Freedom to Fail
I’ve often been struck by a section of one of George Whitefield’s sermons:
I can say that I cannot pray without sin — I cannot preach without sin — I can do nothing without sin; and as one expresses it: my repentance needs to be repented of, and my very tears to be washed in the precious blood of my dear Redeemer. Our best duties are as so many splendid sins.
Church planting is like that. I want to say that I’m driven by the desire to establish a work that will bring God glory and to spread his fame, and this would be true. But if I’m honest, I’m also driven by a desire not to fail at something that is tougher than anything I’ve ever done to this point. I don’t want to fall flat on my face and embarrass myself — a very real possibility given the number of church plants that fail!
That’s why I was glad to get an email from a friend yesterday that closed with this line:
I’m here for you all no matter what — rain or shine, success or failure.
Man, I needed this. My friend is soaked in the realities of the gospel, and he helped me realize that the gospel gives us freedom to fail. He’s committed to me even if I fail, and so is God.
I already knew this, but I need to be reminded often. The gospel gives us the freedom to fail, and our best friends do as well. I’ll always be a jumble of mixed motives, but as I continually repent of this I can be sure that it’s all okay with God. His love is not conditional upon me making it work. I have the freedom to fail.