Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Failure Isn't Final

So, how bad did you mess up?  Bad enough that you want to quit?  Enough to feel disqualified, unworthy, or incapable of fulfilling you dreams and goals?  Have you convinced yourself now that you just don't measure up and you never will?

I'd like to suggest before you throw in the towel, that you give it another go.  Seriously, how bad could it really be?

After all, if everybody who failed just gave up, we'd still be in the Dark Ages - or probably at least somewhere in the Industrial Revolution.  Think of all the conveniences we wouldn't be enjoying if inventors had given up on the first (or second, or tenth) try.

Or how long would it have taken the other 10 disciples to create the Church if Peter had gone back fishing - permanently?  But wait, that wasn't even Peter's first pitiful failure was it?  How many times DID he fail?  Let's see, he failed at walking on water, he failed to understand Jesus' parables, he tried to prevent Jesus from fulfilling His mission, Jesus called him Satan (that one goes in the epic failure category), he failed to see the point of the Transfiguration, he failed the forgiveness quiz, he failed the servanthood test, he failed the anger test, he failed to stay awake during Jesus' most crucial prayer meeting, he failed to keep his word, and maybe worst of all, he denied even knowing Jesus on Jesus' most sorrowful night.

Based on all of that, it seems that Peter would have won The World's Worst Failure of Biblical Proportions.  Or did he?  I think we sometimes confuse these two words: fail and fell.  Actually, Peter succeeded at walking on water until he fell in fear.  He stumbled at Jesus' parables but came to understand them in time... and on and on.  Peter's failures were only momentary, and momentary failures are not failures at all.  There is a difference between a fall and a fail.

Peter was destined for greatness, and it shows throughout his life's story - even when he fell.  It was in God's plan that Peter would be a leader.  After all, who was the first (and only) disciple to say to Jesus, "I want to walk on water with you" and step out of the boat?  Peter.  Who thought he should plan Jesus' itinerary?  Peter.  Who had a sword to lead a charge against Jesus' enemies?  Peter.  Who constantly was at Jesus' coattails, watching every move and listening to every word?  Peter.  And when Peter did decide to go back fishing after Jesus' crucifixion, what did the other disciples do?   They followed him!  (John 21)  Even when he fell, Peter couldn't help but live out his God-given destiny as a leader.

Still, Peter didn't have to live out the rest of his days leading from failure.  Something happened on the Day of Pentecost to transform him forever.  Peter began to live, speak, think and act in the power of the Holy Spirit rather through his own abilities.

From my own experience, I can assure you that the Holy Spirit can still turn a mess into a message.  That's what Transformation House is all about:  We want to see people transformed.  We don't look at anyone as a hopeless failure but believe that there is potential through the transforming power of God to give us all a fulfilling purpose. 

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