FAILURE NEED NOT BE FINAL

One of the shortest graduation speeches that I ever heard began with these words, “I wish you success, but I promise you failure.”  The good news of Jesus Christ has many amazing facets, not the least of which is that failure need not be final.  Acknowledging that all people sin is the same as acknowledging that all people fail.  I have failed in more ways than I care to remember.  Oh how gracious is my Lord that he has seen to it time and again that my failures not have the last word.  I was meditating on Luke 22: 31 and 32 this morning and these thoughts came to me.  Satan loses control over our eternal destiny when we trust in Jesus Christ as savior.  In his rage he seeks to destroy our effectiveness and our peace, love, and joy in the Lord.  That is what he had in mind for Simon Peter.  Can’t you just imagine his plotting and scheming to take Simon Peter to a place that Peter never imagined he would go?  He would exploit some of Peter’s weaknesses and fears to lead him to deny and betray Jesus.  The denial is obvious.  The betrayal is more subtle.  In a very real sense his betrayal is as serious as that of Judas Iscariot.  The only real difference is the timing of it and the payment for it.  His betrayal follows the crisis of the arrest of Jesus when he vehemently denies the Lord three times, even cursing on the third denial.  His payment is not thirty pieces of silver, but saving his own neck in the face of an opportunity to stand with Jesus.  Judas chose that his failure be final.  He went out and hanged himself after showing great remorse for what he had done in betraying an innocent man.  It seems he never completely understood who Jesus is and why he came.  Peter, on the other hand, wept bitterly and passed through his sorrows to the Lord’s full and gracious new work in his life.  In my heart I know it would not be the end of Peter’s failures because there was a dispute with Paul later over Peter struggling to stand in solidarity with Gentile believers in the face of the Judaizeers who wanted all Christians to embrace Judaism along with embracing Christ.  Failure hounds us through life, but it can not master us because faith really is the victory that overcomes the world. It seems to me that Peter never failed again so miserably as the night of his denials. Peter, however, discovered that failure does not have the last word when we are in Christ and Christ is in us.  Be encouraged my brothers and sisters.  Failure is not final because He never fails those who trust in him.

Glory to God!

Dan Wooldridge

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