by Rick Warren — November 17, 2023
From How God Turns Setbacks into Comebacks
“A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful.”
Proverbs 28:13 (TLB)
We usually think of failure as negative. But wise people know how to take advantage of failure. They learn from it. They use it as an education.
One of your purposes in life is to become more like Jesus Christ. And one of the primary tools that God uses in your life to make you what he wants you to be is failure.
How can failure be good?
1. God uses failure to educate us. Mistakes are simply learning experiences. And some lessons can only be learned through failure. The Bible says, “A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful” (Proverbs 28:13 TLB).
If you’re not making any mistakes, then you’re not learning. If you’re not taking any risks, then you’re not growing. You have to let go of your fear of failure, because it’s keeping you from the kind of spiritual growth God planned for you. The freedom from the fear of failure is the freedom to grow.
2. God uses failure to motivate us. “Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways” (Proverbs 20:30 GNT). Often we change when we feel the heat, not when we see the light. If you’re afraid of failure, then you’re going to get stuck! When you fail, God may be trying to get your attention to move you in a new direction.
3. God uses failure to build our character. “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character” (Romans 5:3-4 TLB).
Failure has a way of softening our hearts. It helps us grow up and be mature. It makes us sensitive to others. It makes us less judgmental and helps us be a little more sympathetic to people around us who are hurting.
Failure doesn’t automatically grow your character. Sometimes it just makes people bitter. Failure only builds your character when you look at it with the right perspective, respond to it correctly, and learn from it.