Lately, I’ve encountered numerous articles and Tweets about the “necessity”, and even the “benefit” of failing, particularly in the corporate environment. As I’ve scanned each of them, I’ve been tempted to shake my head. Although I haven’t read all the authors’ arguments, failure seems like a strange thing for which to aim. While I understand that it is possible to learn from our mistakes and that as a result we can do something on a second attempt that exceeds our expectations, getting it right on the first time seems like a much better, and less costly, option. Just because something good can be made out of something bad, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be striving for the good first.
Unfortunately, sometimes people approach the Christian life with a similar attitude. The apostle Paul slaughtered this mindset when he wrote: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-12). In other words, in a convoluted understanding of God’s grace, some people may be tempted to accept, maybe even embrace, a failure to live according to God’s standards. Instead of a heart-felt turning from their sin with a desire to live more like Christ, people may choose to revel in their sin with the justification that it gives them the opportunity to experience more of His grace. While perhaps a tempting proposition, it reflects a poor understanding of grace, and what it means for it be at work in a believer’s life.
It doesn’t take much understanding of our world to know that sin is a part of the human condition and will be until the day that Jesus calls us home. However, the wonderful thing about God’s grace is that if it is at work in us, it is transforming us into the image of His Son (See 2 Cor. 5:17; Rom. 8:29). While that transformation won’t be complete until we are with Him in glory, embracing the mindset that we are just like everyone who is “dead in their sins” negates the truth that God has made believers “alive together with Christ” (See Eph. 2:4-5) He has given us everything we need to live lives of godliness (2 Peter 1:3), and He expects us to use these gifts to live lives that please Him. We don’t just experience His grace when we sin (although He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins; I John 1:9); His grace abounds as we experience His transforming power in making us more like Christ. Our desire then shouldn’t be to sin more, but to live lives that increasingly conform to His Son’s (I Peter 1:13-16).
Striving for failure seems like a strange proposition for a business; it is stranger still for a follower of the Most High God. May we celebrate the glories of God’s grace – in saving us from our sins, and then in working in us to live lives more like His.