Wait awhile before you call it a failure.
AUGUST 16, 2023
Wait a while before you call it a failure. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
This is Key Life here to let Christians know that God isn’t mad at them. Keep listening and you’ll hear that because of what Jesus has done, you’re welcomed home into the family of God because of His radical grace, free from the penalties of sin and never alone in your suffering.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible, open it to the 23rd chapter of Acts and we are looking at Paul’s failure. Actually, we’re looking at his pain and the difficulty and the bad circumstances. And I’ve had a lot to say about don’t go down that road that says if you become a Christian, all your problems fade away, that just doesn’t work that way. The reason God has given so many passages of lament in the Psalms and throughout Scripture and the Book of Lamentations is because he is aware that we live in a fallen world, and sometimes it’s hard, and sometimes it’s really, really hard. Now, I always have to say when I teach on this particular subject because it’s such a downer, is that it’s not all that bad. Sometimes there are milkshakes. Sometimes, for no discernible reason, everything turns right and comes out right. Sometimes you laugh a lot. Sometimes your life is copacetic and be thankful. But don’t assume that that’s the way it always is. And as I said, we’re talking about Paul’s failure. I’ve mentioned this, but I need to say it again. The second thing you can learn from Paul’s failure is the reality of Jesus in the midst of his failure. Look at Acts 23:11, that’s a great verse.
The following night, the Lord stood by him.
Oh man, you’ve just had an awful kind of day at work. That night, the Lord stood by him. Your kids aren’t walking in the faith you taught them. When it got dark, the Lord stood with him. You’ve been given a diagnosis that you don’t like by your doctor, the Lord stood by him. Don’t forget that Jesus meets his people in dark places. Now, let me show you something else that Paul learned from his failure. What the world, and probably Paul at the time, considered a failure, God considered a success. Look at Acts 23:11.
The following night, the Lord stood by him and said, take courage for as you have testified about me at Jerusalem.
In other words, some good things are going to happen cause I’m in the middle of this. Don’t file it under failure until you wait a little while. I Samuel 16:7 says.
For the Lord sees not as man sees, man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.
And you remember the 50th chapter of the book of Genesis, and Joseph, after all that had been done to him that was evil and horrible. He ended up as the man, and his brothers didn’t even recognize him, and when they did, one of the cool things is that Joseph wept. But the really important teaching is, when he said this to them, you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. Time after time, I’ve heard people say to me, Steve, I feel that my life has been wasted. I have never accomplished a thing. I am useless. No, you’re not. From God’s standpoint, that just isn’t true. You don’t have to make your mark on the world. You just have to be there. Leonardo da Vinci raised himself from his deathbed as the king entered his room and said, I have offended God and man in that I have not labored in art as I ought to have done. And if I’d been there, I don’t care if he was dying, I would have said, what are you an idiot? Are you crazy? You’re Leonardo. You don’t, you have not labored properly in art. Are you crazy? But we get that way, don’t we? We get into a funk, and we get depressed, and we think I’m useless. And God has never used me. Don’t ever make that assessment of your life. The fact that you’ve been there. Maybe you said a word that you don’t even remember. Maybe an action that you’ve forgotten about. Maybe a person you helped and you don’t even remember the incident. Maybe you mentioned Jesus or maybe you were just there and you smelled like Jesus. Sometimes we look at our lives and the places of failure and pain and we think, oh my, I’m nobody. No, you’re not nobody. God doesn’t make junk, and he is using you right now, in your life, even if you don’t know it. When the German troops invaded Poland and were arrested, they were asked, were you right when you invaded Poland? Were you right when you invaded France? Were you right when you invaded Russia? And they said no, and the only reason they knew is because they failed. Don’t determine your life by what others say is a failure. That’s a lie, it’s from the pit of hell, and it smells like smoke. God, even if you don’t know it, is using you this day, this moment because he promised. You think about that. Amen.
Well, it’s Wednesday and sometimes if I have some time on a Wednesday, I answer one or two questions. And as you know, Pete will be in on Friday and we’ll spend the whole broadcast answering your questions. And we love your questions and we take you and your questions seriously. You can ask a question anytime by dialing 1-800-KEY-LIFE, 24 7, record your question. And sometimes we put your voice on the air, or you can send your questions to
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or you can e-mail your question to [email protected] and you know I’m going to say this, if you can help us financially, I promise we’ll squeeze every dime for the glory of God and you’ll help your brothers and sisters in Christ who don’t feel called or who can’t help us financially. So, be as generous as you can, if you can, if you can’t, say a prayer for this ministry. All right, let’s turn to some of these, or at least one, maybe two of these questions. Should our Christianity dictate our political positions? Are you crazy? Your Christian faith, your Biblical worldview should dictate everything that you do and think, that is obvious, and every Christian knows that, and the Scriptures are clear about that, but the devil is in the details. The problem is, if you’re worshipping at a political altar instead of God’s altar, you will call your political positions, god’s positions, and they may not be God’s positions. And so, a good principle to follow if you’re dealing with this particular issue is, yes, your Biblical worldview should inform your political position. In those areas that are clear, like, for instance, the pro life movement, you don’t have any wiggle room. In other areas, like people who disagree because they’re Democrats and you’re not, or because they’re Republicans and you’re not, that’s another matter altogether. And a good principle that I’ve learned is this, I don’t speak my Christian views to the views, political views with which I disagree until I can articulate what my opponent’s views are and they agree that that is what their views are. And in order to get to that point, you have to listen. I wrote a book a long time ago that was used in communication classes. It was called, How to Talk So People Will Listen. A friend of mine said I ought to write a sequel to that particular book and title it How to Listen So You Can Talk. I think sometimes we go after other people without even understanding their political position. Sometimes we are sure they’re wrong, without listening to what they say. And that goes for those of you who are on the left and for those of you who are on the right. Should our Biblical worldview, should it inform our political view? Of course it should, but the Biblical worldview says love, and listen, and be quiet, and then respond with kindness and with gentleness. Oh man. I just want you to know I don’t always abide by what I just told you. I am so conservative, and you’ve heard me say this, that I thought Rush Limbaugh was a communist. I’m a political person, but Jesus made me say what I just said to you, and he said it to me first, so let’s both deal with it and do the best we can with the political views that we have and to sit down and listen before we speak. Well. I’m out of time. Before I go, there’s one more thing that I have to say. And it is as follows, Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.