DOWNFALLS: 4 Principles of Success vs Failure

Early this morning, my conscience shook me awake in prayer. Pressing my heart were the faces of those closest to me in leadership. The Holy Spirit stirred me to understand these were under attack from the enemy. The enemy has them in his cross hairs for downfall. Time to pray.

1  Prayer is effective only with follow-through. No matter how powerful my prayer, a believer called to the frontline of God’s action can fall. Fractured living prevails over God’s desire and design. Believe it. Attend to it.

1 Cor 16:13 Be alert and on your guard; stand firm in your faith (your conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, keeping the trust and holy fervor born of faith and a part of it). Act like men and be courageous; grow in strength! AMPC

A lack of serious consideration and follow through on God’s present design and desire for our life will delay or destroy us.

I ask myself the questions. What is God’s present design and desire for my life? Am I walking it out or waiting on someone or something else? Am I proactively engaging or dispassionately avoiding? Where am I in relation to God’s present will for my life?

I realize the truth. The enemy is aware of God’s design and desire for me. He looks to see a kink in my armor to accuse me before God and to trip me in the path. All he must do is delay me past an appointment with destiny. God lays out a plan to develop me that includes others. They obey and I delay. They make the destination on time only to find me missing. The train leaves the station without me. Another train may come, but my timeline has been shattered and I must wait sometimes for days, months or even years to be rebuilt and repurposed. What would have been the result of Moses’ obedience in the beginning instead of taking a 40-year hike in the wilderness to be refit for the task? How many would have been spared death and defeat had his heart and action been right at the first juncture? Am I willing to take the long route or am I malleable to take the short path?

2  We stand when we stand faithfully. Our speech and practice tells us and others of our faithfulness. Through decades of leadership, I have watched thousands shipwreck on the shores of pride and prejudice. Convinced they are right, they pursue away from faithfulness. The Lord places them in a good place and a great place alongside competent leadership and a healthy family in Christ. Bent on personal correctness, they are unfaithful and disloyal to the whole. They focus on the faults of others and small items and find themselves blocking progress and unity over petty preferences. This is not faithfulness. This is discord and will destroy our progress.

Snide remarks, distasteful asides, and critical bearing keeps us from walking joyfully alongside God’s best. For the sake of the body, the Father must set us to the side and take the family forward into blessing.

Leadership is example. Example in personal disciplines of a Christian is important. Giving, serving, witnessing, prayer, attendance, worship, study, dedication, and fellowship in private and public determine our growth. Some might call this holiness. To be holy means to be set apart for the task. We become sacred carriers of God’s grace and mercy.

Proverbs 28:20 A faithful man shall abound with blessings, but he who makes haste to be rich [at any cost] shall not go unpunished. AMPC

2 Timothy 2:2And the [instructions] which you have heard from me along with many witnesses, transmit and entrust [as a deposit] to reliable and faithful men (persons) who will be competent and qualified to teach others also. AMPC

I ask the questions. Am I faithful with a passion in my private life and public life in key areas? Am I in attendance with full attention and support? Am I giving per my ability and stretching my faith to build the kingdom? When the family worships am I in the game? Have I prayed fervently for the health and wisdom of leaders? Who have I invited on the journey? Is my life evident enough changed by God so others will want to follow?

I realize the truth. King David’s fall happened during a breach in faithfulness. His men were faithful in the field of battle. He stayed behind and enjoyed the pleasures of the castle. In his lack of faithfulness, he engaged with Bathsheba and betrayed her husband and many others. It seemed a small thing. We do the same. To make a few extra dollars, we do not prepare to go up to the house of God. To play an extra hour at a game or with a friend, we abandon an assignment given of God and leadership. Our lack of faithfulness over time breaks down our readiness when we need to act. The enemy looks for our weak moment and strikes hard to take us down. The enemy found his fracture and played on it. David failed to his flaw. Downfall is deadly.


3  We stand when we stand consistently. Erratic performance gets you sidelined. Great athletes fail when they cannot show up and put up consistently. An inconsistent thread in a leader can break them in duress and pull down decades of progress. It is not success that should determine our action but obedience to the call and commission.

When we feel the tug of God to get a task done, we do not presume upon His timing. One task may take a day. Another task may take a decade. Not a day or a decade to success, but a day or a decade of obedient follow through. Do not presume that you will be the one to see the completion of the task. You are assigned a portion of the task for a season. Others join the journey. Be consistent when you feel like it and see the joys and be consistent when you don’t feel like it and all seems painful. God did not call you to pleasure upon pleasure but to joy under pressure. There are many pleasures and many pains. Obedience is better than sacrifice and personal fulfillment.

Proverbs 25:19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth or a foot out of joint.

1 Corinthians 10:13 For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently. AMPC

James 5:7 So be patient, brethren, [as you wait] till the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits expectantly for the precious harvest from the land. [See how] he keeps up his patient [vigil] over it until it receives the early and late rains. AMPC

I ask the questions. Do I speak well of my life in Christ to others? Do I call my life a blessed thing or whine and groan? Have I applied myself as diligently when no results are apparent as when the results are pouring out?

I realize the truth. King Saul is a famous failure. Being God’s selection as first king of Israel was not enough for him. He violated God’s heart. When asked to wait for the prophet, he put himself forward in the eyes of the people and acted inconsistent with the plan. He did what was not his to do. That means he did not do what he was asked to do. He was inconsistent. At one point, he displayed a sensitivity to God’s power and anointing and prophesied powerfully. At other junctures, he did what he wanted to do and fulfilled his own desires. This inconsistency cost him his life and his kingdom. The enemy found his fracture and played on it. Saul failed to his flaw. Downfall is deadly.

4  We stand when we stand congruently. Another word for congruence might be consonance. In music, it is the “the combination of notes that are in harmony with each other due to the relationship between their frequencies.” A congruent life is solid and trustworthy. A congruent servant leader is the same. An agreement in one area is an agreement in all areas. If I can trust you to cut the grass, then I can trust you to prepare for a lesson, I can trust you to pay your bills, and I can trust you listen compassionately to a person needing prayer. If I can only trust you in what you want to do and what fulfills the desires of your flesh, then I cannot trust you at all.

One big failure in Christians is their inability to crucify the flesh, the personal desires and preferences and serve others. “That is not my calling.” “I don’t feel led.” “The spirit told me to do this.” These phrases usually precede disobedience and incongruent behavior. The harmony with God’s heart is not heard. The enemy can hear this lack of harmony and plays directly into it to take us down. I don’t need to feel led to take out the trash, I just need to see a full container. I don’t need to be called to open a door and greet, I just need to see a person walking up. We want to be trusted with the platform but are unwilling to come up underneath it and support it. We are full of ideas with no action. That lack of consonance makes an unattractive sound called hypocrisy.

1 Corinthians 9:25 Now every athlete who goes into training conducts himself temperately and restricts himself in all things. They do it to win a wreath that will soon wither, but we [do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness] that cannot wither. AMPC

1 Timothy 1:19 Holding fast to faith (that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence) and having a good (clear) conscience. By rejecting and thrusting from them [their conscience], some individuals have made shipwreck of their faith. AMPC

I ask the questions. Am I a serving in every area in front of my feet or only those of my choosing? Have I washed the feet of others as the example of Christ or do I run from putting a chair back in place under a table? Who did I miss serving this week? What have I left undone?

I realize the truth. Elijah recovered from his incongruent attitude. A great story is the turn of Elijah. After serving along the creek, facing the king without fear for years, and seeing great power in confronting the enemy, Elijah dropped in self-indulgence alongside the road and whined to God. This was incongruent. The next assignment of God for him was to serve others and train them. Elijah’s incongruent attitude would prevent him from doing this. God had to purge it from him and make him realize he was not alone and he was required to prepare others not just see the glory himself. Elijah balked and then listened. He went to the mountain and allowed God to adjust his attitude and vision. Consequently, the enemy was thwarted and God was glorified and Elijah completed his task. Elisha and others were trained and the ministry continued forward. Elisha become known as the greatest miracle worker prior to Christ because Elijah held to his congruency. The enemy found his fracture and played on it. Elijah failed to his flaw and quickly recovered. Downfall is deadly. Repentance and restored congruency is full of life.

Through all of this, I pray for leaders and building leaders. So many presume upon the grace and mercy of God at the expense of others. Many are sick and die among us because we fail in the field of serving. Many are prevented from coming to Christ because we take the desire and design of God for our life as a sometimes option. The enemy finds our fractures and plays on it. Many fail to the flaw. Downfall is deadly. Repentance is full of life.
It would be remiss for me to ignore this moment and no communicate to those I influence. Our homes depend on quality Christian leaders stepping up in small groups and large. Our cities and states and nations depend on it. It is God’s plan for the strengthening of many. Find your spot in God’s desire and design and be faithful, consistent, and congruent. Watch the enemy fail and God’s goodness prosper.
May the goodness of God be more evident than evil in your world,
Pastor Phil

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