What Defines a Failure?

What is a failure? Let’s look for a dictionary definition. It is defined as “lack of success.

  1. “an economic policy that is doomed to failure”
  2. an unsuccessful person, enterprise, or thing.
    • plural noun: failures
    • “bad weather had resulted in crop failures”
  3. the omission of expected or required action.
  4. a lack or deficiency of a desirable quality.
    • “a failure of imagination”
  5. the action or state of not functioning.
  6. “symptoms of heart failure”
  7. a sudden cessation of power.
    • the collapse of a business.
The next question would be, “What is success?” Note about these individuals said in a “Business Insider” article:

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden says it’s a matter of satisfaction.

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh says success is about living in accordance with your values.

Acclaimed author Maya Angelou believed success is about enjoying your work.

British politician Winston Churchill thought that success is being relentless.

Billionaire Richard Branson believes success is about engagement.

Spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra believes success is a matter of constant growth.

Inventor Thomas Edison recognized that success is a grind.

Popular author Stephen Covey said that the definition of success is deeply individual.

As I read these statements, I contemplate my personal views of whether I failed at something. For a long time, I gauged my “success” on the size church where I served, the amount of money I was making, and how many people were singing my praises. How vain! Being on a stage in front of a few hundred people did not make me successful. Others stand in front of bigger crowds while some stand in front of a few.

I had to become content with my influence being on a smaller level. Paul said in Philippians 4:11 that he had to learn to be content. I’m still learning. If I do not preach to a crowd for another year, that does not make me a failure. If I do not get asked to lead a Bible study or prayer group, I’m not a spiritual failure. Success is defined in Joshua 1:8 as obeying God’s commandments. Who I am with God explains my success or lack thereof. Focus on being the right person. What God says about you matters most!

5 thoughts on “What Defines a Failure?

  1. Amen! One of my favorite sayings is, “success is the ability to fail early and often.” So in theory we should all be willing to fail faster,harder, and more frequently. Easier said then done. 🙂

  2. This is such an awesome post.

    I like this Robert Collier quote: “Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.” Of course, we do not earn our salvation, but we “keep pressing on toward the goal of the prize” as Paul wrote. We get up every day until the day we die and decide to follow Jesus day-in and day-out. Success in God’s kingdom is deciding daily to submit to His will. John calls it walking in the light, Paul calls it pressing on, Peter calls it adding to our faith.

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