Failure is not Final

by Dr. Paul Chappell

“For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.”

Proverbs 24:16

You must have long-range goals to keep yourelf from being frustrated by short-term failures.—Charles Noble.

Writer James Russell Lowell once wrote the following poem about failure:

Life is a leaf of paper white
Whereon each one of us may write
His word or two, and then comes night.

Greatly begin! Though thou have time
But for a line, be that sublime--
Not failure, but low aim, is crime.

Failure plagues many people. Whether it’s failure on the job, failure in business ventures, failure in parenting, or failure in financial endeavors; many people today fear failing in some aspect of their life. The world has painted a seemingly unattainable picture of success so that if we were to measure our lives against that picture, we would feel we had failed.

Many Christians attempt little because they too are paralyzed by the fear of failure. I wonder how many churches could have been planted, souls could have been won, and how many lives could have been changed for the glory of God if only Christians were not afraid of failing.

Failure is a natural part of life. Everyone has failed at something in their lifetime, yet failure is no reason to quit. Failing is not a sin, but not getting back up and pressing on is. Proverbs 24:16 shows us this principle: “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.” God realizes you will fail, but He commands you to keep going, to rise up again and continue living for Him.

Take a moment right now to think about failure in your life. What is an area in your life in which you are holding back because you are afraid to fail? Is it witnessing, teaching a Sunday school class, developing a regular Bible-reading routine? Failure is the devil’s way of intimidating you so that you do not serve Christ.

Former President Theodore Roosevelt once said, "The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything." You will make mistakes. You will fail at times, but that’s when God wants to help you get up and get back to living for Him.

Missionary William Carey put it this way, “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.” God will bless you as you continue to attempt great things for Him, without fearing failure. Remember that failure is not final but that not getting back up is.

To find out more about Pastor Paul Chappell visit his blog or follow him on twitter.

To learn more about the ministries of Lancaster Baptist Church and Pastor Chappell, please visit

Daily Bible Reading
Numbers 23-25 • Mark 7:14-37

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