How to Successfully Fail - Kris Vallotton

April 10, 2017

On the first day of each year at the Bethel Supernatural School of Ministry, I tell our students that if they don’t fail at least three times during the school year they can’t graduate. (Of course I am not talking about moral failure and I make that very clear.) You may be asking yourself why I am telling my students to fail at school. It may sound crazy, but I believe that we all need to learn to fail successfully.

If you never fail, you haven’t really taken a risk. The word risk means to “place something valued in a position or situation where it can be damaged, lost, or exposed to danger.” Oftentimes, in order to step into greater levels of the supernatural, we must be willing to take risks and even make mistakes. Risk is one of the main catalysts to a supernatural lifestyle. So how do we cultivate risk? When I taught my children to ride their bikes, I took them over to the lawn so that when—not if—they fell, they wouldn’t get hurt. If we want to encourage others into living supernaturally, we need to develop a culture where trying and failing is viewed as success.

Was Judas a Risk for Jesus?

This point was driven home to me a few years ago. I met a great leader for lunch; I’ll call him “John.” We talked for a while over lunch, but I sensed that he was discouraged, so I asked him what was bothering him. His eyes welled up with tears as he began to tell me the story of one of his best friends who had been his church treasurer for many years. John discovered a couple of days before he came to the conference that his friend had embezzled more than a million dollars from his church. As you can imagine, he was really hurting, feeling betrayed and disillusioned. He began to pour out his heart to me and concluded his story with the statement, “I will never trust anyone like that again. I am going to put safeguards and double-checks into our church structure that require a high degree of accountability. I will never let someone do this to me again.” I knew he was speaking out of a lot of hurt, but I felt I needed to help him process his pain. I said to him, “John, the Bible says that Judas was a thief and Jesus knew it (John 12:4-7). Yet Jesus made Judas the treasurer of his ministry. Why would Jesus make Judas the treasurer when He knew that he was a thief?”

“I don’t have any idea,” he responded, as if it was a trick question.

“Well,” I said, “there are only two reasons I can think of. The first one is that Jesus was trying to make Judas fail. But that doesn’t seem like the Jesus I know.” John nodded in agreement.

“The second reason I can think of is that Jesus developed a culture of faith around Him. This faith culture was manifested in Jesus’ trusting people before they deserved it. This resulted in eleven men becoming world-changers and one man hanging himself.” I continued on to explain that world-changers are only developed in a culture of faith. Faith requires risk, and the nature of risk is that sometimes you lose. I continued, “John, it is probably wise for you to put more checks and balances in your accounting system, but if you stop believing in your people you won’t create world-changers!”

While I believe in people around me, it is the people who have believed in me who have actually changed me the most. If you don’t produce a Judas now and then, you don’t trust people as much as you should and you are reducing the number of Peters you will produce. The Kingdom is entered into by faith, lived in through faith, and extended with faith manifested through risk!

You Can’t Have Adventure Without Risk

This reminds me of the years we lived in the Trinity Alps. We, like most others, had a four-wheel-drive vehicle because we needed it in the winter to get around. We were pretty broke, so we would go four-wheeling for entertainment. We would put our Jeep in two-wheel drive and venture through the mountains until we got stuck. Then we would put it in four-wheel drive to get out. Later on we bought a winch so that we could travel in four-wheel drive until we bogged down and then winch ourselves out. If you have never been stuck before, there is a bunch of gorgeous country you have never seen!

The supernatural nature of the Kingdom lies off-road. You can’t get there in your Lexus, Cadillac, or Lincoln. If comfort, safety, and dignity are your gods, you will be confined to the pavement of religion and never discover the true beauty of His amazing world that lies just on the other side of the fear of man. There’s a reason that the One sent to guide you into the realms of the Spirit is called the Comforter. If you follow Him, you’re going to need one. So today I want to encourage you to actively take a risk and step outside of your comfort zone, and I hope that in the process of taking more risk you’ll learn to fail well. Do you have a testimony of when a risk really paid off in your life? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Topics: All TopicsFreedomIdentityInspiration