Many of you may remember the theme of ABC’s Wide World
of Sports: The Thrill Of Victory, And The Agony Of Defeat. Isn’t it true? You play any sports, take a standardized
test, work in sales, or just live in our culture and you will understand one
thing about our culture. We love
winners. We love champions.
I, like most of you, have lived long enough to
experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. When you experience victory, the crowd cheers
and you hear the roar of your name.
But, if you experience defeat, crowds “boo and hiss”, people avoid
you and they reject you. I’ve had my
agony of defeat and maybe you’ve had yours.
Here’s what I’ve noticed and experienced: People
Are Drawn Towards Those Who Have Won By Defying Adversity. They’ve Beat This Thing Called Defeat.
I think this cultural bias is why people are drawn to
the story of Job. We are using this
story from the Bible to go through this series:
Surviving Your D-Days. As we described last week, Job is the classic
story of this struggle between good and evil, of someone who is a great guy who
doesn’t deserve to have bad things happen to him; but who has to deal with evil
things. He has to overcome life’s most
As we’ll see today in Chapter 2, he had to survive the
worst kind of invasion—the invasion that becomes personal. It’s different when the invasion hits our friends,
work, our nation, or even our family members.
It’s not that we don’t care about what is happening to our family and
friends. But when it becomes personal,
it’s a different movie all together. For
Job, this is personal; it became a personal defeat, a personal D-Day invasion
Job 2:1-7 (NLT)
One day the members of the heavenly court came again to present themselves
before the Lord, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them. 2 “Where
have you come from?” the Lord asked Satan.
Satan answered the Lord, “I have been patrolling the earth,
watching everything that’s going on.”
the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is
blameless—a man of complete integrity.
He fears God and stays away from evil.
And he has maintained his integrity, even though you urged me to harm
him without cause.”
replied to the Lord, “Skin for skin!
A man will give up everything he has to save his life. 5 But
reach out and take away his health, and he will surely curse you to your face!”
right, do with him as you please,” the Lord said to Satan. “But spare his life.” 7 So
Satan left the Lord’s presence, and he struck Job with terrible boils from
head to foot.
Job is afflicted with a painful skin disorder from
head to toe. It’s probably not that long
since he was grieving in Chapter One.
Now he is grieving in a culturally relevant way. He is sitting in a pile of ashes and he’s
shaved his head but this time he’s covered in sores from head to toe from this
He is in pain, and this pain takes on a whole new
meaning. He has broken pieces of pottery
and he begins to cut at his sores to relieve the pressure and pain. Listen, defeat cuts us to the core because it’s
personal. Satan, our adversary, knows
that. However, Job shows us that the
main way to survive the D-Day Invasion
Of Defeat And Failure is to not let it become personal.
It takes Job a while before he understands this. It can’t be personal in the sense of who we
are! We may suffer defeat or may fail at
things but it does not mean we are failures, and that we are forced to live
defeated lives. So, Here’s the one thing
you need to remember: Getting Knocked
Down 7 Times Does Not Make You A Failure, If You Get Up 8 Times.
The movie “The Rookie” tells the true story of Jimmy
Morris. Jimmy grew up in a poor town in
Texas. It was an oil town that knew
defeat when its booming oil industry dried up and the town dried up too. He had an unsupportive father. Because of injuries he was never able to go
beyond 1A Baseball after high school.
Jimmy stayed in the same dead town and was a high
school science teacher, but it’s not what he dreamed of being. He’s coaching a losing team in a failing
baseball program. They had only won one
game per year from 1996-98. In 1999,
spring baseball had begun. The school
doesn’t want this team; no one comes to see these boys play. They play their first game and they
But more than just lose the game, Jimmy sees the
bigger picture. They aren’t just losing
on the baseball field. They are growing
up to be losers. They are growing up to
be failures. They aren’t just failing;
they believe it about themselves. After
this game, he gives a speech that will forever change their life and his. He tells them, “You’ve given up even before
you started. And the sad thing is you
don’t even know it.”
Let me ask you some questions:
- What Kind Of Failures From
Your Past Or Even Your Present Haunts You?
- What Areas Are You Feeling An
Invasion Of Defeat In Right Now?
- Have You Given Up On Dreams
Because Of Some Failure?
Have you ever said, “That’s who I am; I’m just a
failure. That’s all I will ever be. I will always be dumb, or poor, or divorced
or had or did or whatever.”? What is it
For many of us, we have lived with or we are living
now with the sense that we are a failure and that we will always be just that: A Failure. So we live a defeated life. We allow the invasion of defeat take control
and wipe us out. Allow me to share 4
quick lessons with you today from the life of Job, and from my own experiences:
1. Failure Is Inevitable
Failures can be of a spiritual nature or a
non-spiritual nature—both kinds are normal and unavoidable. God understands that we are human and we make
mistakes. If you are a Christian, you
have to know this to be true. And we
should be glad that God understands that we are just created from dirt.
He knows that we are not god and not perfect. You should know that God, who desires a
relationship with you, knows you aren’t perfect. He doesn’t expect you to be—just yet. God understands that we are going to fail
sometimes and fail miserably and that it’s unavoidable.
We need to understand that too, so that we can deal
with it in a constructive, not destructive way.
Listen, Our View Of These Life
Failures Determines If We Will Truly Survive Them.
Haunted by the jeering of his father, Jimmy Morris
took one failed attempt at the Big Leagues and made that who he was. He made one try towards his dream and put it
together with what his father said and decided that’s who he was.
He thought, “If I really was a great baseball player
then it would come easily for me and failure would have been avoidable. I am just a failure.” He didn’t understand what the Bible
says. Failure is unavoidable and normal.
2. Failure Is Something We Experience But It’s
Not Who We Have To Be
When we make a bad decision or we make a dumb choice
as a teenager, or our life as adults takes a different path than we intended,
understand that It Doesn’t Define Us;
It Defines Only A Moment, An Experience!
Who Are You? How do you
answer that question? How you answer
that question speaks volumes about how you perceive yourself, your self-image
and your self-esteem. Do you answer it
with the role you play in your life? Do
you answer that question with “I’m a father, mother, grandparent, farmer,
Those are roles you play. That’s not who are you. Listen to this: Our
Self Esteem Should Not Be Wrapped Up In What We Do But In Who We Are In God’s Eyes. God loves you. He says this about all of us—this is who we
We are fully loved and accepted unconditionally. We are always forgiven when we ask. We are special and one of a kind. Failure is not who we are. God never sees us that way.
3. Failure Is Not An Enemy
Some of us are so afraid of what people may say if we
fail that we don’t take any risks.
Failure is treated as if it was cancer.
Failure is not the enemy, though often we think it is an enemy to faith. If You Are Afraid Of Failing, You Will Achieve
Small Things, But You Will Never Achieve Anything That’s Really Important.
(Repeat that to yourself! Say this out loud: If I Am Afraid Of Failing, I Will Achieve Small Things, But I Will Never Achieve Anything That’s Really Important)
You will achieve some things that are easy but you’ll
never achieve the passions in your heart that you really could have achieved if
you had taken the risk. The bottom line
is this: Fear Of Failure Creates Inaction. It has a name: Atychiphobia. It’s living under the persistent fear of
It paralyzes people and keeps them from reaching their
God-given aspirations and goals. It
keeps them from moving on after the invasion
of defeat has paralyzed them.
They don’t move on because they don’t want to do it anyone.
The question for those of us who are Christians should
be, “What Is God Asking Me To Do?” Even those who haven’t crossed the line of
faith know something is bubbling up inside of them.
We know what the Creator has put inside of us, what
really moves us and makes us different.
We should want that and we should know that failure will come as an
opportunity to learn and to grow.
Anything that helps us grow is NOT an enemy.
4. Failure Is Not Final Unless You Give Up
God doesn’t care how many marriages you’ve been
though, how many times you’ve done this or that. That simply does not matter. You are not a failure. You may have failed, yes, but You Are Not A Failure Until You Give Up. You can move on. You can keep your eyes on your dream.
You understand that God loves you unconditionally so
that you can take responsibility for your actions and then continue to press
on. And Jimmy Morris? He made a promise to that high school team if
they made it to the District Playoffs, he would try out for a major league
team. That group of players, known as
losers, not only made it to the playoffs, they won!
In 1999 at the age of 35, Jimmy made his Major League
début for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays striking out Royce Clayton. OK, so his major league career did not last
long, but how many 35 year old rookies have played in MLB? He said, “It’s amazing what you can achieve
when you don’t quit.”
Do you doubt these 4 truths? Maybe you’re thinking, “Preacher, you don’t
know how bad I’ve failed.” Listen, on
the Cross, people looked at Jesus and thought he had been defeated and that it
was over. Even those closest to Him had
But Jesus’ death on that Cross had a purpose. And that Cross was not final. Jesus knew if He laid down His life for us
that there would be a Resurrection.
If Someone Wrote A Book On Your Life, The Most Important Chapter Would Be The Last Chapter. Would it reveal the spirit of determination? Or would it reveal the spirit of failure, of quitting?
Is Not About Who You Have Been, And Not So Much About Who You Are Right
Now. It Is About Who You Are Becoming. The only way, the only way, the only way, we
can push on through life is with a connection to God. That happens
only by faith, by saying a definite YES to Jesus.
- When you
believe that failure is fatal, it’s toxic to your soul, heart and mind. Jesus
knows how to deal with what appears to be a failure. Remember the Cross did not have the last
word. And Jesus knows how to deal with
- It’s a proven
fact, that the fear of failure can become stronger than our motivation. It’s because the event of failing is mistakenly
believed to be the final defining moment of our life. Remember Henry Ford’s words: Whether
You Believe You Can Or You Can’t, You’re Right!