Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lessons from Failure

Why do you think the Bible is filled with so many stories of failure? I mean if we were to write a book and wanted it to be popular with people everywhere, wouldn't we want to keep out all the mistakes rather than include them? Precisely why the Bible isn't written by man, it was written by God.

God wrote about failures so that we can be careful and learn from the mistakes others had made and realize that God works with people who fail.

If you look at all the disciples that followed Jesus, one sticks out more so than all the others. Which do you think of? If your like me, it's Peter. We can all remember Peter's failures more than most because we can relate to a guy like Peter. He is like us.

Let us look at the 7 steps that lead to Peters failure but also to our own failures as well.

1. Self Confidence ~ Matthew 26:33. We take the story of Peter's denial because it is so memorable. First because Peter considered himself the most loyal and faithful of all of Jesus' disciples. He did this on more than one occasion. Yet here with Jesus, Peter declares that he will never fail Jesus. "Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will."

Peter acted this way because he was self confident in his abilities to handle some of Jesus' difficult questions and come up with the right answer. Not always did Peter answer correctly. It is realistic to assume that Peter often led most of the discussions among the disciples.

Even when Jesus tells Peter otherwise on this occasion, Peter argues with Jesus. "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "this very night, before the rooster crows you will disown me three times."

But Peter declared, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." (Matthew 26:34-35.

We, as Christians, do great at guarding the areas in our life where we are weak, it's our strong areas where we are the most vulnerable. We will fall most of the times, in the areas where we think we are the strongest.

Abraham failed in his strongest area, his faith. While taking his wife traveling in Egypt, he suggests to his wife that if anyone asks, she is his sister. He lied about her being his wife. Why?
Because he didn't trust God enough even though their were times before where his faith passed. He got over confident and felt he could do it without God's help.

Samson failed in his strongest area, his physical strength. His was a gift from God and on numerous occasions put his faith in God and God allowed him to use his strength to defeat the enemies of God. However, it was Delilah who gained his confidence and shared his secret to the Philistines. Yet when Samson awoke, he failed to go to God first and tried in vain to use his own strength to defeat the Philistines and failed.

Joshua and the walls of Jericho failed in trusting God always. God told Joshua exactly how to bring down the walls of Jericho, and Joshua succeeded by following in God's will. Yet when Joshua got confident and he felt he could tackle a smaller city without God's help, he failed.

We need to remember one very important thing.

"When I try, I fail. Yet when I trust God, I succeed."

We need to be seeking God daily in all things, not just when life hands us a storm to deal with. Without Him, I can do nothing is a great Bible verse, yet how many of us live our lives like this every day?

Notice that in the word Pride, the letter I is the middle letter? Once self confidence is reigning in our life, it will lead to...

2. Prayerlessness. We simply stop bothering God with the small stuff and save all the bigger stuff for Him to deal with. So we simply stop praying. It is guaranteed to lead to a mess every time.

"We have not, because we ask not." James 4:2

Let us not forget to involve God in everything in our life, the good, the bad, and even the ugly! If you are persistent in prayer, that is where the real power is. If we give up prayer, then it leads to...
3. Busyness. Peter cut off the ear of the guard because he failed to stay awake when Jesus asked him to. He reacted instead of responded. We have a tendency to do this as well. We judge people based on how busy they are doing the work of God as if that is a spiritual indicator of how close they are to God. We relate to the "what's" rather than the "hows" of what people are doing. Our lives should be a testament to our relationships with God. Jesus fixes Peter's mistake by healing the guard so even if they were to say it happened, there is now no longer any proof of it.

4. Following at a Distance or Cooling Off follows busyness. No one ever backslides in one day. Its a slow work in progress starting with step one. It takes place over a period of time. You move away from having God as your priority. You don't come to church like you used to. You pass up the Sunday service, the Bible study you were part of, in hopes of doing something else like hanging out with friends, family or even working. If you continue on this path it will lead to...

5. Warming Yourself By The Enemies Fire! Based on the coldness going on in our lives at this point, things that we wouldn't normally consider start to look a little fun. Perhaps we take a route we shouldn't. We stop by the bar to talk to friends and perhaps we will offer to take them to church next Sunday, but the conversation never gets around to that. Keep this up and it will lead to ...

6. Walking Through the Enemies Fire. Now that you are actually in the bar, having that conversation with our friends, he offers you a beer. After all the Bible doesn't say you can't have a beer right? So what's the harm? Keep this up and you will find yourself at the bottom of the ladder and ...

7. Sitting in the Enemies Fire. You are now in a miserable place. Like Peter when Jesus' truths about his denial came true upon the rooster crowing, poor Peter was overwhelmed and left weeping. Peter was in the last step of the ladder of failure. How many of us have been on this very path? Yet when Jesus rose from the dead, He asked for Peter. Why? Because Jesus knew poor Peter was doomed with despair and depressed. He reached out to him personally because He forgave Peter. He had hope that Peter would be able to not only recover but could share what it is like to fall so far and yet come back due to forgiveness of God.

From the time that Jesus talked with Peter on the shores of Gailee, Peter was completely humbled and not the same self confident, arrogant person he was at the beginning. He was changed. So can you. We just need to turn our lives back to Jesus and watch out for the steps to failure. God put them there for a reason, to keep us on guard of our strengths, which will lead to our failures! Guard them well!


Grandma Elsie said...

I am so glad I took time to read your blog this morning. it is like a good devotional for me. So much truth laid down in a such a realistic way that we can't fail to understand how we have nothing to be prideful about ..I needed this today... It will help me stay humble before God.
I love your new picture for your blog. It is so refreshing..
Elsie <><

Warren Baldwin said...

This was outstanding. Really. I can look at these seven steps and htink about seveal times I have stumbled, and the process fits right in with these steps. Excellent job.

In a day or so I am going to have a give-away of my book, 'Roaring Lions, Cracking Rocks ...' Hope you'll link over and sign up.

And thanks for this post.

Daveda said...

"When I try, I fail. Yet when I trust God, I succeed."

Taking the focus off of the ability of self and placing it on God is truly the way to walk in victory.

Mari said...

I've always found it comforting to look at some of these people, because it's a reminder of how God loves us in spite of our failures.

RCUBEs said...

Great post sister Kat! It is scary when we backslide and think we are still okay with our spiritual health, without realizing we actually had given ourselves to the enemy! Thank you for the reminder today the need for us to really include God in everything that we do. God bless you sister Kat and I love hanging out here in this cozy place. I am drinking my java as I enjoy your penetrating message :) Love to you.

SusanD said...

Outstanding! You have a true gift of explaining God's word and lessons. It easy to see the progression to the enemy's camp. Thank you so much for sharing this message. Blessings, SusanD

Darcie said...

Yes, I have always had a soft spot for Peter, because like you mentioned...it's so easy to see ourselves in him. Beautifully written post Kat.

Candee Fick said...

Thanks for the reminder that failure doesn't happen overnight. It's a path that starts when we take our eyes off our need for God.

Um, isn't that pride? And pride comes before a fall. Great lesson.

Unknown said...

You are speaking the truth in love today, Kat. We need to be paying attention for sure, so that we don't walk down that path.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Kat! Exactly what I needed to read today!

Greg C said...

I love the new look on your blog. This was a great post too. With all my recent failures, I must be doing something right. :)

Saleslady371 said...

This is a helpful devotional your wrote, Kat. Like Peter, I think I can be strong, but if I don't watch carefully and miss the steps, I can fail. I know it, but I still have to be aware!

Charlotte said...

Hi Kat, Good points! I guess this must be the day for new page headers. I like your new look. Thanks for sharing.


Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Great post.....So many failures in my life make me stronger today.....Thanks for sharing your thoughts..

LisaShaw said...

Kat, in a word -- POWERFUL! Much to chew on!

Love your new header.

Love you.

Catherine Anne said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I just saw that you came by the hs blog, I would love to have you stop by the family blog sometime- http://catherineanne5.blogspot.com/
Blessings Catherine

Denise said...

This was really wonderful, thanks sweetie. Sorry my lovebugs bothered you today, be blessed.

Five Moms & A Blog said...

How many times do we neglect to bring the "little" things to the Lord, and how many times is it the little things that trip us up?

Also, sometimes when things get rough, believers tend to step out of ministry. They drop many of the things they are responsible for, and hunker down to wait out the storm.

Yet, they are missing the very real opportunity to push through and see the Lord deliver them through the storm.

They miss the opportunity to live what they believe. We think we need to give up when it gets hard, when that's the time to keep on being faithful in our walk and ministry, and trust the Lord to be faithful!

~ Nan

Just Be Real said...

Kat, what an eye-opener! This is a great post. I have learned so much here. Thank you for sharing! Blessings!

Jane In The Jungle said...

WOW! I missed you while I was on vaca!

Billy Coffey said...

This was so wonderfully written, Kat. And just what I needed to hear today!

Sue said...

Hi Kat,
One of the most inspiring messages I have read in a very long time. 'When i try I fail, but when I trust God, I succeed." What an awesome and true statement.

I have always found encouragement , while reading of the lives of these men.
Thank you so much for sharing.

Mimmy said...

Kat, could I have your permission to print this post. It would be great for me to use in a ladies' devotional sometime. I'm always looking for good material.

Thanks and God Bless,

wife.mom.nurse said...

Very convicting.

You have a way with words.

(Thanks for the computer tip!)


Elle Bee said...

Kat, this was a very inspiring post. I always learn more (usually about myself!) when I come here. Thank you for that. I've been away for a few days so this is the first time I've seen your new header. IT IS FABULOUS!!! I LOVE IT!! So beautiful. And i love the scripture across the top. Awesome.

christy rose said...

This is so excellent. I love the example you used about Joshua. It is so true, "When I try, I fail. Yet when I trust God, I succeed." When Joshua just took matters in his own hands, he was set back. But, when he turned back to God, depending on Him, he surged forward into the promised land. Keeping God in the center of our lives, knowing that we can not do anything without Him and His grace is what enables us to go forward in the provision of God's promise in our lives. This is so so so good. I loved it!