Avoiding Failure Leaves You Less Like Jesus


Avoiding failure = managing sin.

If our goal is to avoid failure, we engage in behavior modification (a.k.a. sin management) that, when successful, often leads to an attitude of pride.

This corresponds to an identity that is wrapped up in success, as the world defines it. This life is characterized by pride, condemnation, and survival of the most disciplined — where there is no need for grace and mercy, similar to a pharisaical heart! We become dependant on our behavior and not dependant on God. We believe the lie that following Christ means following rules. This is religion.

If we are not failing, we are probably NOT growing, because to grow, we must risk, and risking sometimes leads to failure.

I often say that knowledge plus experience leads to transformation. Our goal as followers of Jesus is to be transformed into the image of Jesus, having His character and living as He lived. If our only experiences involve our ability to control our behavior, we are not leaving any room for God to move or the Holy Spirit to lead us in our lives. Left to our own choosing, we will always choose the path of least resistance, a life of control, which is easy to manage.

We need to live in a way that shows the world that Jesus is alive and that we need Him to show up in a real way, or we will be in big trouble!

Failure CAN lead to growth! Do we really believe this??

Faith is spelled R-I-S-K. John Wimber said this to emphasize the importance of growing our faith through risking… NOT succeeding. If getting it wrong were not part of the equation, or a possibility, it would not be a risk.

“Show me someone who is failing, and I’ll show you someone who is growing.”

If we are called to live like Jesus lived, then we need to live like Jesus lived! He was all about bringing His Father’s Kingdom to earth in real, tangible ways. He was always on the offensive, always building, taking back what the enemy had stolen from God’s children

His life was full of abandon and risk, always knowing that His Father was leading, protecting, and providing for Him. This can be hard for us, because we are not Jesus! We do not hear from God or obey God perfectly, as Jesus did. BUT, in Jesus, we have the freedom to fail, and, as we fail, God will produce humility, grit, perseverance, and will create in us a greater dependence on Him.

We can also learn from being successful (but sometimes that can lead to pride). I think it is why God uses both success and failure to grow us.


We need to be on the offensive, pushing back the enemy, building God’s Kingdom, and living in a way that God has to show up. This is impossible if we are consumed with managing our sin or focused only on our brokenness. The defense wins games only if the offense scores!

The Kingdom of God is on the offense, and experimenting or risking in what this looks like in ministry and life is a good and necessary thing. Don’t live life trying to avoid sin. Trust me, sin will find you, and when it does, you will realize Jesus is already there to forgive you!! So risk more, move forward in life expecting God to show up in you and through you… It is way more fun than following rules!