Peter is a classic example of a believer who failed and then got back up and enjoyed great success. Right before the crucifixion he denied Jesus three times (read the account in Mark 14:66-72). At a time when he had a great opportunity to honor Christ, he literally denied him. But after the resurrection, Peter had a one-on-one encounter with Jesus that breathed new life and energy into his ministry.
“After these things, Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself; Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael … and two others of His disciples were together” (John 21:1). Peter had experienced seeing the empty tomb of Jesus following the resurrection. And then he saw Jesus walk through walls, saw doubting Thomas become believing Thomas, and witnessed Jesus do many other signs (see John 20). Peter’s encounter with Jesus ended with Jesus saying to him, “Feed My sheep” (John 21:17). He was completely forgiven, restored, and driven to preach boldly.
Failure is a part of life. Everybody experiences it but not everyone gets up afterward. Always remember this, however; failure isn’t final until you quit. Retired American figure skater and Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton had a Christian upbringing but, by his own testimony, he let God go from his life. In answer to much prayer, he had a resurgence of faith and a renewed relationship with Christ. He speaks of failure in this way: “I calculated once how many times I fell during my skating career. It was 41,600 times. But I got up 41,600 times!” That is exactly what we all must do when we fall: get up!
David says, “The steps of good men are directed by the Lord. He delights in each step they take. If they fall, it isn’t fatal, for the Lord holds them with his hand” (Psalm 37:23-24, TLB). Solomon says, “Though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again” (Proverbs 24:16, NIV).
As a believer, God consistently sees you as righteous — on your good days and on your falling days. The most important thing is that you are born again into his family and have a trust relationship with your Father, who lovingly holds you.
Pastor Tim pastored an inner-city congregation in Detroit for thirty years before serving at Brooklyn Tabernacle in NYC for five years. He and his wife Cindy presently pastor in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Scripture says, “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Don’t be put off by all the terms in this verse. Simply put, the goal of the gospel is redemption and God’s grace includes everything he has done for us through Christ to redeem us from the power of the devil and bring us into the kingdom of his glorious light!
Righteousness (which is justification) is the cornerstone of grace. To be justified by God means to be forgiven of all sin and guilt and considered holy and righteous before him. How did you find forgiveness and acceptance before God? Was it because God saw something good in you, some inherent righteousness that attracted him to you? Did you earn his favor with obedience and kindness?
No — absolutely not! The Word says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
No one becomes holy or righteous by his own works, obedience or faithfulness. Rather, these things are all the result of faith in the power of Christ’s blood to make us acceptable in God’s sight.
“Even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified” (Galatians 2:16). Being made righteous by faith is the hardest thing for the flesh to accept. We want to earn our salvation but we must submit to the righteousness of Christ and accept his salvation. That is the path to complete freedom.
The apostle Paul said, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). He also said, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (5:25).
Walking in the Spirit is simply allowing the Holy Spirit to do in us what God sent him to do. Jesus said of the Father, “He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17).
Romans 8:26 describes one of the most powerful works of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer: “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” The Hebrew word for groaning means a yearning — a longing for more of Christ. This yearning says, “Jesus, you’re the only happiness there is in this world. Walk with me and take control.”
The Holy Spirit was sent to us as a gift from God to seal, sanctify, empower, and prepare us and bring us home as a prepared bride for Christ. He is our guide, our comforter, our strength in time of need and he uses every act of deliverance — every touch, every manifestation of himself in us — to make us more suitable as a bride.
The Holy Spirit does not come to entertain or provide signs and wonders just to thrill us or make us feel good. No, he means to wean us from this world, to convict us of everything that would blemish us and turn our eyes away from everything but Jesus. He wants to create in us a longing for Jesus’ soon appearance and adorn us with the ornaments of a passionate desire to be with him as his bride.
If you truly love Jesus, he is never out of your mind. And you are more precious to him than you can ever imagine!
“From the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely … Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed” (Jeremiah 6:13, 15).
The prophet Jeremiah saw a horrible condition coming upon God’s people. They were hiding their sins behind a façade of superficial peace and security. Greed had overcome their hearts and their entire lives had become superficial — superficial tears, superficial repentance, even superficial healing. Worst of all, they had lost their sense of grief for sin — in society, in the church, in their own lives. Sin had become “just one of those things.”
In Jeremiah 5:1-3, the prophet gives us a picture of the moral breakdown that occurred in Israel and the house of Judah. God’s people sat under a message of searing truth and yet they turned away from it and rebelled. Their fear of God was waning and where once they had delighted in God’s Word, they now turned away from the warnings of the prophets — the watchmen.
God is setting watchmen over the church today; anointed voices placed by the Lord to be responsible for your soul. As a believer, it is your responsibility to heed God’s Word and be obedient in order that you may be brought into the true image of Christ. That means walking according to the truth without compromising.
When God does something genuine in his people, Satan always conspires against it. When Nehemiah set about to reconstruct the walls of Jerusalem, there was great opposition. “But it came to pass, that when [the enemy] heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up … they were very wroth, and conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it” (Nehemiah 4:7-8). Likewise, when an individual turns to God and has a genuine renewal in his life, Satan will fight with all his might to hinder his progress. Set your heart to listen to the watchmen and allow the Holy Spirit to probe your heart deeply that you may walk wholly blameless before the Lord in this late hour.
Those who hold on in unswerving faith are in for a glorious manifestation of Christ’s resurrection power. Only you and the Lord will know all the intimate workings but he will astonish you; he will thrill you; he will show you his glory!
The present greatness of Christ can be summed up in one powerful verse: “In Him was life” (John 1:4). He was — and is now — energizing life. Jesus was constantly being renewed as he drew on a secret reservoir that was never depleted. He never wearied of the crowd pressing in on him and his patience never wore thin.
When Jesus called his disciples to come aside for a while to rest, they departed to a quiet place across the lake. The crowds were waiting there too. But not once did he say, “Oh, no! It’s that problem bunch again with their silly complaints and dumb questions. Won’t it ever end?” Instead, he saw the multitudes and was moved to compassion. He was energized by the Spirit and went to work. And even though he had days of toil and nights of prayers, he still had time for the little children.
In a weary moment, Jesus stopped to rest at a well, but a lost woman needed help and once again he was energized. His disciples found their Master so relaxed, so refreshed! “He said to them, ‘I have food to eat of which you do not know’” (John 4:32). That is the secret energy of resurrection life!
Today’s believers have been promised the very same energizing life of Christ. “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11).
It is clear in Scripture that the Holy Spirit dwells in us to bring forth constant life. God has provided his very energy to come to our mortal bodies and give us physical strength: “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him” (Colossians 2:13).
Thank God for the present greatness of our Lord Jesus Christ! Appropriate it by faith and walk in resurrection life and power!