Monday, 12 January 2015

FAILURE IS CONQUERED BY GRACE - GOD IS GREATER THAN MY FAILURES – PART 7 OF 9


Getting back to Steve’s original email, he’s right, I am an expert in failure.  However, I am also an expert witness to God’s grace.  I feel as though I have received much, much more than my share.  Thankfully God does not apportion grace measure-by-measure, God’s grace is without limit to all who will receive!
Let’s look once more to the dictionary for a definition of failure:  Failure is the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective, and may be viewed as the opposite of success.
A sense of failure, or fear of failure, is probably the greatest weapon that Satan will draw from his arsenal in his attempt to incapacitate the child of God.  In Ephesians 2 Paul reminds us that, “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Satan is scared poopless that we might even believe Jesus when He explicitly told us, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me [note this is not a statement limited to just the disciples – it specifically includes YOU] will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12. The IMAGINE! video is my personal testimony to this truth.
Imagine!  Imagine doing greater things than Jesus!  Now, don’t start making excuses – as to why you can’t – that is to make a liar of Christ.
Do you ever feel like this before God?
“Get away from me Lord, I am a sinful man.”
I know I do.  
Each time we try an use our sin as an excuse for not working to build up God’s Kingdom it seems as though Jesus simply covers His ears with His hands and shouts, “Na, na-na, na-na-na, I’m not listening!” 
Let’s read the whole interaction between Peter and Jesus:
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”  For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
I feel like saying, “Jesus, didn’t you hear what Peter said? He’s a sinner for goodness sake.” Jesus chose to ignore Peter’s protestations just as He has chosen to ignore all of mine.
Jesus never seems to answer a question as we would expect.  Simon-Peter exclaims, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” and Jesus prefaces His reply with, “Don’t be afraid…”
Jesus is saying to Peter (and all you ‘Peters’ out there), “I know exactly who you are and what you are.  You are mine and I love you.  So, don’t be afraid, especially of me.  Roll up your sleeves, put you waders on, – we’re goin’ fishin’ – I’m going to show you how it’s done and we’re not stopping when we reach 143!”
I am not saying that willful sin does not impact our ability to serve God freely but I am saying that God does not accept failure as an excuse not to serve Him - it’s simply not an option!
Do you sometimes feel as though God has called you to carry out an impossible task?  One that seems doomed to failure?
I recently read a great quote by Oswald Chambers: “A saint's life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says--'I cannot stand it anymore.' God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly.”
Failure can take on many forms.  It comes in many shapes and sizes.  But God is SO MUCH GREATER than our failures.
In Proverbs 24-16a, God says, “…for though the righteous [the new you] fall seven times, they rise again…”
Personal sin almost certainly instills the greatest sense of failure in any child of God.  But, if we will receive it, when we sin, God gives us the gift of repentance, the ability to confess our sin to Him and for Him to bring about change in us.  When we confess our sin, God lifts us up by the hand, brushes the dirt off our knees, and then says, “Now, where were we? Ah, yes, we were building my Kingdom.  Let’s get back at it.”
In Romans 8:28 Paul emphatically states that God will work all things for the good of those that love Him.  Either this statement is true or it’s not.  ‘All things’ simply means, ‘all things’, not just some things or a few things.  This statement does not exclude sin, or failures, or disappointments.  Paul does not include any exceptions to this rule – quite the opposite.