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Fail Fast and Forget about It

Posted on: July 23rd, 2014 by Laurie Coombs 3 Comments

The ImperfectI recently heard a pastor say, “Fail fast and forget about it.”* It made me smile and think about what Paul wrote to the Philippians, the scripture I used in my last post, where he said,

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:12-14

I know I’m stating the obvious, but we all fail. Everyone of us has failed in the past, and more failures are sure to come to us in the future. Failure, after all, is a given. We are imperfect sinners in need of God’s grace and mercy. And while I certainly don’t want to give the impression that I think it’s okay to sin, I do believe failure has its purpose.

Quite simply, if God wanted us to be perfect, I think He would have made us perfect. But He didn’t, and we’re not. Now, I don’t believe God intended for us to be sinners––He hates sin––but for whatever reason, in His sovereign will, God chose to give man the freedom of choice and with choice comes a propensity toward fallibility––the very thing that shows our need for God.

In the verses above, Paul writes of his imperfections. He freely admits that he is not a perfect man, and if you read the verses directly before those quoted, you’ll see that what Paul was pressing on toward was righteousness through his faith in Jesus. Not through his works, not through his religious resume, but through his faith. What we see Paul continually strive toward throughout all his writings in the Bible was to move past his imperfections toward the goal of knowing and loving his Savior more.

Paul made plenty of mistakes in his past. He persecuted Jesus’ early followers, even to the point of murder. But when Paul gave his life to Jesus, he knew what we all need to know in the depths of our heart––that he was washed clean by the blood of Jesus and that he was made new. No mistake, no sin could condemn him any longer. They were gone. Paid for and reconciled by God, Himself. This is why Paul could tell the believers in Philippi with complete assurance that he could forget what lies behind and press on to what lies ahead. He failed fast and forgot about it, trusting and believing in the One who took the toll on his behalf. And with Paul as our example, we need to lose our ties to our past sins. We need to realize that we have been washed. That we stand before God forgiven, white as snow because of our Savior. And if God forgives us, I’m pretty sure we ought to forgive ourselves as well.

Fail fast and forget about it.

Any thoughts? Share in the comments.

* I listen to so many sermons by several different pastors on podcast, and I wish I could give credit, but I honestly can’t remember who it was! I can tell you, however, that it was either Steven Furtick, Clayton King, or Matt Chandler.

  • vaderalman

    I like what you said about if God wanted us perfect he could have made us so.  He choose not too knowing we would fail.  So much character is defined through the struggles of life.  How we choose to respond to our own failures defines us as well.  Hopefully we follow Paul’s lead and strive to become better.

  • Thank you so much for sharing your past with us, Paula!!! I just know that will help someone here! You are a true blessing!

  • PaulaKechisenCollins

    Aren’t we our own worst jury and judge?  Even after we ask God and/or others for forgiveness and it is granted, we continue to beat ourselves up over it; sometimes for years and years.  I think the greatest evidence of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness is sometimes seen quite clearly in those who come to Christ later in life.  I have witnessed this in many friends who believed for years they were destined to always be “no good”.  Then they hear a message or sermon and a light goes off, they sob and realize the overflowing love of a Savior, and a huge weight is lifted from their shoulders.  Everything about them changes:  their countenance, the way their carry themselves, the way they speak.  This total transformation.

    Sometimes I feel as if those of us (I am certainly not saying all) who have been Christians all our life tend to carry our failure and guilt tightly because we tend to forget how much our Savior loves and forgives us.  I know it is true for me.  I carried the guilt and shame of an abortion for 10 years.  I felt like a fraud.  I proclaimed myself as a Christian, pro-life; and then I did the one thing I felt was unforgivable.  When I finally decided to let it go I asked myself why I waited so long.  I knew God forgave me as soon as I asked, but fear of what others would believe about me kept me holding on to that shame, guilt, fear, and pride.  

    I praise God everyday for his unconditional love and grace.  Wish the sanctification process was instantaneous, but as your so beautifully pointed out, It shows our need for a Savior.