Overcoming the Fear of Failure: Part 4

This message transcript records a message by Wayne Cordeiro. We posted parts 1 – 3 of how to overcome the fear of failure earlier this week.  Here are the last two steps: 

4. Redefine failure.

Some people say, “I failed.” Why? “Because I lost this job, or I didn’t meet this assignment, or I didn’t make that money, or I didn’t make that sale.”

Let’s redefine failure. Failure is not that you didn’t arrive at your goal; failure is not even making the effort.

How often, when we fall down, do we refuse to set any more goals because the locusts might come? The boll weevils might come, and so we leave our land desolate.

Failure is not when I stumble in my walk with Jesus. Failure is if I never intend to have a good walk with Jesus. We have to redefine failure. Someone said it this way, “I would rather attempt to do something great for God and fail, than to plan to do nothing and succeed.” Redefine failure.

“I realized that all we can do is be happy and do the best we can while we are still alive” (Ecclesiastes 3:12 tev).

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7 NASB ).

God says, “Do not drop out.” God did not say to come in first. He says, “Run.” He did not say, “I want you to be the best.” He says, “I want you to do your best.” God is not looking for people who want to be famous. He is looking for people who would be faithful.

I define failure as giving up too soon. Never give up! Don’t do it. If Abraham Lincoln had done so, we would be short a great president. Do not give up too soon. You might say, “What if I keep making mistakes?” I will tell you a foolproof way to guard your heart. First Corinthians 13:8 says this: “Love never fails.” The foolproof way to overcome and override failure is to make the motivation for everything you are doing—love.



If you love your family and you love God and you come up short, God says, “I will turn that around for good.” Why? Because love never fails.

If I am doing anything out of selfishness and I mess up, good for me! But if I love my family and I love God, and I stumble and fumble and fall while trying my best, don’t worry. God says that’s good, because you know what? He will turn it around for blessings. God will use everything you try and attempt, mistakes or otherwise, and turn them all around until they all come up blessings. Isn’t that wonderful? That is the kind of God we serve.

He is saying, “Go for it. Do not be afraid of failure. You just go for it. But if you err, err on the side of righteousness, not on the side of unrighteousness.”

Martin Luther was the founder of the Reformation Age and a great man of God. He understood failure, and he was not afraid to fail in the course of serving the Lord. Listen carefully because this will sound wrong at first, but let me explain it to you. Martin Luther said it this way: Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. Love God and then sin boldly.

What was he saying? Even if you love God and your course is steering toward Him, you are still going to sin. But Martin Luther did not say reject Christ and not love Him. If you really love Him, you are serving Him. You desire to be righteous, and he says, “Just go for it! Try it! If it doesn’t work, scratch it, and try something else. Sin boldly!” Why? Because God looks at your heart. He does not look at your performance. Now remember that is all on the side of righteousness. That is what he was saying. If you miss the mark, don’t worry about it. Just go for it because God is looking at your heart.

Proverbs 14:4 is one of my favorite Scriptures: “Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much increase comes by the strength of the ox.”

What this verse is saying is if your whole goal in life is to keep a clean floor, then just make sure there is nothing there. If your whole goal is just to keep a clean manger, then you will get nothing done. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. But if you want to make something of your life, you are going to have to deal with some “doo-doo.”

Do not be afraid of doo-doo because if at least there is doo-doo on the floor, it tells you that something is alive.

Do not be afraid. Just make certain that you have goals and that your motivation is love. When you do what you do out of love, you never fail because love never fails.

5. Replace fear with faith in Christ.

Philippians 4:13 ( tev) : “I have the strength to face all conditions by the power…” By the power of what? By the power that transcendental meditation gives? By the power that dope gives? By the power that alcohol gives? By the power that anger gives? No! I have the strength to face every condition by the power that…who gives me? Christ gives me. You see, the answer to overcoming the fear of failure is not a program—it is a Person! And His name is Jesus. He will give you the power.

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in God” (Psalm 56:3).

When you experience fear, put your trust in God. Set great goals. Make sure your motivation is love, and then go for it. Realize that everybody fails. Failure is not final. Redefine it. Failure is not coming short of your goals. It is not setting any goals. Failure is not when you stumble in trying to serve God. It is when you never intend to serve God. Redefine failure. At least you are trying. And when God sees that heart, He will turn around everything that may have been used by what the devil would define as failure. God says, “I will turn it around for good and it will become blessings to you.”

What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of failing as a parent? Are you afraid of failing as a spouse? Are you afraid of failing as a provider? Are you afraid of failing as a single person or a married person?

Some of us have a spiritual fear. We say, “Well, I’m afraid to commit myself completely to the Lord.”


“If I commit my life completely to Jesus, you know what I would probably do? I would probably go out and blow it anyway.”

Let me let you in on a secret. Count on it, you will blow it. We all sin. We all mess up. But God is looking at our hearts. Keep your heart right. Place it before the Lord. Set it on God. And you will watch that giant—your fear of failure—fumble and fall and not rise again.

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