Are you ready to fail?
Not exactly the start of a good self-help maual. Not precisely in line with the church teaching of "no negative confession." But from my experience, a pressing, prescient question that we all might ask.
Who is your favorite failure in the Bible? I'd have to say, of the many attractive options, mine is Peter. Here's a guy who's so bold that he walks on water. He asks to dive head first and immerse his whole body in Jesus' baptism of cleansing. This is a fellow who chops off ears in the name of Jesus--talk about making a bold statement! Peter was a tough talking, fast acting sailor in the Lord's Navy. But Jesus tells him point blank he's going to fail.
Luke 22: 31"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." Imagine that, the Lord Jesus looking you full in the face and telling you, "You're going to blow it today bud." How would you feel? I might blush, stammer, beg for forgiveness before I even half know what I'm going to do.
But not Peter. 33But he (Peter) replied, "Lord, I am ready..."Peter was ready not to fail. He looked at his heart, his spirit, his courage, and even in the face of Jesus' warning of impending failure, he was ready NOT to fail. Such overconfident ignorance proved his undoing.Of course he did fail. (Imagine that, Jesus was right) And he wept bitterly when he recognized what he had done.
But I think we can learn just a couple things about failure from this:
1. Jesus knows even in our good times that we're going to fail him.
We don't impress him or persuade him by our righteousness to love us more. He is imminently aware of our failings, but loves us anyway.
2. Jesus prays for us in light of our future failings.
He is our great High Priest...He knows our weaknesses, and is sympathetic in every one of them. There's no need to hide our weaknesses from Jesus!
3. Jesus in His providence can redeem our failures.
Not that He wants us to fail, but Jesus already is planning to use Peter's struggles to help him strengthen his brothers.
So are you ready to fail? I don't mean planning on it, or making the mistake of the libertine who increases sin that grace may abound (Rom. 6) Rather, are you as pragmatic as Jesus, knowing that your frame is but dust, praying to Jesus that he would help turn you around before during and after any failure? Do you hide your weakness from JEsus thinking he will be more impressed with your goodness? Do you dare think that even your greatest blunders could prevent God from working in and through you, to strengthen others? Then you may be ready NOT to fail.
I ask again, are you ready to fail?