Teaching: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones to Success (Part 1)

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

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Let’s get started:

[The following article is an edited transcription of the June 2005 Tape/CD of the Month, Failing Forward by Dan Gallagher.]

It is my privilege to bring you this teaching which I have titled Failing Forward and subtitled Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones to Success. It was a number of years ago that I read a book by the author John Maxwell, and John’s book was titled Failing Forward. John’s pretty articulate, and he gave me a lot of inspiration to go the Word of God over the last few years to see what God has on the subject of failure and success and to see specifically if I can find examples from the Bible on Failing Forward. One of the points that John makes is that people in our society are always training for success, when really what we should be doing is training our young people on how to fail.

You see, failure is a lot more common than success. If people do not know how to fail properly and if they do not know how to fail forward, then they will never be able to reap the success that they really desire. You can be a winner in many ways, but you can only be a loser in one way—that is to fail and not look beyond the failure. One of the greatest problems that people have with failure is that they are too quick to judge isolated situations in their lives and then label them as failures. We are too quick to look at something when we are given some adversity or defeat and then give up. In fact, failing is really a gift if we can learn to have the proper perspective on it.

Why would I be qualified to do this teaching?

Well, I am not qualified because I am not necessarily a great success. I have to be honest with you; I am qualified because I have failed miserably in life. I have failed at marriage. I have made many mistakes as a father. I have failed in friendships, and I have failed in being a friend. I have failed in businesses. One time, I had a very successful construction company, and I lost it. I have failed in ministry. I have been kicked out of a leadership program, and I walked away from another, but I am qualified to do this teaching because in spite of those failures, in spite of those defeats, in spite of the adversity that I have been confronted with, I have learned how to succeed in marriage.

In fact, my wonderful wife, Lori, and I are in our fifteenth year of marriage. I have also learned how to succeed in being a loving husband and how to be a good father and hopefully how to be a great grandparent. I am now succeeding in friendships, and I have succeeded in business and hopefully now in ministry. Why? I have succeeded because I have learned the lesson of failing forward. That is why I am doing this teaching, because I want to inspire you. I want to encourage you. I want you to have hope and learn how to fail forward.

I am going to cover five different areas.

1) We are going to examine God’s Word to gain a biblical perspective on this subject. What does God have to say about failing, and does He have anything to say about failing forward? I think that you are going to be thrilled and exhilarated about what God has to say on this subject. Also, what does God have to say about success? I think that we need to have a biblical perspective on that as well.

2) We are going to review records of men and women in the Bible to see what lessons we can learn from their lives. We will look at lessons about how some have failed forward and some have not.

3) We will examine what God has to say about a few things pertaining to success; specifically, things that we may not in our modern/post-modern culture define as successful. I do believe that we need to go back to God’s Word and see how He defines it.

4) We will examine some common failure myths and become myth busters.

5) We will look at some keys to learn how to fail forward.

Something that I realized as I began to examine the Word of God is that I believe that God gave me the perspective that really His book, the Bible, is a story of failure. I am not trying to be blasphemous here. See, God has not always been successful, but one of the lessons that I believe that He wants us to see is that He knows how to turn His defeats and losses into successes. Consider for a moment Lucifer, the bright and morning star, the supreme angelic being, and one of the pinnacles of God’s creation. What does Lucifer do? He turns on God. He rejects God, and he leads open rebellion in the heavens against God. I would not consider that too much of a success story, and I am sure that you do not either. How about God’s first attempt for a family, Adam and Eve? God creates the heavens and the earth and all that we see—the skies above, the stars, the moon. He puts everything here for man’s provision. To provide for him and to show His loving concern for man. What does man do? Given a little bit of temptation, man rejects the Word of God and does not trust God. Man turns and walks away from God. Well, that is two strikes. Again, I do not consider that too much of a success story. In fact, I consider that a pretty big failure. God does not say, “That is it. I am going to take my ball and go home. I am not playing with you anymore.” No, he does not. He immediately sets in play the moves to start the redemption of mankind. God, in Genesis 3:15, describes the coming of the Savior. God begins to fail forward. He takes the failure that Lucifer has handed Him, and He begins to play forward. He begins to learn from what He has been dealt, and He moves it forward.

You see, when it comes to failing, we need to change our perspective. It is perspective that leads to perseverance. Perseverance brings longevity, and longevity brings increased opportunities for success. That is what failing forward is. Most of us are given some adversity or defeat, and we think that is the end of the game. But the fact is that if we are going to continue to press forward, when we get the defeat, when we are hit with adversity, if we will learn to fail forward, we will increase our opportunities for success.

That is what the lesson is about in this teaching.

Let’s take a look at a beautiful record of what God says about failing.

Proverbs 24:15 and 16
(15) Do not lie in wait like an outlaw against a righteous man’s house, do not raid His Dwelling place;
(16) for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.

Again, how many times does a righteous man fall? He falls seven times; he rises again. That is the lesson of Scripture. That is what God wants us to take away—that a righteous man, when he falls, he gets up again. You know the number seven, in the Bible, means spiritual perfection or completeness. Every time you fall, the righteous man gets up. That is the lesson that God wants us to take away. We are going to fall. We are going to trip. We are going to stumble, but when we do, we need to get up, and we need to move on again. That is what a righteous man does.

You read the rest of the article here.

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Thanks for reading.

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