5 Things To Do When You Fail Spiritually
Five things I remember when I fail that keep me moving forward as a man who is all in.
All of us fail spiritually. For some of us, this can turn into a downward spiral of guilt, sadness, and hopelessness which is a recipe for further collapse. And negative self-talk or voices from the past can whispers untruths like, "you're not worthy, you're a failure, and you'll never live up to God's expectations." Yet there are better ways and more biblical approaches to dealing with a failure of a spiritual nature.
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First | Move beyond the event.
It happened, and now it has become an event of the past. Acknowledge to yourself the failure. Learn from the failure. Confess your failure to others. But don't dwell on it too long. Instead, start taking steps to move beyond it. The worst decision we can make is allowing the failure to define us by replaying the tape in our mind and letting the private shame define us. You are a son of God, and this one event doesn't determine your identity - God does. Move beyond it with lessons learned.
Second | Identify what triggered the event.
Sin has triggers and understanding them is a key to becoming aware of our vulnerabilities. Triggers can be managed if they are identified and if we battle them with proactive tactics. For men who struggle with pornography, anger, or passivity there are usually triggers that precede the event. They are events that set the sin cycle in motion. Identify these so that you can more effectively deal with it in the future.
Third | Seek God's forgiveness.
No sin reaches beyond God's grace. None. Not one. God stands ready to forgive, but we must recognize our sin and seek his forgiveness. This is why Jesus came - to give his life for our wrongs. There is no moving on from spiritual failure without God's forgiveness, and there is no spiritual failure that is beyond his forgiveness. You cannot earn it. He gives it freely. Release it to him.
There is no moving on from spiritual failure without God's forgiveness, and there is no spiritual failure that is beyond his forgiveness.
Four | Forgive yourself.
Ok, this is easier said than done, but how can we not forgive ourselves if Jesus has forgiven us? To refuse to forgive ourselves is to reject the forgiveness of God. We cannot move on until we forgive ourselves.
Five | Move beyond cycling shame.
Shame is a cycle that is triggered by failure and then leads to additional failure as described above. Moving beyond our shame because of God's forgiveness is critical. There will be people who want you to live in continued pity: don't do it! It's why Jesus died – so we can be free from shame, guilt, and sin. Live in freedom.
Six | Find accountability and brotherhood.
Sharing our struggles with another trusted individual is a key to dealing with spiritual failure. There is a freedom in verbalizing our struggles, sin, and hunger for victory with another brother. We suffer in secrecy, but we flourish in honesty. A wise, trusted friend can give you perspective, show you grace and help hold you accountable in the areas where you struggle. Verbalizing our struggles with another and allowing them into our lives is a key to overcoming spiritual failure.
We suffer in secrecy, but we flourish in honesty
Vince Miller is a speaker, author, and mentor to men. He is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to communicate to audiences on the topics of mentorship, fathering, leadership and manhood. He has authored 13 books and small group curriculum for men and is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Contact Vince Miller here. His newest book is Thirty Virtues That Build A Man.