5 Unexpected Spiritual Benefits of Failure by Jessica Galán
A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a woman struggling with the consequences of wrong choices. I reminded her that our God is always willing to grace us with forgiveness when we’ve made mistakes. And while I don’t know the particulars of what she failed to do or not do, I know this—Christ died for our mistakes: past, present, and future.
Can God use our mishaps or shortcomings for the better? Let’s consider the following benefits of failure.
1. We Learn What Real Growth Looks and Feels Like
Taking ownership of our mistakes leads to real progress. In this life we learn to perfect ourselves, our actions and reactions. No longer do we want to repeat mistakes, which have robbed us of peace.
“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 3:12).
2. We Are Disciplined for Right Living
Believers are saved sinners. We’re seen through the lens of grace. But this doesn’t mean we have the license to act immorally. Every action has consequences and God sometimes has to hold back our blessings because we haven’t matured enough. Godly discipline directs us to the right road.
It was King David who failed God by pursuing the wife of another man—Bathsheba. Adultery and murder soon followed. God sent the prophet Nathan to convict David of his intentional sin, “Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife,” (II Samuel 12:9). David failed God, but in the end, he turned from wickedness and embraced righteous living.
King David’s famous repentance prayer is found in Psalm 51, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it,” (Hebrews 12:13).
3. Messing Up Gets Us Closer to God
To repent of our wrongdoing is to commune with the Holy Spirit. We give God our weakness, our struggles, our failures. Forgiveness allows us to draw close to the Father. Just as children climb atop their parent’s laps and ask for forgiveness, we can tell God we’re really sorry, too.
Sometimes it takes one awful mistake to lead to one awesome act of forgiveness.
How blessed are we?! Never have I experienced more joy then when I came clean and fessed up to bad choices, which grieved the Holy Spirit living within me.
“Godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death,” (II Corinthians 7:10).
4. We Develop Empathy for Others
It’s easy to condemn someone’s wrong behavior; we assume they should know better, right? I’ve thrown a few stones of my own, have you? I didn’t know what real empathy looked like until I had fallen into a similar mishap.
Choosing to cover our friends and loved ones in compassion and prayer while they struggle to overcome their own mistakes, is choosing mercy and forgiveness. Thankfully, that’s the foundation of our gospel.
“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her, (John 8:7, ESV).”
5. We Grow in Spiritual Maturity
Setbacks will occur during our spiritual formation, but we can chose to be refined. We can choose redemption daily. We learn to produce spiritual fruit. In our most broken or harrowing moments, we can grab the redeeming hand of God. In the valley of my most awful moments, God’s mercy pursued me. Rescue from mistakes encompasses His nature. No error is irredeemable, friend.
“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear,” (Isaiah 59:1, NIV).
Failing God can lead us to real heart change as long as we’re willing to surrender our flaws to our merciful Savior.
Consider this beautiful quote—“Mistakes have the power to turn you into something better than you were before.”
We can all learn through failing. Failure allows us to reflect on what we can do better the next time around.
Failure compels us to try again. And as strange as it sounds, failure can actually improve our spiritual lives. May we all be challenged this new year to become better: for ourselves, our loved ones, and more importantly—our God.
Article originally published on iBelieve.com, used with permission.