Wednesday, February 1, 2012



He who has never failed cannot be great. Failure is the true test of greatness - Herman Melville

Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians (Acts 7:22). The first 40 years of his life, he was an unqualified success. The middle 40 years, he was an undisputed failure. The last 40 years, he was finally fit for the Master’s use. Around the age of 40, Moses knew he had been chosen by God to be the deliverer of Israel. He was dead right about the task but dead wrong about the timing. There is a type of self-esteem that is healthy and good. But there is an excessive self-confidence that is very harmful to one’s spiritual health. How do you tell the difference between the two? Easy. A wrong self-confidence is usually characterized by prayerlessness. Jesus said “…apart from me you can do nothing” the person with excessive self-confidence really doesn’t believe that.

Many men experience some type of transition around the age of forty. Midlife is when men are forced to come to grips with the changes that have occurred in their lives. For Moses, it was the following:
A change of address: from the palace of Pharaoh to the pastures of Midian
A change of vocation: from leader of men to leader of sheep. Most men get their feeling of self worth from what they do.
A change of status: he was rejected by Pharaoh. It is always worse when rejection comes from inside our own camp. Depression stems from some type of loss…or chemical imbalance.

The masters of character acquisition
Unemployment 101: this challenging course will cause you to suffer but it’s the suffering that qualifies you for ministry. You may have no desire to be in full-time ministry, but if you know Jesus Christ, then you are in the ministry.

Advanced obscurity: in Exodus 2:16-22, the entire middle forty years of Moses’ life get six verses. Why? Because Moses was obscure. In those forty years of obscurity, solitude and quietness, God was rebuilding His man from the inside out. Some type of obscurity is required if you are going to earn your M.C.A. Obscurity is tough, especially if you are in a hurry to climb the corporate ladder. But climbing the corporate ladder will never fit you to finish strong. God wants you to climb the character ladder. John Luther wrote that “good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are, to some extent, a gift. Good character, by contrast, is not given to us. We have to build it piece by piece – by thought, choice, courage and determination.” There is no better place to begin making those right choices than in the bleak, gray sands of obscurity.

Remedial waiting: God rarely uses Federal Express to build character into our lives. He doesn’t overnight or fax character to us. It takes time to build character. Lots of time. That’s why He’s taking so much time in your life. God isn’t in a hurry. God has a principle, and the principle is this: character development comes before ministry. You should know that you are right on schedule. Maybe not on your own schedule, but on His schedule. He knows precisely what He is doing in your life.  Every trial has a beginning, middle and an end. You cannot determine where you are in your trial, but He knows exactly where you are. And He is moving you along at just the right pace. Someone once said that everything is in walking distance, if you have enough time. Believe it or not, you’ve got time. You’ve got plenty of time, because you belong to Jesus Christ. And He literally has all the time in the world.

Intermediate loneliness: research has demonstrated that prolonged loneliness can even affect us physically. Most leaders like to be with people. They enjoy the company of their followers. But in the desert, Moses didn’t have any followers. Well, he had a few sheep. But the fact is, Moses wasn’t in the desert to lead; he was in the desert to be led. That’s why he had to be isolated. God had to get him off by himself so that He could have his undivided attention. Moses thought he was a leader, but a leader really isn’t a leader until he has learned to follow. God would not use Moses until he had learned to submit to God and to His timetable. So Moses was alone. Loneliness is never a pleasant experience. But God, in His wisdom, at times will separate us from our normal network of family and friends. Isolation is an opportunity to get to know Him better.

Many believers are simply frantic over the fact of failure in their lives, and they will go to any lengths in trying to hide it, ignore it, or rationalize about it. And all the time they are resisting the main instrument in the Father’s hand for conforming us to the image of His Son! – Miles Stanford

It is defeat that turns bone to flint, and gristle to muscle, and makes people invincible, and forms those heroic natures that are now in ascendancy in the world. Do not, then, be afraid of defeat. You are never so near to victory as when defeated in a good cause. – Henry Ward Beecher

Everyone fails but the true failure is the one who doesn’t learn from his setbacks. That’s why a teachable spirit is so important. When you are in the midst of a desert, the fastest way out of the desert is to ask God to let you learn everything that he has for you in that experience. Stay open, and stay teachable. God is not trying to ruin you. He is rebuilding you so that you can be used strategically. And the people God loves to use most are those who have learned to depend completely upon Him. For many self-sufficient types, that doesn’t come easily.

Abraham Lincoln entertained large thoughts about God and small thoughts about himself. Humility means that someone has a proper self-confidence, a proper self-esteem, and a proper kind of godly courage. That kind of character only comes from being in the furnace of affliction and hardship. No wonder it was said that “the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3)

There are not many undefeated people around – John Gardner

God uses our failure to equip us for future success.

Source: Finishing Strong by  Steve Farrar

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