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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

From Faithful to Failure and Back Again

Have you ever done something that completely redefined your identity?

The night of Jesus’ trial, Peter (one of his closest friends and disciples) was in the courtyard just outside from where the trial was taking place. It was here that he denied Jesus – his friend, his teacher, his Lord. He had just seen the Romans arrest Jesus. Fear gripped his heart and he lied about knowing Jesus in order to save himself. After the third "I don't know him!" he heard the crow and immediately realized what he had done; but it was too late. The damage had already been done. He had enthusiastically followed Christ. He had walked on water with him, witnessed him do miracles, listened to him teach, shared the past three years of his life with this man. Yet, when push came to shove, he became a liar and denier. In that moment, with that one act, he went from being faithful to failure.

Imagine the guilt and shame he must have felt! Matthew 26:75 says that he immediately “went outside and wept bitterly.” Have you ever been there? Your heart so broken and full of remorse, but all the “I’m sorry” can’t fix the situation.

After Jesus’ resurrection, he met with the eleven disciples in an upper room. Can you imagine how uncomfortable that must have been for Peter? No one believed that Jesus was coming back. So Peter, probably never dreamed that he would to see Jesus face to face. The Bible doesn’t say that Peter ever shared his personal failure with anyone. Only he and Jesus knew. I imagine his palms were sweaty; and his mouth was dry. His heart must have been pounding wondering if Jesus would confront him. He probably tried to avoid eye contact as much as possible that evening.

Jesus didn’t confront Peter that night. Sometimes Jesus doesn’t confront us either. He waits until the perfect moment, just like he did with Peter. 

 John 21:1-19 says that Peter and six of the disciples were out fishing. (Peter was a fisherman by trade. Although the Bible doesn’t say it, I can’t help wondering if Peter didn’t return to what he was good at as an escape. He had failed in his faith, and he had failed his Lord. Escaping into work, hobbies, even ministry can be a great place to hide – or so we think.) As they are coming back to shore, they see a man on the beach. When Peter realizes it’s Jesus, he jumped in the water and swam to him. Even with his shame and failure weighing so heavy on him, he knew that if anyone could help him, it was Jesus. After eating together, Jesus finally confronts Peter. He never brings up the past (I LOVE that!). He simply asks Peter, “Do you love me?” Of course, Peter says yes. A second time, Jesus asks, “Do you truly love me?” and again Peter answers, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Finally, Jesus asks a third time, “Peter, do you love me?” A third time, Peter tells Jesus that he loves him. This is one of my favorite passages of scripture! 
Peter had denied Jesus three times. Ever since that awful night, he had carried the guilt and shame with him as his new identity. He couldn’t forgive himself for what he had done. But Jesus could! For every denial, Jesus gave him a “do-over” opportunity, a chance for every, “No, I don’t know him!” to be replaced with, “Yes, Lord I love you!” How awesome is that!!! 
Peter had branded himself as a failure. Jesus gave him a new label, Sheppard. He wiped away each denial – each failure – with a new command, “Feed my lambs.”

This is the reason Jesus suffered and died on a cross, so that we might have a new life in him. Sometimes we all need a “do-over” opportunity. Good news! Jesus is the God of second, third, fourth….chances.

Maybe for you it wasn’t one major life-changing decision. Maybe it has been a series of poor choices that has lead you to be branded with a label that you despise, but don’t know how to change. Maybe you don’t think it can be changed. Maybe you feel like it’s unforgivable…that you are unforgivable. Oh friend, please listen and hear me, 
There is nothing you’ve done that is too big, too bad, too hard, too messy or too terrible that God can’t forgive. 
We have a choice. We can choose to hold on to the labels that we have been given either by others or by ourselves. We can choose to let our past and our failures define us and our future. OR We can choose to swim like Peter did, into the arms of a Savior who loved us to death! He has a new identity for each of us – FORGIVEN, RESTORED, RESUCED, REDEEMED!!

Which identity will you choose to define you?

 “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” ~ Matthew 11:28

Be Blessed, 


Ashley Ditto said... [Reply to comment]

Really beautiful post!

MTereasa said... [Reply to comment]

Beautiful post!  Beautiful blog, too!

Torrie said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks so much! ♥

Laura said... [Reply to comment]

Great post.

Brenda Schiesser said... [Reply to comment]
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tanya said... [Reply to comment]

This is so wonderful, Torrie.. Blessings to you and your family.. ~ Tanya

Torrie said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks for letting me know about the email issue. I didn't know it wasn't working correctly! I will work on it and let you know when it's corrected. :)

Stephanie Bostic said... [Reply to comment]

Beautiful!  I'm following your blog, I can't wait o read your posts.

Torrie said... [Reply to comment]

Hi Brenda,
I just wanted to let you  know that I got the email situation corrected! Thanks again for bringing it to my attention.

Traci said... [Reply to comment]

great post and I LOVE that picture.  where did you get it?

Come check out my list of 100 Smoothies! Comment if you'd like on which one is you favorite!Love, Traci @ Ordinary Inspirations

Torrie Sorge said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you so much Stephanie. Welcome to the BBM family! Thanks for leaving your website. I will stop by for a visit and leave a comment. Be Blessed ♥

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Thanks for taking a few minutes to stop by BBM. It's my prayer that this blog has been used by God to bless you today. I'd love to hear from you. This is a safe place to learn, grow and support each other. All I ask is that all comments are respectful. Blessings

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