Summary: A final look at standing firm in faith as we look at Peter and what it means to fail or not to fail. A new definition of failure.
June 16, 2019
Video compilation of fails . . . Youtube.
How do we define failure.
It seems that when we don’t succeed at something, we say we’ve failed. We didn’t win the championship, so we failed to win the championship. I didn’t get the job I wanted, I failed to get the job. I missed that shot, so I failed. I didn’t make millions of dollars, so I failed as a provider. That list could go on and on of our failures. I didn’t get the girl or boy, so I’m a failure.
We talk about the fact that we all fail. That failure is inevitable. So, one of the things I want to do as we talk about failure . . . is to redefine what failure means. It least what it means according to my definition. Because I believe it’s too easy to say, “I failed, therefore, I am a failure.” It’s too easy to make that jump from not getting something we wanted to suddenly pinning the failure tag on ourselves.
We’ve been talking about standing firm in our faith. Today is the last Sunday of this series. At times, we mess up. We sin, we do wrong, we make mistakes, we don’t do what we should do, in fact, Paul reminds us of that fact when he speaks personally about himself, saying - -
15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. – Romans 7:15, 19
Paul could label himself as having failed to do what he believed was right to do. Some might then label Paul as a failure. If we were Paul, we might have said, we’re failures. We can do the same when we don’t do what we believe we should be doing.
My struggle with the word failure and failed is that it’s too easy of a label to pin on ourselves. So, let me tell you my take on failure. Failure is inaction! Failure is not making an attempt to do what you believe you are supposed to do. If I try, then I have not failed. For example, if Alexandria doesn’t win the championship, some would say we failed. But I don’t believe we failed. We simply didn’t succeed as we hoped for. The fact that you competed and tried, and worked to attain that goal is not failure. Failure would have been quitting, failure would have been not making the attempt.
Even if you tried out for the team and you got cut . . . you didn’t fail. It’s easy to label yourself as a failure. But you didn’t fail!! You simply didn’t succeed in your pursuit to make the team. If you applied and interviewed and did the best you could, but didn’t the get the job, you didn’t fail, you didn’t succeed as you hoped for.
So, with that in mind, when we don’t succeed or even if we have failed, then we’ve opened ourselves up for an opportunity to have God work in our lives in a way which can change who we are. Remember, the point of this series is to have a faith which helps us to stand firm in all circumstances.
To do that, we’re going to look at a guy named Peter. He’s one of the most famous of the disciples of Jesus. He’s the one who ultimately became the leader of the early church. Yet, Peter messed up, and his story gives us a great example of someone who allowed God to work in his life after failing and not succeeding.
Peter was bold, brash and pretty confident about who he was. The night before Jesus was going to be crucified, the disciples were eating dinner with Jesus. It was the “Last Supper”, and during that Passover meal, Jesus looked at the guys in the room and said ‘someone was going to betray Him.’ We know it was Judas. But at that time, nobody else did.
In Luke 22, after the supper, Jesus looked at the disciples and said --
31 “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
33 Peter answered Jesus, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.”
34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.”
35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same. – Luke 22:31-35