By Chip Brogden
Your Failure Isn’t Fatal
Before Peter was a great apostle, he failed the Lord and denied Him three times. But that failure was not fatal. Peter made a fresh surrender, and the Lord forgave and restored him.
Jesus was not surprised or disappointed when Peter failed. In like manner, He is not surprised or disappointed when you fail. He has no illusions about you and He knows you through and through. He knows however much your spirit may be willing, your flesh is weak. Our weakness is not the trouble — the trouble is our unwillingness to acknowledge the weakness.
The quicker we accept man’s impossibility, the quicker we can accept God’s possibility. Our only hope is to turn our failure into a fresh surrender. How? “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). God’s solution to our problem is to nail us to the cross with Jesus. If we will accept this sentence of death then all our problems will die right along with us. The problems will not die until we are thoroughly dead ourselves. But the day we cease striving and meekly accept the Cross, we will find everything is settled.
So how do we make a fresh surrender? The first thing to do is to stop doing. Let us learn to breathe words along these lines: “Today, Lord, I give up. I am finished. I surrender. I know now that in my flesh dwells no good thing. Apart from You I am nothing, and apart from You I can do nothing. I do not even know how to pray. I accept the sentence of death, and I trust You to raise me from the dead. As I am decreased, may You be increased. I have learned that I cannot; therefore, I will not. Into Your hands I commit my spirit. You are the Resurrection and the Life, and I will wait for You to raise me from the dead. I will not raise myself. Let Your Strength be perfected in my weakness.”
This is what it means to take up the Cross. When this is a practical reality for a person, and not just a theory, it will sound like this: “I used to be quite confident in myself and very sure, but today I have no confidence in myself. I used to be very active, but today I am content to be still. If God should rise within me, I will certainly obey Him; but if He does not move, I dare not step out ahead of Him. I will work, but I will not work according to what I want to do. Instead, I will work according to His desire and Power that works in me, this power that strengthens me to do all things, this power that is perfected in my weakness. I no longer hide my weaknesses, I delight in them; for they allow me to know true Strength. I look for Christ in me to overcome my inability. I have surrendered myself over to Him as a bondservant, as a prisoner of the Lord. If I live, I am the Lord’s. If I die, I am the Lord’s. So, in both life and in death, I belong to Him.”
Your failure isn’t fatal if you acknowledge it, make a fresh surrender to God, and keep moving forward.