Recently I have been analyzing my life from several different angles. This is mainly due to the struggle of dealing with disappointments and failures over the past few years. I have found that this exercise is paralyzing! So today I decided to spend some time in the Word and work towards getting back on track regarding the vision that God has placed in my life. (I’ll share about that at a later date).

God’s Word is certainly like a medicine, and I would like to share with you my journey through the scriptures as I attempt to clear the fog. I began to study a few of the Psalms, which always helps me out of the “mully-grubs” and then I did a quick word study. This word study came out of the phrase that kept entering my mind, “It’s all or nothing!” Indulge me a bit while I share this with you . . .

In Psalm 107 we are encouraged to “give thanks to the Lord for he is good.” And then it goes on to reveal how the redeemed experience different situations and their respond to those events. Every situation whether it was circumstances beyond their control, or something of their own doing, the Lord delivered them out of their trouble. Take a few moments and read this Psalm and see that the Lord was there to rescue anyone who turned to him. This is our hope.

We can see life is a series of events that can either destroy us or strengthen us. They can cause us to cry out to God or give up. Wouldn’t it be great if our life was filled with goals accomplished, achievements made without disappointments and having success after success. But unfortunately life does not happen that way. We have disappointments and even failures. But what is the difference between a disappointment and a failure.

Disappointment is when our hopes or expectations are not satisfied. “Dis” meaning a reversal or negation and “appoint” meaning to make arrangements or prescribe, to set in or establish. So a disappointment is when something we have attempted to establish is negated, or reversed. Failure is when actions are insufficient or fall short of missing a goal. There is a lack of success. What is the difference?

Disappointments come from circumstances beyond our control or responsibilities whereas failure is due to our own error. Certainly we can be disappointed at our own failures, but many times the most frustrating form of disappointment was something we could do nothing about. Either way, in disappointment or failure we are disappointed. Disappointment will rob us of all our emotional energy and cause us to want to give up. Proverbs 13:12; “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

How do disappointments happen? We have an expectation that we believe should be met, and because we set up this expectation, when it does not come through we get angry. We get disappointed and possibly depressed. We may even feel that we have the right to have this expectation met in our life and sense that we have gotten a bad deal. Any area of our life that we are continually disappointed in reveals that it is an area that we have not given over to the Lordship of Jesus Christ!

1 Corinthians 6:19,20 says; Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” We are bought with a price, we are not our own. If something is not meeting up to your expectations, and we are continually be angry, and disappointed then have we really given this to the Lord without reservation or condition? Are you disappointed about your finances? Your job? Your family?

What about failure, how does failure happen? Jesus said in John 15:5; “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” Failure is when God is not in it! It is nothing, or it amounts to nothing. God does not lead us to fail, but to bear fruit. God will certainly use our failures to teach us, and he redeems our mistakes (Psalm 107). If what we are doing is in obedience to God we cannot fail even if it looks like failure at first. We may be disappointed, but that is a matter of expectation, but not failure. If we are disappointed we have a problem with who is in charge. If we fail then it is obvious that the Lord was not in charge.

So what is the solution? There is a basic principle that is in God word that reveals to us how to handle things that are beyond our control. These things may disappoint us sometimes, and we may even fail this is what I call the “All or Nothing Principle.”

First let’s look at the “Alls” in God’s Word. As we grasp these and meditate on them our minds will be renewed and disappointments will be few. Let’s take a look at some of these. In 2 Corinthians 4:1-18 look at all the alls! Of course we don’t have the space to put the full text here – but note the following that reveals to us that this is all for our benefit:

“ . . . But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. . . . All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. . . . So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Look at all the alls in Romans 8! V. 28 “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.” Even here we see that all things can work together for good, for our benefit. No disappointment there! Romans 8:37 goes on to say; “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Here are some more “alls”:

· Romans 11:33-36 – All things come from God.

· 1 Corinthians 13:7 – God (love) never fails, always protects, hopes and perseveres!

· 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – God always comforts us.

· 2 Corinthians 9:8 – God is able to make all things abound for us.

· Ephesians 1:11-12 – He works out everything for His will, for us.

· Philippians 2:14-16 – Do all things without complaining.

· Philippians 3:7-9 – All things are considered lost – except knowing Him.

· Philippians 4:11-21 – Be content in all circumstances . . .He will supply all your needs.

· 1 Peter 5:7-10 – Cast all your cares on Him, and He will restore, but you may suffer a little while.

What about the nothings? Here are some scriptures that reveal the nothings which will guard you from failure. Philippians 2:3 tells us to; “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” This will remove the fear of failure right out of the equation because we are not in it for ourselves.

Here are some other “nothings” that will guard us from failure:

· 1Timothy 6:6-7 – We brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out!

· James 1:2-4 – When we are mature we are wanting nothing.

· John 15:5 – we can do nothing without Him.

· 1 Corinthians 13:2-3 – without love we are nothing and we gain nothing.

· Luke 1:37 – Nothing is impossible.

· John 6:63 – Our flesh is nothing.

· 2 /Corinthians 6:1-10 – We have nothing, but we posses all things!

It is amazing that the phrase “all or nothing” can set our thinking straight. I sense I am on my way to seeing my “vision” restored. It is so true that the eye muscle is directly connected to the heart muscle! What is in our heart will always effect what we see.