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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stop Making Excuses for Failure

I hear it happen often. A person comes to the pulpit and complains about being sick or makes some other excuse for the bad sermon he is about to preach. This person will also tell how dumb he is or how inept he is at what he does. He thinks he is being humble but he is far from it. Humility is not self deprecating. Humility is not trying to make others think less of you.

I believe that those who are openly critical of themselves think of themselves too much. They are saying that God isn't doing such a great job. They are giving themselves excuses for failures. They are afraid that success costs too much. They make excuses for their failures before they fail.

Thus, they will belittle their churches, their children and themselves in an effort to make an excuse if anything goes wrong. However, their true nature is discovered if you ever question something they have done. They generally defend their actions to the hilt. It is evident that they really don't believe that they are the dumbest person in the room. They really are telling others how bad they are so that they can receive the applause of those who feel compassion for them. Then, if they really do fail, they have merely met their own (and others) expectations.

How can this be if you really know you are doing what God wants you to do? Shouldn't you have an expectation of success rather than failure? Shouldn't you expect God to give you strength to accomplish everything He has called you to do?

Joshua became the leader of the Israelites after the death of Moses. How could he expect to lead this people after they had been led by someone whom God spoke face-to-face? Sure, he had been trained by Moses but could he actually take the place of Moses?

Imagine if he had stood before the people and said:

"Children of the former slaves from Egypt, Moses is dead. I have been placed in leadership over you but I am not fit to be your leader. I am not very smart. I don't talk to God like Moses did. I am really scared right now and you would be better off going back to Egypt than following me. However, I will lead you to the Promised Land where we will most assuredly die trying to defeat the people who already live there. Now, who's with me?"

Of course, no such speech was given. However, in all of his instructions to the Israelites Joshua added, (Joshua 1:13 (NIV))  "Remember the command that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: 'The LORD your God is giving you rest and has granted you this land.'

Joshua made no excuses for failure. He didn't even accept the possibility of failure. He was expressing incredible confidence in God and the people. He was saying that victory was already theirs.

I wonder how many people would be successful at what they do if they would do what God told them to do and stopped giving excuses claiming failure is eminent.

Try praying the following prayer:

I thank you God for you have prepared me for every challenge I will meet today. I will call upon you when I feel weak. I praise you for you have strengthened me. I  need your wisdom. I thank you for giving it to me. Success will be determined in my faithfulness. I will do what you say because I love you with all my heart. Amen.

Now, dont' make another excuse. Go and do what God says.

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