Summary: Second in the series "Meet the Cast." To really understand how to overcome despair in times of failure, we must see the transformation in Peter’s life after Jesus conquered death and rose from the dead.
Thank God He uses failures! I’m not sure where I would be if God did not use people who continually mess up. I believe there is man in scripture who can totally relate to this. It’s Peter. As I read the accounts of Peter while he faithfully followed Jesus, I also see a passionate man. I see a man who was rugged, uneducated, yet very smart. This fisherman turned disciple was often the first to talk which caused him some serious embarrassment. However, he was also the first to act on the faith he had in Jesus. This earns him a great deal of respect from me.
In Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of The Christ” we see Peter’s life summed up by his denial of Christ. Though this movie is accurate, the depiction of Peter, though accurate, is still incomplete, mainly because this two hour movie is not focused on Peter but on Jesus. Peter did what any one of us would have done. If you’re proud enough to say you would not do this you, are uninformed about the cruelty of the Romans. Peter knew Jesus was in trouble. He also knew that he alone would not be able to save Him. Peter feared for his own life; even though his heart was to speak up for Jesus, even to fight for his release, as was evidenced in the drawing of his sword and the cutting off of the
To really understand how to overcome despair in times of failure, we must see the transformation in Peter’s life after Jesus conquered death and rose from the dead. We must witness the validation of Peter by Jesus when He commanded Peter to feed His sheep three times as a mark of complete forgiveness and restoration. We must see the man willing to risk his life to be an Apostle and eventually be crucified upside down because of his humility toward his friend, Master and Savior, Jesus Christ. Peter teaches us how to conquer despair when we have failed. Mark my words, you and I will fail. The question is how many times will we get back up? Peter fell, but he always got back up.
Proverbs 24:16 (MSG)
No matter how many times you trip them up, God-loyal people don’t stay down long; soon they’re up on their feet, while the wicked end up flat on their faces.
Remember; before you can fail you have to try. In my opinion, Peter is one of the greatest and genuinely real characters who exemplify faith in scripture. Faith is the key to overcoming despair. Faith is the only way to please God, and Peter had great faith. Let’s take a look at the five steps to overcoming despair. The first is…
1. Focus on the problem solver not the problem.
Any Christian who desires a victorious life, an abundant life, must put their faith in God who solves every problem according to his great pleasure and perfect will. The problem with most Christians is when problems arise we get upset with God. We ask “Why?” We don’t look to Him as our Heavenly Father who does only what is best for us. We see Him as a cruel, vindictive God. This keeps all of us from doing great things for the kingdom and it keeps us from ever getting out of the boat and walking on water. This is the opposite of Peter. He took “risks because he had faith. (Give background on story)
Matthew 14:28 (MSG)
Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the
Peter says “Lord call me.” In the original language one meaning is “command me” to come to you. Peter doesn’t want to be asked, he wants Jesus to tell him. Do you know why? Because whenever God commands us to do something, He always makes sure we can do it. He equips us. God will never ask you to go through anything He hasn’t equipped you for. He will never give you a task that you cannot accomplish, through his strength. That’s why Peter says “Call me, Command me, to get out and walk to you Lord.” Now many people just want to focus on what happened next. It is true that Peter started looking around at the waves and got scared. But I don’t see any of the other disciples out there with him. No one else got out of the boat.
Matthew 14:30 (MSG)
But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”
He got a lot further than everyone else. Yet there is a lesson in Peter’s failure, and it is this. We must keep our eyes on Christ. We can’t let the waves of the world scare us. Remember, our focus should be on the problem solver not the problem itself.