5 Ways Failures In Life Can Shape Us Into Who God Wants Us To Become

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Here are 5 ways that God can shape us in this life to become what He wants us to become, even if it’s in failure.

Examining Ourselves

Perhaps God allows failures to show us where we might have sin in our life or where we need to grow.  Maybe we’re taking our eyes off of Jesus or drifting away from our relationship from God and He wants to draw us back to Himself.  God can use any means necessary to get our attention and often I have had failures in my life to teach me something about myself.  Maybe I was getting to full of myself; perhaps I was losing focus on God’s purpose for my life; and possibly God wants me to examine my life to see areas that I need to work on.  I think we’ve all got blind spots but failure can make us reassess what’s going on in our lives. That’s a good thing. Paul commanded us, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test” (2 Cor 13:5). Certainly before we take the Lord’s Supper or Communion, “Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup” (1 Cor 11:28).

5 Ways Failures In Life Can Shape Us Into Who God Wants Us To Become

Learning from Experience

They say that experience is the only teacher that gives the test first before you have a chance to study but the lessons learned are invaluable.  I have learned more from my failures than I ever did when things were going well.  True failure is staying down when you are knocked down by life and we all do on occasions.  Just as Thomas Edison said of his attempts to invent a working light bulb, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”  What others meant for evil, Paul considered God’s purpose as he asked the rhetorical question, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword” (Rom 8:35)? Obviously, if you read the rest of the chapter, what the world perceives as failure like famine, distress, persecution, danger or sword, Paul considers as working out for his very best (Rom 8:28).

Failure is not Final

Failure is never final and it’s certainly not fatal.  Failure shows us what doesn’t work and forces us to see what does work. I have a close friend who battled pornography for decades and he tried everything and failed time and again and fell back into this stronghold of the mind.  One day he called me and told me that he had victory over pornography.  I asked him how he did it. He said that he finally gave up trying to do it himself. He simply surrendered.  He didn’t surrender to the pornography but in trying to fight it in his own strength and he’s been free from this scourge ever since. The Bible says “the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity” (Prov 24:16) and it will be “From six calamities he will rescue you; in seven no harm will touch you” (Job 5:19) so even “though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand” (Prov 37:24).

Leaning on God’s Understanding

Sometimes I depend too much on my own human, earthly wisdom even though I am told to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Prov 3:5) and “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil” (Prov 3:7).  I am my own worst enemy.  How about you?  Isn’t it so easy to seek the advice of family, friends, and co-workers when we have failed?  Why not seek godly wisdom for by leaning on my own understanding, I am essentially leaning on air but when I depend on God’s wisdom, I am not being “wise in [my] own eyes” but trusting “in the Lord.” The fact is that “Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe” (Prov 28:26).  I would do well to heed this truth “that your trust may be in the LORD, I teach you today, even you” (Prov 22:19).

More Christ-Like

No one can be more Christ-like until they have suffered like Christ did.  Of course, it won’t be the type of suffering that Jesus endured but suffering makes us more like Christ “For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too” (2 Cor 1:5).  Do you want to know the very power of Christ?  Then you are like Paul who wrote “I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Phil 3:10).  No one likes to suffer but Paul wrote “I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church” (Col 1:24) and we “carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body” (2 Cor 4:10) so “rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Pet 4:13).  To the world, suffering looks like failure but to the Christian, suffering is not failure, it is being more like Christ.


Every single one of us has or will eventually fail at something in life.  That’s the way the world is wired but failure can help us to examine ourselves more closely; failure can teach us valuable lessons; failure is never fatal or final; failure teaches us to not depend on our own understanding but lean upon God’s wisdom; and suffering, while looking like failure, is actually allowing us to know Christ better because we have a small taste of what He endured by this suffering, we can “know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Phil 3:10).

More for you to read: 7 Important Bible Verses About Purpose

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim Schmechel October 30, 2015 at 5:36 pm

Another excellent post, pastor Jack! Thank you so much for giving us good Biblical insight on failure.


Jack Wellman October 30, 2015 at 5:46 pm

You know that ALL glory goes to God. I am nothing, HE is everything! Love you brother.


Jarrett Morgan August 13, 2019 at 11:00 am

The Gospel of Jesus Christ (26) is a LIE. Look up the christian version of numerology and correspond letters of the alphabet with certain numbers. There are 26 letters in the alphabet, right? “L” is the 12th letter, “I” the 9th and “E” the 5th. 12+9+5=26. It’s a LIE period.


Jack Wellman August 13, 2019 at 11:24 am

Hello Jarrett. You are saying that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a lie, but He says He is the truth (John 14:6). Should I believe you or numerology or…should I believe the Bible. Romans 3:4 is true: “Let God be true though every one were a liar.” You need to repent of your deception and hatred of the gospel, or you will face Jesus Christ Who is very real and is the truth. Men lie…God never does. You face this if you do not repent (Rev 20:12-15; 21:8). I will pray for your lost soul.


Jarrett Morgan August 13, 2019 at 1:41 pm



Jack Wellman August 13, 2019 at 4:35 pm

Goodbye Mr. Morgan. I had to edit your comments as they were so blasphemous that they don’t deserve to be published. You are blocked now and your comments go directly into the trash. I rarely do that. Please repent of your bitterness to Jesus Christ and the gospel, or you will face God’s judgment. My prayer is for your lost soul.


samantha janes August 17, 2019 at 2:55 pm

Dear Mr. Wellman,

I read the entire article and disagree on a few of your points and there’s nothing really radical that I can say that hasn’t been said already, so I’ll keep it simple: if God is only happy when I’m “unhappy,” then it sounds like he needs me more than I need him. Regarding trusting God over my family, friends, boyfriends, etc? If I asked God a question versus my mother/bestfiend/boyfriend, I’ll get an honest answer almost instantly versus a riddle or no response at all. I don’t think “relying on earthly wisdom” is bad. In fact, I call that “using the brain that God gave me.” Your article did give me some good insight. Good luck, Mr. Wellman.

– SJ


Jack Wellman August 17, 2019 at 3:12 pm

Hello Samantha. Hello Samantha. Where have I written that God is only happy when we are happy. I couldn’t find that in my article and besides, God is complete and perfectly satisfied all the time, and does not change moods like we do. I appreciate your comment.


Jerald McClain September 6, 2019 at 2:05 pm

Interesting article. So, Jack, I got a question for you, ever see “Star Trek V” (1989)? Well, towards the end of the movie, Kirk, Spock and Spock’s brother actually meet an intimidating being who claims to be “God.” Pretty safe to say that all three men are intimidated by God’s appearance. That is until God makes a very unusual request regarding the U.S.S. Enterprise to which Captain Kirk replies “Excuse me?..What does ‘God’ need with a starship?” Then Spock was like “Yeah, Kirk’s right…” My point is, I find it a little hard to accept an omnicient being who feels he needs personal failures to stay relevant in people’s lives, especially if they’ve already accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior.


Jack Wellman September 6, 2019 at 3:02 pm

Look at Thomas Edison…thousands of failures shows what didn’t work so he could discover a long-burning lightbulb. God doesn’t need personal failures of HImself? Where did I write such a thing? It’s not in this article. And the Bible does not say we “accept” the Lord, as if “Okay, if I have to, I guess I will accept Christ” when it’s repenting of our sins, confessing them to God, and trusting in the Savior. I’m not going to say I will “accept” the Lord, but we should be more concerned that He’ll accept us, who don’t deserve it, but He saves us anyway. The failure of many people brings them to the Savior. What you “feel he needs” is irrelevant to us and to God, regardless of Spock or the Star Trek movie. Jesus said repent and believe (not accept) and you will be saved. If you’re not happy with God, then you have some serious issues to work on my friend.


Jerald McClain September 24, 2019 at 6:50 pm

Actually, I’ve already resolved those issues. I’m a former Christian, well versed in the scriptures. I just no longer believe in a triune “god” who would sacrifice his own son to save us from a sin that he himself created. Guess we will agree to disagree, Mr. Wellman.


Jack Wellman September 24, 2019 at 8:24 pm

Hello Mr. McClain. I appreciate your comments sir, but I urge you to read this fine article by Dr. Williams that show each of the Three Persons are God and fully God and are identified as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Do you believe that Jesus is God? Is Jesus and the Father the same Person? I hope not. Please read: https://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/the-trinity-a-bible-study/ and I pray God opens your eyes to the true God. I wished you would show more reverence and respect for God and His name and not name God as lower case (god) as you did.


Jerald McClain October 20, 2019 at 5:17 am

Sorry for the late response, Mr. Wellman. In addition to your suggested reading of Dr. Williams’ article, I’ve also went back and re-read the entire new testament as well as a sizeable portion of the old one. While I hear what you’re saying, I have to revert back to my same old perspective of the christian “god.” Not only is “god’s” will not empowering but it’s also “non consensual.” I mean combined with more life experience and a better understanding of the way the world is and who controls it, if this triune “god” really does exist, “he” seems to only be happy when the Righteous are distinctly unhappy and personally, I think we deserved better. As I’ve been saying all these months, I guess we will agree do disagree.

Rev Falefatu Enari December 8, 2019 at 1:57 pm

Looking for failure as a basis for a ministry and yours came up. It’s the first time I’ve emulated not just putting myself in the shoes of the failed but the whole attire even the mindset and thought patterns, wow what a revelation. I think this is why Jesus was so staunch in his teachings and why people take to his belief because he actually lived it. I mean the guy didn’t have a house, didn’t even own a bed, he’s the epitome of failure in the human sense of the word but his sticking to his guns in terms of what he believed … failure is not FINAL nor is it FATAL. Thanks for the leg up.


Jack Wellman October 20, 2019 at 10:27 pm

Hello Mr. McClain. A broken bone heals and is about 30% stronger in that area. A scar makes it twice as hard to cut that same skin area and so God uses our pain and suffering to draw us to Himself and then we come to Christ and trust in Him, recieving eternal life. Jesus suffered and died so that we would have the right to enter the New Jerusalem. We have free will and God does not force anyone into the Kingdom. This world is our preparation for the next. Thank you for your comment sir.


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