What we think about God is the single most important thing in the world. How we perceive Him will dictate how we live our life. How we see ourselves in relation to Him will orchestrate all that we are and do in this world.
We live in a success-driven world. So, in particular, seeing any failure in relation to the heart of God is absolutely vital. God is love and the nature of that love must be the driving force behind everything that we do or attempt.
God is not human. He is the sum of everything. He is not just the Creator of the world. He is the Creator of all things, including love. He does all things well, including love. His standard for everything is excellence. The benchmark for success in the Kingdom of God is so high no one can reach it without His input. And yet He chooses mostly failures to represent Him.
“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of this world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, so that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)
It’s official. God loves a failure! He did not want the beauty of His nature and the glory of His Kingdom solely to be represented by the great, the good and the clever. He did not want a Who’s Who of humanity to portray His own magnificence.
He does not need to be seen in the right places with the right people. Jesus was criticized viciously for hanging out with the very people society detested. He chose to become despised and rejected. God does not have an image problem.
He chose people who had a history of failure. He picked people who had a history of not learning and who repeated their mistakes continuously.
God chose people who are despised as being stupid by people who should know better. He accepted people who would require lots of training just to be normal, let alone successful.
He chose them because He wanted to love them in such a way that they would always be safe and whole, whether they were successful or not. He chose them so that His love for them could heal them of their foolishness. He has a wonderful capacity to enjoy us in our weaknesses. He has a plan to make us successful through using failure for us and not against us. Failure does not demean the Father. His character and identity are so wonderfully secure that He is not afraid to know us, bless us and stand up for us. Whether we are doing well or badly, our identity is always in Jesus.
We are in Christ and He is in us. The Father has a plan for our personality as much as He has a design for changing our character — to make us more like Himself. A big part of that plan therefore is to love us in exactly the same way that He loves Jesus. We are not loved only because we succeed in Christ. We are loved fully because we are in Him. God loved us powerfully when we were lost in sin.
Our love for God is seriously upgraded when we realize that our mistakes are already covered. No matter how well or badly our life is going, we learn to live under the smile of God. Know that in the love of God we cannot fail; we can only make mistakes and every mistake has already been covered by the Cross.
Where were you when Jesus died? You had no existence. All our sins and mistakes were in the future, and they were covered by that one incredible act of sacrificial love. All our past, present and future sins and mistakes have already been covered. Our future has been secured in the love of God. Shame is not on God’s agenda for us. He allows us the wonder and joy of repentance; literally “to think again,” to think differently, and to become what we think about.
We overcome failure when we discover that God wants us to love the learning that exists in every situation. All forms of accountability are about loving the learning that is present in every circumstance. That learning produces the fruit of self-control which in turn guarantees lasting change.
God knows that when we do things for the first time we learn how not to do them. Loving the learning in every situation enables us to become wise and also beloved. Wise, because we learn from our mistakes and grow; beloved, because our sense of acceptance comes from being in Christ and not from our ability or performance. Therefore, if we fail at something we can still grow in the love of God. The joy of repentance and the beauty of God’s unchanging nature guarantees forgiveness and acceptance.
We overcome failure when we realize that God is not even remotely embarrassed by our weaknesses. He defends us to all our detractors. He is not ashamed to call us brethren. We are in Christ and cannot be condemned (Romans 8). He is the One who loves us the best, knows us the best. God does not get disillusioned with us because He has no illusions in the first place!
We overcome failure when we allow ourselves to be comforted. Our mentor is the Holy Spirit who helps us to laugh at ourselves. He is the Comforter sent to lead us into all truth. When we are embarrassed at the truth of our current mindset or behavior, He comforts us so that we are not paranoid about screwing up. Then He helps us with the learning. Every test is repeatable. We cannot fail the tests of God because we get to take them again… and again… and again, until we pass. Even in the consequences of our actions, the love of God reaches out to cover, protect and nurture us in our woundedness.
The biggest lesson I get to learn is that God loves me for me — not for what I can do. God’s love helps us to relax about ourselves. The grace of God is given to us to enable us to feel loved when we mess up. God’s grace enables us to feel good about God and therefore to have mercy on ourselves and others. We are a work in progress. No one condemns the artist of an unfinished picture. Instead we look at what is there and we picture what it could.
–An Excerpt from Prophetic Wisdom