ODJ: The Failure Wall

July 22, 2016 

READ: Mark 9:14-29 

[The disciples] asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?” Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer” (vv.28-29).

What if you were asked to write your failures on a wall for everyone to see? What if the person doing the asking was your boss? That’s exactly what happens every day at Dun and Bradstreet Credibility Corp. Jeff Stibel, chief executive officer, came up with the Failure Wall. Stibel encourages his employees to write their failures on the 10 by 15 foot surface in order to succeed in their work and in life.

Jesus wanted His disciples to acknowledge and own their failures so they could succeed in His mission. Here’s one thing the disciples could have written down: “We didn’t seek God’s power in prayer while dealing with a demon.”

When Jesus, Peter, James and John arrived at the foot of the mountain after Jesus had been transfigured, they found an anguished father whose son was possessed by a demon (Mark 9:2-3,17-18). The evil spirit had robbed the boy of his speech and hearing.

The father had brought his son to be healed by Jesus, but in His absence the man had approached the disciples. Though they’d been given authority to cast out demons (6:7,13), on this day they weren’t able to do it. Jesus healed the man’s son, causing the disciples to ask: “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?” (9:28). The disciples had tried to act in their own strength, instead of praying to God and depending on Him.

We all face the reality of spiritual attacks in this life. And our own sinful nature can lead us to follow temptations that will lead to failure. How can we be better prepared to follow God and not fail? By studying Scripture (Ephesians 6:17), putting on our spiritual armour (6:10-17), growing in faith (1 John 5:4-5), relying on Jesus’ power (John 16:33) and depending on Him in prayer (Ephesians 6:18).

—Marvin Williams

365-day plan: Mark 8:22-9:1

Read 2 Kings 4:32-35 to see how Elisha prepared to battle the dark force of death. 
In what ways do you need to be prepared for encounters with spiritual enemies? What piece of armour in Ephesians 6:10-17 do you most need to put on today?