Conversation Starters: Learn from Failure

Posted by Karah

IMG_3795THE BIBLE MEETS LIFE: The man often lauded as the best basketball player of all time didn’t make the varsity team when he first tried out; yet Michael Jordan didn’t let that stop him. But what about when failure is more than just a missed basket or an error in judgment? What about when we fail spiritually? The failures we see in the Bible—pictures of sin against God—teach us more than just to be strong or get back on our feet when we fall. We can’t simply correct those kinds of failures; only God can remove our sin. In the Book of Joshua, God calls us to confront our sin, deal with it, and move forward.

Concept: Learn from Failure


Judges 4

LIFE POINT: The Israelites did not obey God, so God let the Canaanites rule over the Israelites. The Canaanites’ ruler, or leader, was mean. The Israelite people prayed to God for help. Deborah was a judge in Israel. She sat under a palm tree and helped people solve their problems. A man named Barak came to Deborah. God had told Deborah that Barak should fight against the Canaanite army. God would help him win. Barak gathered an army of 10,000 men. He asked Deborah to go with him to the battle. Deborah and Barak led the fight. God helped Barak’s army win the battle.

LIVE IT OUT: Let your child help make a list of good choices for him—what to eat, when to go to bed, and so forth. Comment that God wants people to make good choices.


Judges 4

LIFE POINT: Deborah was a judge for God’s people. She listened to God, told His messages, and gave advice to the people of Israel. Deborah sent for Barak, the commander of the Israelite army. “God wants you to gather 10,000 men and go fight Sisera,” she said. Barak knew Sisera was the leader of King Jabin’s army. The huge army had 900 iron chariots. “I will go if you will go with me,” Barak said to Deborah. Deborah went with Barak. She said, “The Lord will win this battle for us. Go to battle. This is the day the Lord has given you.” God helped the Israelites. The battle was won!

LIVE IT OUT: Talk with your child about some choices he has made lately. How do these choices match up with what God wants us to do? Remind your child that God always forgives wrong choices when we ask Him for forgiveness.


Joshua 7:13-15,19-21,25-26;8:1

THE POINT: Leaders learn from their failures and move on. What is one lesson Jesus has taught you through failure? In what ways can failure make you a better leader? Discuss the following quote:

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”1 —Ralph Waldo Emerson

LIVE IT OUT: Your student has been encouraged to do one or both Live It Out activities. Here are some suggested ways to help your student:

If he or she plans to complete No More Shame:
• Evaluate your own life. Are you a model for your student of what learning from failure looks like?
• Spend some time praying together, asking for forgiveness and strength to overcome your failures.

If he or she plans to do The Finish Line:
• Talk about who your student wants to be when he or she graduates high school.

1.” Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes,” BrainyQuote [cited 18 November 2015]. Available from the Internet:

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