Peter denied the Lord three times. The moment of denial was not muted or silent. Instead the Bible tells us that it was vehement. Matthew tells us that he made an oath, cursed and swore that he did not know Jesus.
I’ve often looked upon the accounts of Peter’s denial with mixed emotions. If there is one thing that is certain, I do not want to be in Peter’s shoes. I look at it with much trepidation wondering if like Peter, my mistakes and failures are recorded somewhere in heaven where someday everyone may read about them. I would rather my mistakes and failures are covered and concealed than for them to become object lessons for the saints of God for all eternity.
Yet on the flip side of the coin, Peter’s life gives me great encouragement. I see a man flawed and very human indeed. Yet, God used him mightily. His life gives us hope that God can restore even when we have fallen. It wasn’t just a restoration to status quo, but to the very man that God had destined for him to be. Simon the reed, became Peter the rock, from one who was once unstable and petulant to a stalwart and pillar on which the New Testament church was established. His shadow healed the sick and he opened the doors for the gospel to go to the Gentiles. History tells us as well that he died a martyr for the Lord.
There are two thoughts that I want to share with you from Peter’s failure:–
1. Failure surfaces our weaknesses
There is always a cause for failure. The lack of checks and balances results in a company being defrauded. A little pornography here and there eventually leads to fornication. Unchecked anger explodes in a moment of frustration and results in violence. Failure doesn’t randomly rear its head in our lives. Instead, it is a reflection of a consistent weakness or oversight that culminates into something visible and damaging. Failure has the uncanny ability to reveal something hidden so that we are given the opportunity to deal with the underlying weakness that is the cause.
In like manner, that is what happened to Peter. Peter had a consistent habit of rattling off before thinking it through in his heart which got him into countless problems. Peter was always more mindful of what was happening in front of his eyes rather than the spiritual reality. He resisted the Lord’s proclamation of dying on the cross and was rebuked for the lack of understanding for the things of God. Likewise, his denial of the Lord was a result of not taking heed to the Lord’s words that the enemy was seeking to sift and test him.
Failure reveals the parts of the lesson that we have not learnt. If we can see failure in the right perspective, we will value failure truly for what it is worth, rather than despise it.
2. Failure is not the end of the story
We get caught in the moment of failure and think that our lives end there. For many people it does. Simply because we can’t get over the hump and the emotions that failure brings in that moment. However, if we can see that failure is part of life’s journey and our story doesn’t end there, we will get over the hump and keep moving on. It is this moving on that made Peter’s story what it is. We see the denial not with a sense of judgment or disappointment, instead, it’s an episode that defined and transformed Peter. If we will stay in the race, then at some point, the failure ceases to be a failure and becomes a catapult for us into God’s plans.
My encouragement for you this week, is that you will not let failures end your story. Instead, allow them to thrust you into true success in Christ Jesus.
Pastor Lim Lip Yong