We often experience failure at the point where we are strongest. Moses was known for his humility, but became angry, and failed through a lack of humility.
Elijah was known for his boldness but became scared when threatened by Jezebel. Samson was known for his strength but became weak when his hair was cut. Abraham was known for his faith but denied his wife when he went to Egypt.
Peter was known for his self-confidence, but his self-confidence failed him when he denied Jesus. Peter had become a leader among the disciples. Jesus specifically addressed Peter in Luke 22:31, and noted that He had prayed for Peter in verse 32. In Luke 22:33 Peter self-confidently proclaimed that he would follow Jesus to jail or even to death. Yet that very day Peter failed to follow Jesus when he denied him three times (vv. 57-60).
Peter’s fall from proud proclaimer to distraught denier is recounted in four steps in verses 46-55.
1) Lost Focus. Peter lost his focus when he got tired. As Jesus reminded him there is a time to sleep and a time to pray!
45 When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, 46 and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Luke 22:45-46 (NASB)
2) Fighting in the Flesh. Suddenly surrounded by guards coming to seize Jesus, Peter takes matters into his own hands, cutting off the ear of Malchus (John 18:10).
50 And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. Luke 22:50 (NASB)
3) Follow from a distance. The guards seized and arrested Jesus. Peter followed, but distanced himself from Jesus.
54 Having arrested Him, they led Him away and brought Him to the house of the high priest; but Peter was following at a distance. Luke 22:54 (NASB)
4) Associated with Bad Company. When they got to the courtyard of the high priest Peter sat down amidst the group servants and soldiers who had arrested Jesus.
55 After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them. Luke 22:55 (NASB)
Redemption. Despite his failure, Jesus redeems Peter. After His resurrection Jesus makes a point of including Peter when He asked the disciples to join Him in Galilee.:
7 “But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.'” Mark 16:7 (NASB)
Failure is often not a sudden event that springs on us out of nowhere. Rather, if we examine the causes of failure in our lives these four signs of Peter’s downward spiral are often in view.
First, we lose our focus on God. We allow ourselves to get distracted, and our priorities shift away from God.
Second, when confronted with difficult situations we attempt to deal with them in the flesh. Like Peter, we get out our swords and fight our battles ourselves rather than staying focused on God.
Third, when we have lost focus on God, and our attempts to fight our battles in the flesh fail we distance ourselves even further from God. We still follow, but at a distance–lest we are forced to admit the failure of our efforts.
Fourth, and continuing in our downward spiral, we begin to associate with others of questionable character. It is easier to deal with our own failures of character if we are surrounded by like minded people.
Thankfully, God has a wonderful redemption plan in His Son Jesus. Return to Him; stay focused on Him, avoid fighting your battles in the flesh, stay close to Him, and keep close company with others who will help you stay on track.
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As always questions and comments are welcome. What issues have you faced in the workplace that led to failure? Could you have seen the failure coming based on one of these signs?
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Category: Personal Development | Character