How to be a successful failure...


Devotion: How to be a successful failure…

As anyone who has ever tried to learn something difficult knows, failure is unavoidable. Failure is part of everyone’s life. What is true for our physical life is also true for our spiritual life. We needn’t be troubled by this. There is a way to be a successful failure. 

Former figure skater Scott Hamilton won the National and World Championships in 1981 before winning a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics. Hamilton and his wife Tracie have four children, including two children adopted form Haiti. He's also a committed follower of Christ. While he was pursuing his success as a skater, he once said he dropped out of church involvement and started what he jokingly called "The Church of Scott." But through the love of his wife and other Christians, he came to a sincere faith in Christ.

Rooted in his faith, Hamilton had an interesting take on dealing with personal sin and failure. In a 2018 New York Times interview Hamilton said: "I calculated once how many times I fell during my skating career—41,600 times. But here's the funny thing: I got up 41,600 times. That's the muscle you have to build in your psyche—the one that reminds you to just get up.” [Juliet Macur, "Scott Hamilton Was Demoted as an Olympic Broadcaster. Don't Feel Sorry for Him." The New York Times (2-18-18)]

The key to being a successful failure is simple—get back up again. Proverbs 24:16 says, “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.” The difference between the righteous and the wicked is that when the righteous fall they get back up again.

We all will fail God. Paul tells us in Romans, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and don’t we know it’s true. God knows too, and so He gives us His grace. It’s not a license to sin, but the freedom to learn how to do a difficult thing—to walk like Jesus. And when we fall and when we fail, God promises us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.“ (1 John 1:9)

So, what do we do when we fail? We confess our failure to God who will forgive and who will cleanse us. Then we get back up again. That is how to be a successful failure.

Prayer: Holy Father, we confess to You that we are sinners and have failed you. We thank you for grace which allows us the space to learn how to walk like Jesus. Help us back up again today so that we may continue to follow You. May You receive the glory and praise in Jesus name, amen.