Failure. What a crappy word. Or rather, what a crappy thing to be. Because that’s how we think of it isn’t it? That we are in fact the failure, not that we have simply stumbled. I’m sure you know what I am describing. You undertake a certain task or project, extend yourself out of your comfort zone a bit and meet with a little rejection, correction, or roadblock and immediately the accusing voice starts. “Why’d you even try?” “See, you are a piece of $#%?” It happens seemingly so quickly. We go from zero to completely worthless in just a few seconds. Is this some failure of our parents because they didn’t bathe us in an endless stream of affirming comments? Or because there is just something wrong with us? I don’t think so. Did you see the word ‘accusing’ above? Thats what Satan is called in the book of Revelation- The Accuser. This has been satan’s most insidious work in my life. Yet, this is changing because I found out that Christ was a failure.
I can hear some of you now as you are reading this. You are probably ready to call the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith to say that some missionary from FOCUS is a heretic, that he has lost his way and started calling Jesus a failure. But just stay with me and wait till the end to call the CDF : )
Jesus was a failure by all earthly accounts. Let’s give a rundown of where it all ended up: He died a death reserved for the worst of criminals, all of His friends had abandoned Him, one went so far as to completely deny Him outright, He had no money, no possessions, had to be buried in someone else’s tomb, He seemed like a tremendous liar, and to top it all off, his corpse was even jacked-up. I could go on, but you get the point. By the end, Jesus comes up zeroes. But everything that Jesus did, suffered and lived had a point. He wanted to identify with us in everything, because He was one of us. Jesus was born in a manger, around a bunch of animal fecies and He can say to you, “Hey, I was born in poverty too” or “Yeah, I know what that’s like.”
My problem was that I kept pulling the God-card on Jesus. I would say, “Sure Jesus, you were born poor, had an average life, but you are God so it doesn’t matter. I know you love me, but you don’t really know what it is like.” Yet, Jesus’ life eventually smacked me in the face. My broken understanding of success and excellence kept getting in the way. I kept thinking that God wanted me to be excellent so that I could do great things and get these fantastic results. And that my friends is a lie from Hell. That thinking is just a more deceptive form of the “Health & Wealth” gospel. Yes, God does want what is best for us. He wills the good at all moments. In fact, it is an indispensable belief of Christianity that at this very moment, God is pursuing us and willing us into existence with tremendous love. But what we are to God and His action toward us isn’t about the results we produce. Doing the thing rightly, as God wants it done, is the goal. The results are left up to Him.
So here’s your to-do list: Do each thing well and place your whole effort into it, not because of what you would get out of it or what will happen, but rather because you know it is what God wants you to do at that time. Do not do it because your self worth is tied-up in it, but rather because all your worth comes from, and exists in, God. Do it for, and with, Him. Everything! From brushing your teeth to writing papers to sharing the Gospel with someone- Do it all this way. All of it will be different. There will be no more failure, aside from sin. You will start to realize how much you are loved, you will become much more aware of God’s presence in your life, the mundane things of life will become divininzed, and for the first time, you will be content to realize that you are a failure, just like Him.
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Since the pontificates of Pope Paul VI and John Paul II, the Roman Catholic Church has been commissioned to engage and embrace the world with God's message of love once more with ‘new methods, new ardor and new expression.’ It has come to be phrased, 'the new evangelization.'
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