8 Encouraging Reasons Christians Should Not Be Afraid to Fail

Clarence L. Haynes Jr.

Contributing Writer
Published Apr 04, 2024
8 Encouraging Reasons Christians Should Not Be Afraid to Fail

A study by the organization Linkagoal, revealed 31% of Americans have a fear of failure. That means there is a one in three chance you might be one of those people who are afraid to fail. While I don’t know all the reasons people are afraid to fail, I believe one reason is they view failing from the wrong perspective. Today, I want to help you change that mindset so you can see that you don’t have to be afraid to fail. Take this from someone who has tried many things and failed a lot.

One important note about this conversation about not being afraid to fail: I am not referring to moral failures that lead to sinful behavior. You should be afraid of that because the consequences of sin can be so devastating. That is failing in a different category, which is not what we are talking about today. I am talking to those who are pursuing a goal or a dream. The ones who are running after God’s purpose and plan, but may be nervous or fearful that you might misstep or outright fail. If that is you, then I believe the words ahead will be excellent medicine for your soul today.

Here are eight reasons Christians should not be afraid to fail:

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Paper airplane crashing

1. Everyone has failed so you are in good company.

Can you find me one person who has never failed at anything? The answer is no, except for one (no, that is not me). The only one person who ever walked the face of the earth and did everything perfectly without fail was Jesus. Everyone else has failed at some point. So if you have failed, you are in good company. What often happens, especially when people are successful at something, we may falsely believe they were always successful. That is simply not true. Most of the time, there were multiple failures along the way. Unfortunately, there are some who may want you to believe they have never failed in their life. Don’t believe them. We all fail or have failed at some point. So, if you have failed before, welcome to the club. We were waiting for you to arrive.

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2. Failing does not make you a failure.

2. Failing does not make you a failure.

Sometimes we confuse these two words. We often believe if you are failing, then you are a failure. Some people who fail take on failure as an identity, and they see themselves not as having failed but as being a failure. This is a lie, so don’t believe it.

Failing means you did something or tried something, and it did not work. Failure means you simply stopped doing or stopped trying. That is the biggest difference. The only way you will ever become a failure is if it causes you to stop dreaming, stop believing, and stop trying. While it is okay to fail, it is not okay to give up.

For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again… - Proverbs 24:16

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man biting nails scared worried fear of death

3. Being afraid to fail will often make you afraid to try.

Often, the difference between one who succeeds at something and one who doesn’t is simply one person stopped trying and the other person didn’t. Sadly, many people give up right when they are on the verge of breaking through. Thomas Edison, when he was trying to create the light bulb, failed over 1,000 times before he finally got it right. If he would have been afraid to fail, who knows, we might still be walking around with kerosene lamps. Some things God wants you to do will take courage, so don’t allow the fear of failure to stop you from trying. If you do then you may miss out on many of the wonderful blessings and experiences God has for you. 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. - Joshua 1:9

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girl woman looking up stained glass thinking questioning

4. Being afraid to fail may show you don’t trust God.

The Israelites were about to cross the Jordan and go into the land God had promised to give them. This was a land flowing with milk and honey, which means it was a fruitful and blessed land. However, that generation of Israelites never went into the promised land, despite God’s promise. What happened? Fear overcame them. 

When this fear overtook them, they focused on all the wrong things and forgot that God was on their side. They began to rationalize and question why God brought them out of Egypt. Somehow, they forgot that since God was with them, there was no enemy that could ever overtake them. Because God is with you, then you can walk confidently in the things he has called you to do and trust him to guide you. I am not saying be reckless, because that is foolish. I am saying press ahead. You will make some mistakes along the way, but at least you are making them while trusting God as you move forward.

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this. - Psalm 37:5

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One woman comforting another who is upset.

5. You often learn more from your failures than your successes.

Failure is the learning ground that often prepares you to succeed. One big reason is because you learn what not to do. Sometimes, the greatest lessons you learn come from your biggest failures. The key is rather than looking at them as points of defeat, look at them as points of learning. There are lessons in every moment of failure and if you will pay attention to them, that moment of failure may be the best thing that ever happened to you.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. - Romans 15:4

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woman eyes closed facing sky, how wonder can help you break free from fear

6. It frees you from perfectionism.

Some people are afraid to fail because they have a mindset of perfectionism. If they don't do it perfectly, then they consider it a failure. That is a lot of pressure to put on yourself, and it is an impossible standard to live up to. God does not expect you to be perfect. What he expects is that you will give your best effort. If you have done your best, and everything you can do, even if it doesn’t work, that is okay. The fear that you cannot do something perfectly can cripple you to where you end up doing nothing. I don’t think I need to explain which one is the better option.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. - Colossians 3:23

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Son comforting a father

7. Failure keeps you relatable.

One good thing about failure is that it makes you more relatable to others. One way to increase your relatability is to share your failures with others when it is appropriate. Unfortunately, some leaders don’t share the moments they failed because they care more about their image than about being relatable. This can cause people to fear failing because they may falsely believe everyone around them is so successful, and they have it all together. I have been around enough “successful” people to know that is not true. As I said earlier, everyone fails. However, those who do it best are the ones who use those failures to learn from and then encourage others. They take the lessons they have learned to help people along the way.

The lips of the wise give good advice; the heart of a fool has none to give. - Proverbs 15:7 (NLT)

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8. Failure does not derail God’s plan for your life.

8. Failure does not derail God’s plan for your life.

The last reason to share with you is that failure is not the end of the story. God often uses our failures to work for us, not against us. History is filled with people who failed, yet God still used them. In fact, Hebrews 11 has a pretty good list of people who failed, and we applaud these people as heroes of the faith. One example is Samson. If you are familiar with his story, he fell in love with a Philistine woman named Delilah. Eventually, she persuaded him to tell her the secret of his great strength, which was his hair had never been cut. After revealing this, she lulled him to sleep, and the Philistines came in. They cut off his hair, captured him, gouged his eyes out, and made him a prisoner. In that moment, did he fail? Yes, but the story did not end there. Here is Samson’s last moment of victory.   

Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus, he killed many more when he died than while he lived. - Judges 16:28-30

Yes, Samson failed, but that was not the end of the story. So, it is with you.

One promise for those who are afraid to fail.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28

This promise alone is why you never have to be afraid to fail. Regardless of what happens, God can take everything and work it for your good. This includes your victories, your good choices, and, yes, even your failures. You never have to be afraid to fail because God is with you and even on your worst day, he will take that and use it to accomplish his plan in your life. So go ahead and do what God has put in your heart to do, and don’t worry about failing. Even if you fail along the way, he will work it out for your good in the end.

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Clarence Haynes 1200x1200Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club.  He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. His most recent book is The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. Clarence is also committed to helping 10,000 people learn how to study the Bible and has just released his first Bible study course called Bible Study Basics. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com

Originally published Monday, 08 April 2024.