed to your debacle but that doesn’t make them responsible for what you do. Do accept full responsibility for your own life and the decisions you make.

Don’t ignore the facts and fail to recognize the ‘Pink Elephant’ in the room. Do focus fully on the problem and seek an honest evaluation.

Don’t quit – take another swing. Someone said: “Failure doesn’t have to be final.”

Don’t blame God but pray to Him. The first thing Joshua did when failure happened was to call out to the One who could help. Some people will look down on you when failure happens and possibly reject you but Jesus will ALWAYS work with you if you come to Him. There’s something good that can come out of failure if we call on God.

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Pastor Tim Howard is a Staff Pastor at Koinonia Church. Any comments can be sent to: tim@kcfchurch.org

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