The most unacceptable condition in this life is the failure to achieve success. Indeed, there cannot be a single person having not experienced failure, one way or the other. Even the school-going children, get confronted by the fear of possible failure in their school-work. Failure itself has got levels so that other failures carry less impact in terms of the negative effects. For instance, the most devastating of all failures, in this world is death. But, below the death line is a failure to make it in God’s Kingdom.
Other failures can be tolerated, as leaving the possibility of adjustment, to eventually access the desired goal of success. Many people succumb to despair after experiencing failure. It takes a person of character to remain committed to the goal, even after having failed in the first attempt. Yet others remain with hope, learning from their mistakes until they achieve the desired success.
Nevertheless, human beings were not created to be failures. Each person was a success at the point of creation, with innate abilities, as long as not influenced by others. Any failure by any person in this world is not native to that individual. Nothing hinders a person of good character, except fear and doubt. All failures are a result of not identifying with one’s innate abilities. Acquiring a college degree is still a failure, as long as not identifying with one’s innate talent.
However, there is no human being in this world who can claim not to have encountered failure, one way or the other. Excuses are often advanced to justify failure. But all failures are a result of not identifying with one’s innate abilities. I had a passion for music when I was young. I remember encountering an obstacle from my father.
I was born a musician, only to receive the stiffest opposition from my own father who associated music with those considered bad in our area. According to my father’s viewpoint, those associated with music were not approved in society. It therefore never came to me that the musical talent within me should be treated as good. My father gave me the impression that one had to look outside, to consider what was meant by goodness and success in life.
But little did I know that at that very moment of succumbing to my father’s viewpoint, was the definition of failure. Of course, I am not the only one having gone through that predicament. I now fully appreciate that all failures are a result of failure to identify with one’s natural purpose in life. Simply defined, failure is succumbing to the environment, rather than being oneself.
I know of successful people who, even having been discouraged to pursue their own talents, eventually succeed. Failure is an inability to commit oneself to one’s innate abilities. The only way to avoid failure is believing in oneself. As humans, we fail to handle our survival endeavors, because we listen to other voices rather than our own respective consciences.
This does not mean it is wrong to listen to other people. Everything ought to be evaluated according to one’s own intellect. In other words, it is the potential survival value that should determine a person’s choices, when considering other people’s opinions. Wisdom is all about taking the necessary precautions in order to avoid possible failures. The fact that everyone behaves in a particular way does not make everyone right. Each person ought to master his own destiny, according to his own potential contribution to others.
Successful people are those not succumbing to failure. They may have made mistakes but becoming willing to change according to what entails survival value. Ordinary people would judge them as failures, yet they themselves would remain committed to workable endeavors, per their assessment. They learn from their mistakes and move on, even though failing more than a thousand times.
Such people cannot be categorized among failures, because they use failure as an opportunity to address what would be faulty and grow. They do not get devastated by failure but using failure as an opportunity to correct what would be in need of correction. It is only ordinary people who succumb to devastation when having failed to attain what would have been intended. See [The concept of dying daily].
Jesus may have also been viewed as a failure, by His detractors. They viewed what He did as a lost cause when they saw Him being crucified to death on the cross. But in Jesus, we see the summary of success in true Christianity. Jesus exemplifies success, as compared to failure, which ordinary people view as accumulating material things.
True Christianity was never designed for failures, yet a lot of failures manifest in Christianity, in terms of false doctrines. But, let us first properly define the meaning of failure. There is no hope for true failures, who become unwilling to start anew, after having experienced failure. As far as such people are concerned, failure is viewed in equal terms as death. These are the people who practice dogmatism, as changing would be alien to them.
What drives most people to defend ZANU PF, is resistance to change. Our existence, as human beings, is dichotomously defined in failure and success. Failure is the opposite of success, so that failure means succumbing towards death. Success leads to survival, which means overcoming the environment, including the physical universe. Jesus came to show us the way to live, which, instinctively, referring to eternal success.
The way of life, as prescribed by Jesus is not difficult. But what makes it difficult is approaching everything that He taught with a doubtful mind, or being content with mediocrity. But doubt, itself, is worse than an unbelieving mind. There are so many doubtful people, sitting in the comfort of being Christians, thereby, assuming to be safe. However, such people are more vulnerable than the unbelievers, according to Scriptures:
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich, and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness, and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelations 3:14-20) (NIV).
The above Scripture shows that God can, actually, tolerate those who are cold, rather than those who are neither hot nor cold. It is therefore preferable to take one extreme, rather than assuming to be safe in being lukewarm. This can be achieved by choosing between what is known and what is unknown. When taking the position of passionately applying what would be known, one leaves what would be unknown for another day. God does not blame such people.
What is most dangerous is assuming to know what a person does not know. There are various reasons why people pretend to know what they do not know, one of which is seeking to impress other people. When a person seeks to impress other people, he entertains pride. The adulations that the person gets from other people, make it difficult for him to appreciate any new data.
But this is not a problem with a person who admits not knowing what he truly does not know. Such a person keeps his ears and eyes open for information, as willing to learn new things. Such people can be described as the poor in spirit, according to Jesus (Matthew 5:3). The most important datum being that it is impossible to know everything that concerns God’s Kingdom in this life.
Therefore, even when sitting on the comfort of assuming to know spiritual things, a humble person remains open-minded. Failure identifies with death, therefore, such a person is willing to die daily. Any knowledge that benefits others as much as it benefits others, in terms of living, is progressive. But any knowledge that benefits the current generations without taking into account future generations, falls under the category of failure.
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins, and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1 John 3:4-9) (NIV).
However, it is impossible for anyone to violate the above Scripture, when truly in ignorance. The transgression of the Law is possible for those deliberately rejecting information, like the Pharisees in times of Jesus. As shown in Revelation 3:14-19, the cold ones are the ignorant—while the hot ones are those zealously seeking to please God with all their minds. That Scripture projects that it is the people who are lukewarm, who are seriously in danger of being spewed. Being rejected is most serious—being the last degree of failure. And cannot be compared with any other failure.
I personally find it to be unnecessary for Christians to engage in arguments about God’s word. The reason is that God’s word is available, as portrayed by Jesus. It is also Jesus Himself who declared that not all Christians would make it in God’s Kingdom (Matthew 7:21-23). He also inferred to the narrow way, as compared to the broadway leading to destruction. This includes the warning about the possibility of false prophets in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:13-15).
I find such Scriptures to be deserving not to be taken lightly. Unfortunately, these Scriptures do not specifically show which, among Christians from various denominations, would be right. Each grouping professes and prefers to be more informed than others. Yet others find it convenient to leave everything in God’s hands. They would be unaware that it is within their responsibility to evaluate information—to be sure where one stands.
Nevertheless, taking comfort in one’s own understanding, without regarding others, should be viewed as violating Christian principles, when expected to view others as brothers. True Christians understand the responsibility of being each other’s keeper. As our perfect example, Jesus had the information that those of His fellowship—the Jews—did not have. Jesus continued to treat them as brothers, right up to the point that they shamelessly killed Him.
Why did Jesus not find it convenient to start a new religion, as to leave the Jews alone? He went to their Synagogues on Sabbath days, but not that He was a Sabbath-keeper. On several occasions, He, actually, violated the Sabbath laws, in stark contradiction with their traditions. Nevertheless, He held the truth that the Jews did not have.
They tried to argue with Him, but all that could not help them, as they preferred remaining in their dogmas. The point is that Jesus wanted them to see the light. The reason why they rejected Jesus is not that Jesus did not have convincing answers on matters of God’s Kingdom. Their problem remained in not wanting to change from their dogmatic positions. They expected Jesus to change, without them having to change.
Paul advises: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) (AKJV). If those Jews were spiritually in line, why did they kill Jesus? Naturally, the enlightened desire to help the ignorant—rather than seeking to eliminate them. It is the ignorant ones who seek to eliminate the enlightened ones. While the enlightened ones seek to eliminate ignorance, instead. But, there is no failure in truth, just as there is no success in falsehood.
Failure can be described as pursuing the opposite direction, rather than the correct one. Failure is like scoring against your own goal post. But the only way that ensures success, is the willingness to evaluate and change one’s position, regardless of having all along assumed to be right. The power of being right and avoiding failure lies in the ability to listen, before sifting truth from error.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99