Defined by Favour Not Failure
[Part 4, Chapter 26]
It’s a joy to visit my parents at their place. When I turn up and knock on the door, I always hear the same cry come back, “Come on in. It’s open.”
I have access. They are happy to see me.
Just imagine if, upon entry, I started the conversation like this, “I’m so sorry, it was me, not Michael who hit the cricket ball through the window when we were kids. And it was me who took the five cent coins off your shelf to get some lollies. Oh, and it was me who was smoking cigarettes under the culvert across the road.”
My father would look at me and say, “What on earth are you on about? Do you want a cup of tea or not?”
When I go into my mother and father’s presence, I don’t drag up all my failures in life. Nor is their standpoint with me based on any current failures I may be experiencing. Why? Because I have access. My failures don’t determine my status.
My status is that of son. My sonship determines my identity. And, just like a passport, my identity gives me access.
Good dads are there when you fail. Good dads see you for who you are. They see you through your identity as their child, not through your performance, or your career, or your net worth.
Abba Father is the best dad there ever is. Your failures don’t negate his love.
What is the opposite of failure? Most would say success.
Here’s an alternate thought:
Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favours!” (Luke 2:13-14)
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand.” (Romans 5:1-2)
So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father.” (Ephesians 2:17-18)
… Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.” (Ephesians 3:12)
(Emphasis in all verses is mine)
Is it possible that the opposite of failure is peace? How good would that be? Because our failures don’t define us, we enjoy a peace that is outside of our circumstances or failings.
When I start with my failures, I have no boldness or confidence.
However, when I start with the access-giving favour I have in Jesus, I am emboldened. Not because of what I’ve done, but because in the worst of it all, Jesus sees me as a brother and Father God sees me as a son and Holy Spirit hasn’t stopped indwelling me. He doesn’t fly away when my bank account is low or I yell at someone or I forget to clean the car.
My failures do not define me.
Have I failed? Yes. Will I fail again? Highly likely. When I become consumed by my failures, I then start to define myself by what I haven’t done, what didn’t work out, and who I let down.
A good parent knows that in shaping a child for the future, they’re called to help them see that their life is not defined by their failure. They love them because they are their child, not because of their success or lack thereof. It’s their love and acceptance that catapults the child into their life of living loved.
Father is well pleased with you precisely because he is your Father. How peaceful is that!