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Fail Forward

By Pastor Alex Ruelo

Philippians 3:12-16 says, ”I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.“


Many Christians will inevitably fail in one way or another. No one is exempted. Even pastors. Paul is saying that he has not reached perfection even if he is preaching about these things. Everybody is in the process of sanctification. When Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins, God sees Jesus in you whenever He looks at you. He does not see your sins. And when you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you were made holy too. But that does not mean that your body and spirit is perfect. He paid for your sins but you are still in the process of being made holy.

You have learned about the triune being of man and of God in 1 Thessalonians 5:23. You all have a spirit and soul living inside your body. Your spirit used to be dead but you have been given life when you believed in Jesus. Your spirit is now alive and holy, unable tomake mistakes and is perfect because it came from God. It is divine. But your body and soul are corrupted. Your body is slowly dying. Your soul is composed your mind, emotions and will and needs to be changed. Little by little you mind needs to be changed for the better. This is called sanctification.

In your journey as a follower of Christ, you will hear a lot of bad and hurtful things. In your journey to change, know that three persons will force you to change. The first is other people, believers and non-believers alike. People’s standards are so high that you would think they do not make mistakes. They judge you based on your words, your actions and even the clothes you wear. Their judgements might be wrong but all of those will help make you a better person. Sometimes you really do not see some of your short-comings and those criticisms against you will make you better. The second person who will criticize you is yourself. Who knows yourself better than you do? It is pertinent that you have leaders and mentors that will guide you in your spiritual walk. Lastly, the Holy Spirit will convict you and help you in every way He can. God will let you know what you need to do when you need to do it.

How do you achieve perfection?

  1. Be humble and confident. (V.12) - If you read the qualifications of being a pastor in the book of Timothy, nobody is qualified. Everybody is flawed. Rules can only do so much. If you want to be technical about it, nobody would dare stand in the pulpit. Romans 3:10 says nobody can reach God’s standards. Grace is the only thing that qualifies you. Jesus has paid for all of your sins. So you can be humble and confident at the same time. Humility and confidence go hand in hand in being a leader. Fail forward and go forth, continuing in your walk with the Lord.

  2. Focus on your destination. (V. 13) - Although believers are holy, you are not a saint. Your spirit received God’s breath of life and His divine nature. The destination that He has prepared for you is ready when it is your time. God’s plan is perfect. Push yourself to receive His heavenly prize.

  3. Enjoy your journey with Christ. (V. 14) - Every believer is where he is because someone else enjoyed the journey with Jesus and cared enough to share their journey with you. It is fun to journey with Him.

  4. Celebrate your victories. (V. 15) - Who among you has not changed even one bit since he accepted Christ? If so, then maybe you have not accepted Him at all. Everybody is still learning to be Christlike, but little wins and changes should be celebrated. You have already journeyed far. Celebrate them. When you make a mistake, think that you will learn something from it. If you can think that, then you are in the right track.

God is so good. You were one way but now you are another. Everyone makes mistakes. When you can repent of those mistakes, then you have failed forward.

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