Failure has a family tree.
While every one of those descendants are worth talking about, this week I want to unpack our sinful failures stemming from not doing the right thing.

First of all, failure to launch. I know what to do, and I don’t do it. Maybe I’m afraid of starting, afraid of what might happen if I do. I’m afraid of the other two kinds of failures—that I won’t be able to follow through, or finish well. The thing is, there’s a difference between not being able to follow through or finish well (a human lack of skill or ability, which isn’t sin at all) and choosing not to follow through or finish well (which is clearly sin), and often crosses the line between not doing the right thing and doing the wrong thing.

God knows we’re human. He’s not discouraged with the fact that we can’t execute life with godlike precision and perfection. He’s concerned with our sinful failures, not our human ones. The irony is, we tend to be far more concerned with our human failures (accidents and lack of skill) than we are about our sinful failures. How many business executives lie awake at night wondering if they should accept the new contract because they might sin heinously if they do? Very few. Their real fear is, “Can I pull this off? Do I have what it takes?”

The thing is, failure to launch takes no effort on my part. I can just continue doing what I’m doing, which is the better part of nothing. I’d rather just not get started… yet. So procrastination is a failure to launch. Good intentions that never materialize are failures to launch. Apathy is a failure to launch.

The thing is, launch failures are dead ends. Sure, the twisted logic holds—if I don’t do something, I can’t fail at it—but neither can I succeed and grow. It’s choosing defeat and a shrinking soul as a way of life.

God has something to say about this:

“But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back. 39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” (Hebrews 10:38,39).

Whoah. The writer goes on to say that “without faith it is impossible to please God,” (Heb. 11:6), which means (combined with the thoughts in late chapter 10) that faith is the very opposite of shrinking back.

Faith launches.

“Faith…offered… built… obeyed… made… lived… offered… blessed… worshipped… spoke… saw… refused… left… kept… passed through… welcomed… conquered… administered… gained… shut… quenched… escaped… routed… received… faced… (and) these were all commended for their faith.” (Hebrews 11). For launching.

“I’d rather not try than risk another failure,” some people say.

But not trying is another failure.

Tomorrow: Failure to follow through.