All of us make tracks through the valley of failure. The question is, "How are you going to respond?" Plenty of people give up and exchange a vibrant kingdom-serving life for a defeated existence. But failure need not be an end. It's a chance for a new beginning living in Christ's strength.
Peter had a life-altering failure. Jesus warned that Satan had asked permissions to "sift" the disciple like wheat (Luke 22:31) - vigorous shaking is required to separate wheat kernels from debris. The Enemy wanted to shake Peter's faith hard in hopes that he'd fall away from Jesus like chaff.
Peter fervently believed the promises he'd made to Jesus: "Even though all may fall away, yet I will not" (Mark 14:29). But Satan knows a few things about the power of fear. What's more, he realized that the disciple would be wounded by his own disloyalty. A man with tattered pride can't help but question his usefulness.
When Satan sifts believers, his goal is to damage our faith so much that we're useless to God. He wants us shelved far from the action of the Lord's kingdom. Therefore, he goes for our strengths - the areas where we believe ourselves to be invincible, or at least very well protected. And when the devil succeeds, we are disappointed and demoralized. But we don't have to stay that way.
If we are willing, God can use failure to do spiritual housecleaning. Peter laid down his pride and instead put on the Holy Spirit's courage. Thereafter, he risked humiliation, persecution, and death to proclaim the gospel. Failure was the catalyst that brought forth greater faith and true servanthood.
Dr. Robert L. McKnight, Pastor
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