A Journal for Bible Teachers

Marks of Maturity: Part 3 – Failure & Success

Marks of Maturity: Part 3 – Failure & Success

Dealing with Failure
Are you ready to quit when you fail? God Himself looked like a failure when He was upon the cross. Failure is necessary in order to experience the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. (Philippians 3:10). In times of failure we need that violence of spirit mentioned in Matthew 11:12, that Holy Ghost aggressiveness and determination that refuses to give up.

Have you ever felt like God allowed you to make a mistake or make a fool out of yourself, and then you found yourself saying; “If that’s the way it is, I quit! Here I thought the Lord revealed something to me, and I carefully enquired of Him to make sure I was right. I asked God for confirmations too, and I felt he gave me many. I was honest and transparent before Him. And then I found out that the whole thing was wrong. If that’s the way it is, I quit!” God did not let you down. Ask God for much grace to conquer feelings of being let down by God.

In the economy of God, there are time when it is better for us to fail than to succeed. Mellowness and mercy grow out of our acute failures if we respond the right way to them. Also hardness and criticism of others is removed! Pride and attitudes of infallibility are great temptations to those who have special spiritual gifts. Failure helps to deal a death-blow to pride and feelings of infallibility.

Peter failed! He cursed and swore, and denied the Lord. It was a bitter failure for him. By his own pride and boasting he had set himself up for an unnecessary temptation. His daring and rash statement, “Though all men forsake you, I will never”, invited Satan to put him to the test. It was like waving a red flag to a bull. (Satan is allowed to test us when we make cocky declarations.) Fear struck Peter’s heart. He had opened himself to temptation. The failure was so crushing to Peter’s ego that he was about to quit the ministry. Jesus graciously lifted him from the pit of despair.

We need the ability to bounce back from failure! Moses did, and his greatness is shown in his ability to handle failure in a mature manner. Moses did not fold up when he failed! Failure did not make him sink into the depths of depression. We read of his failure in Numbers 20:7-12. On this occasion Moses was instructed by God to speak to the Rock, but in his frustration for the moment, he struck the Rock. (Psalm 106:32-33) Moses had lost control!

Moses had just broken an eternal type of the crucifixion. That Rock he had just struck for the second time, represented Christ.(1 Corinthians 10:4). Striking the Rock the first time represented Christ the Rock being smitten of God (on the cross), and the water that flowed out represented His life flowing out to the thirsty souls of men everywhere. Striking the Rock a second time meant that Christ needed to die twice. The broken type was so serious to God that He restricted Moses from going into the Promised Land, and the whole nation knew why! This was very difficult for Moses because he was only a few steps from going into the land after being in the wilderness for forty years.

Moses recounts the story in Deuteronomy 3:23-29. He appealed to the Lord to change his mind and let him go into the Promised Land. God replied, “No, Do not ask me again!” The reaction of Moses to this is found in Deuteronomy 4:1.

Can We Handle Success?
Paradoxical as it may seem, difficulties are easier to handle than blessing. Trouble makes man look to God for help and grace, but after being on the mountain-top for a while…look out! Pride creeps in! (Deuteronomy 17:20,2 Corinthians 12:6-10).

Great blessing, unusual gifts and talents, and success tempts man to think that he in himself is extraordinary or favored of God above all others. (Prosperity can make us forget God. – Deuteronomy 6:10-13,8:7-20). Left to himself man becomes haughty almost overnight, and no one is exempt from this. Great success prompts a preacher to boast that his church or work is the fastest growing in the country. When a man lowers himself to remarks such as these, we know that he has drifted away from the real goal and that is to glorify God, to stay out of the picture, and to walk humbly with the Lord.

May God help us to never lose sight of the goal. Young converts especially susceptible to pride. This is why God is slow to give us our inheritances. (Proverb 20:21, 1 Timothy 3:6). God waits until we are mature.(1 Peter 5:6). In the Book of Acts, every time a man did a miracle, he got beaten up soon after. Pain is necessary for power. Without pain, we’ll become haughty when God uses us.


About the Author

Dr. Paul G. Caram is an author and international lecturer on the subject of Christian growth. The powerful truths presented in his seminars have transformed hearts and helped many to find fresh direction and new meaning in their lives. Dr. Paul Caram offers many valuable keys that help the believer gain freedom from the bondages of habits and personal struggles. He shows the believer how to find peace in his own heart first, which leads to unity with others.

A graduate of Elim Bible Institute in New York in 1969, and thirty years as a pastor and teacher, Dr. Paul Caram is the vice-chancellor of Zion Ministerial Institute in Waverly, New York, and vice president of Zion Ministerial Institute’s International Correspondence Course program. His books are in over 50 nations of the world in several languages. Dr. Paul Caram and his wife Betsy have pastored Zion Christian Assembly in Ulysses, Pa (United States). for eighteen years.

Dr. Paul Caram received a Diploma of Ministerial Training (Dip. Min.) from Elim Bible Institute. He also has received a Doctorate of Religion (Ph. D.) from Vision Christian Bible College.


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