It’s Never Too Late to Start Over, Part 1: Why We Fail
By Rick Warren
Failure doesn’t have to be final. In fact, I believe God wants to put our failures to work for us. Everybody experiences defeats in life. Everybody has failures. The book of Proverbs has a lot of insight into what causes failure. Five different things that cause failure in our life according to the book of Proverbs:
1. We fail when we don’t plan ahead.
It’s like the old saying, “If you fail to plan you’re planning to fail.” Proverbs 27:12 says, “A sensible man watches for problems ahead and prepares to meet them. But the simple minded man never looks and suffers the consequences.” Are you simple-minded? Some of us have a tendency to be impulsive. Yet the sensible man plans ahead. The impulsive person never looks ahead and suffers the consequences.
Proverbs 16:9 also says, “We ought to make our plans counting on God to direct us.” One of the reasons we fail is we just don’t plan. Was it raining when Noah built the ark? No. It didn’t rain for 120 years. That’s what I call long-range planning. For 120 years he worked on that ark. Jesus told the story about a man who built a building and before he got it finished he had to give up because he hadn’t planned ahead. We fail because we don’t plan.
2. We fail when we think we’ve arrived.
Proverbs 18:18 “Pride leads to destruction and arrogance to downfall.” When we think we’ve got it all together, watch out. You’re never going to get anywhere if you think you’re already there.
Pride causes us to fail. One of the symptoms of pride is we don’t think we need any advice. “I’ve got it all together. I don’t need anybody. Me and Jesus, we’ve got a good thing going. I don’t need anybody to tell me what it’s all about.”
3. We fail when we are afraid to take risks.
Proverbs 25:29 tells us that the “Fear of man is a dangerous trap but to trust in God means safety.” The moment you start to worry about what other people think, you’re doomed. It’s a trap.
The greatest failure is the failure to try. When I die I want four words written on my tombstone: “At least he tried.” For the glory of God. You’ve got to take risks. That’s what brings abundance. That’s what brings success in life. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb, that’s where the fruit is. We’re afraid to take risks and we fail.
4. We fail because we give up too soon.
The trouble with many people that during trying times they just stop trying. Failure is the path of least persistence. How many ball games have been won in the last seconds? Keep on keeping on. Never give up.
Proverbs 15:19 says, “A lazy fellow has trouble all through life.” If at first you don’t succeed, you’re normal. Try again. Many times success is right around the corner. You are never a failure until you quit.
5. We fail when we don’t listen to God.
The number one reason we fail is that we don’t listen to God. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to man but in the end it leads to death.” God’s word is filled with guidelines and principles to make our life all that God wants it to be. But most of the time we want to listen to our feelings, “I feel that this is the right thing to do, even if God’s word says it differently.”
The fact is, God’s word is usually the opposite of our natural inclinations. God says the way to get is to give, the way to be honored is to be humbled, the way to greatness is to be a servant. When we don’t listen to God, we’re in trouble. Lack of prayer causes a lot of failure.
Regardless of the cause, we all fail. What matters most is what you do when you fail. God is more interested in your future than He is in your past. The Bible shows us a way to get a fresh start, and I’ll write more about that in part two.
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