Failing Less, Winning More

Would you be satisfied if you were guaranteed a 95% in every area of life?

Would you be satisfied if you were guaranteed a 95% on all projects and tests for the rest of your life?successful-1078183-m

Would you be willing to trade your chance of perfection for a guaranteed 95% in everything you do?

95% is a whole lot better than my free throw percentage, 95% is a whole lot better than my comprehension rate, or even success in relationships. Even still, there is something incredibly unnerving about shackling the soul with a 95% success rate.

I am not so much bothered by the fact that 95% success dooms me to 5% failure as much as I am bothered by the inability to strive for perfection. Personally, I think the ramifications of 95% success are unlivable.

It would make life very predictable and dull. We all enjoy complaining about failed tests, bad pick-up lines, and dumb decisions, but frankly our failures are what brings a sense of mystery and excitement to our lives.studying-ahead-642559-m

It would negate any sense of accomplishment. What student has not felt the rush of accomplishment after hours of intense study as they look down at their grade on a project? The fulfillment of the grade does not necessarily come from a perfect 100%, but after working for a grade the ensuing accomplishment is a priceless gift.

It would destroy growth and the motivation for change. Failure is incredibly motivational. After losing a race, a motivated athlete trains longer, and works harder. Without a realization of our weakness, we are not motivated to grow stronger. I am thankful for failures, because in my failure, I am able to see that I am not, yet He is. Maybe that is part of what Paul had in mind in II Corinthians 12:9-10, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

For those reasons and many that you all could list, I hope your life consists of more failure in order to become more than a 95% person.

Little Changes Big Results

Is this killing you spiritually

Little changes make a big difference. Little changes create huge impacts. In college, my brother Luke and I switched to drinking skim milk, and between the two of us in a year at college we cut out close to 60 pounds of pure fat from our diet. That’s the equivalent to eating 240 sticks of butter. This principle of little changes has ramifications for good as well as evil.

My little habits and choices toward sin may not seem earth shattering but with time they can grow and become disastrous hindrances to my Christian walk (Gal 6:1-7). It does not take long for small choices to grow and soon begin to hinder us.   A single bacteria cell by binary division can multiple to become 9 x1030 in 24 hours. (Think of that next time you want to reheat a pizza that was left out all night or watch a movie that God would not approve of, or harbor bitterness, or self-justify.) Sin will multiply quickly. Although it does not take long for the effects of sin to inhibit us, it also does not take much to stop the work of sin if we submit to God.

My little habits and choices toward God are able to stop the spread of sin in my life. To follow our bacteria illustration, if I had put the pizza in the fridge after baking, it would cut the bacteria down to 2. A small change grows to big results. I may not feel like I am making life altering decisions, but every small change puts me either closer to or further away from my goal in life.

Imagine the immense changes in your life today if you had decided ten years earlier to be a better worker, a better student, or a better Christian. Just imagine if a 10 year old decided to commit to reading the scriptures for 30 min a day, by the end of his lifetime he would have spent 14,600 hours before the presence of God. That’s like way longer than the Lord of the Rings extended edition! (I should add that it is a grave fallacy to equate Scriptural intake as the only sign of holiness as the Pharisees memorized the first five books of the Bible, and still crucified Christ). I am simply trying to point out that a small decision over time yields phenomenal results.

So how about you? What decisions are you making that with time will result in significant results? What changes are you glad you made and can share with the rest of us?