In the Screwtape Letters, author C.S. Lewis said this about Satan’s strategy: “Get Christians preoccupied with their failures. From there the battle is won.” Too many believers are still living with the agony of defeat in their lives, especially from their sins, guilts and failures. The Apostle Peter spoke a big game, but when it came down to it, he denied Jesus…not once, not twice, but three times. He had brashly declared he would be faithful to Jesus no matter what, but then he failed. But Jesus reinstated Peter to ministry. I think through Jesus’ love, grace and restoration, Peter learned a couple of lessons:
Through Christ, your failures are not fatal. The Apostle Paul said “the wages of sin is death.” That sounds fatal to me. But the good news is that “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). God offers redemption through Christ. He allows us to move on from our sins and failures. He gives us forgiveness. Just when Peter thought his ministry was over, Jesus restored him by commanding, “Go feed my sheep.”
Through Christ, your failures are not futile. In and through Christ, your failures can actually serve a purpose. God can and will take your sins, your sufferings, your mistakes and your failures and turn them into something good (Romans 8:29). Peter used his failures to share the glory and grace of His Lord. In fact, it was Peter who preached the sermon at Pentecost where 3000 people trusted Jesus. His failure was not futile!
Some years ago, a 22-year old man lost his job as a clerk in a store. Later he became a partner in a small store but the business failed. A year later he fell madly in love with a beautiful girl and dated her for four years with the promise of a wonderful future in his mind. Then she left him. Later another girl he loved died. At the ripe age of 37, on his third attempt, he was elected to the state legislature but then lost the seat two years later. At age 40, he was passed over for a political position by appointment and then had a nervous breakdown. At age 41, his son died. At 45, he was defeated for the U.S. Senate. At 47, he was defeated for Vice President. At 49, he was defeated again for the Senate. At 51, however, he was elected President of the United States. And Abraham Lincoln became our nation’s greatest president. He used his failures (what he had learned through them, and how we had grown and matured through them) for much good.
The truth is that we as humans fail. It’s a fact of life: the great Babe Ruth hit 714 career home runs; he also struck out 1,330 times! So, instead of trusting in yourself, put your trust in…
1. God…He never fails! “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6 and Hebrews 13:5).
2. God’s Word…It never fails! “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8 and 1 Peter 1:24-25).
3. God’s love and compassion…they never fail! “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
If and when you fail, remember that God has not failed. He will not, and He cannot. Trust in Him. “On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand.”