1Corinthians 9:24 … “You must run to win.” No one plans to fail but it happens! Have you ever heard a high school student say they hope they fail the final exam? A young couple that hopes their marriage ends in divorce or a business owner who tries to go into bankruptcy? No one has. It’s ludicrous, absurd and unheard of. We all want to win!
When Joshua ordered the Israeli military forces to conquer a city called Ai, they failed in their attempt. The odds were stacked in their favor. They outnumbered the city 10 to 1 and had valiant warriors. They had great skill, a proven strategy and a history of success. No one would have bet on Ai but Israel failed and it cost them. Approx 35 to 40 men lost their lives in that battle. It’s recorded in Joshua Chapter 7.
If 35 to 40 men and women were killed in Iraq or Afghanistan today it would be of national interest. Someone would be asking the tough questions. There are reasons behind every failure.
Among other things, Joshua failed because he acted upon bad advice. The details are recorded in Joshua 7. He was told the city was puny and the number of solders was inconsequential. Therefore don’t send all the warriors. Send only a small percentage.
Lesson One! Whenever you put out minimum effort you set yourself up for failure. You must give it your ALL in everything you do: business, marriage, family, relationships or education. Don’t listen to the voices that say you can get along by giving the least. You ‘may’ fail even after you give it your all but you ‘will’ fail if you invest only the minimum.
Lesson Two: You must listen to people but also discern between good and bad advice.
Who should you listen to?
1. Listen to people who disagree with you. That’s hard because people who disagree with us tend to make us mad, especially if they have an irritating manner. Think about it though: If the only people you ever listen to are the ones who agree with you - your mind will never be stretched - your actions will never be challenged - and your course will never be altered - even though it might need to be.
2. Listen to those who love you. They have your best interest in mind.
3. Listen to people who have demonstrated a pattern of wisdom.
4 Listen to people who know God and love his Word.
God’s Word will give the wisdom needed to help you discern between good and bad advice. At some point you must receive or reject the advice coming your way. There are a myriad of opinions on every subject and you must sort through them. Discernment happens when you seek God’s opinion more than the human consensus.
When you do fail however, what can you do? These suggestions might help.
1. Don’t react but respond. Failure doesn’t have to be final.
2. Don’t blame God or anyone else for the failures you experience. Joshua did the right thing by going to God immediately but did the wrong thing by blaming him for the failure.
3. Don’t beat yourself up but look up to God for forgiveness.
4. Get to the root cause and deal with it.
5. Don’t focus on what has been done but focus on what can be done now.
If you have failed, you are in good company. We all have! But you must get up and start running again. Run to Win!