When Failures are Not the End
You know what word scares me...Failure. Failure is such a strong, and not so fun word. No person in their right mind ever wants to hear this word attributed to themselves...I know I don't. But I'll be honest with you; I have failed God many, many times.
Someone else who has failed God on numerous occasions was a man named Peter. I love Peter; He was so strong willed and good intentioned, but there were plenty of times he still fell short. This is the very man who had such great faith in Jesus that He walked on water, ON WATER!!!...but then moments later got frightened and began to doubt, and therefore began to sink (Matthew 14:29-30). This is the same man that said to Jesus, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God", and was told afterward by Jesus "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church"(Matthew 16:13-19). But very shortly afterward, this same Peter was rebuked by Jesus in this verse, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men" -Matthew 16:23. But you know what, when Peter failed, He did not give up.
One of Peter's most obvious failures was when he denied Christ, not just once, but uno, dos, tres times. And not only that, Peter was also warned by Jesus that this would happen, but then Peter swore he would rather die beside Jesus than disown Him (Matthew 26:31-35). But, as Jesus said it would happen, Peter did deny Him three times before the rooster's crow (Matthew 26:69-75). But the beauty of this story was that this failure of Peter's was not the end, none of his were. If you read the book of Acts, it is filled with many stories of Peter and the other disciples picking up where Jesus left off. Peter did go on to be a rock in the church (which is what "Peter" means: rock), or one of the founders of the church one could say. He did many amazing things despite when he failed...and the key was that failure was not the end for Him; when He failed, he allowed God to use it to better him.
This is why Peter's testimony encourages me so much. He so badly wanted to please Jesus, and that is what mattered. Yes he had failures, but he learned from them. It was not Peter's failures that defined him, it was Jesus.
When I look at Peter's life, it really helps me to realize that failure is not the end, not if I don't allow it to be. Peter pressed on. And that is what Jesus wants all of us to do. Yes, I have failed God, and sure, I will fail Him again...but I'm not supposed to be immobilized by the fear of failure. When I do fail, I need to get back up, learn from what happened, and continue pressing on. Peter is a prime example of what God can do through us if we do.
So let us press in, press on, and be used.
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