Tag: Peter

When “I don’t feel like it” gets in the way

So my wife and I thought it would be a good idea to save a few bucks on some furniture for the office in our home by buying it unfinished. Sounds like a good plan, right? I mean, it can’t be that much trouble to stain and paint a desk and chair. That’s what I thought.

To make the story shorter, I’m not good at painting or staining.

image by Sam Hughes

We bought the things a few months ago and I’ve just gotten around to finishing them. I’m not good at it, I don’t enjoy it, it took up a lot of room in our garage, it made a mess of the floor (well, I should probably go ahead and claim that as my fault), and it caused a fair amount of stress because of how long it took for me to finally finish.

Spiritual difficulties

But isn’t this sometimes how the Christian life goes? It’s not easy, it takes up a lot of “space” in our life (as if it’s ours in the first place!), it’s messy, stressful, and not fun. Often, God calls us to do things that we don’t want to do. Don’t believe me? Check Matthew 18:21-22

Then Peter came to him and asked, ‘Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?’ ‘No, not seven times,’ Jesus replied, ‘but seventy times seven! I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.'”

Imagine if someone sinned against you in the same way seven times in one day. That’s pretty rough, right? Peter’s no slouch. He’s saying he’ll forgive a person seven times in the same day for the same sin. But Jesus completely blows him out of the water by saying that you are to forgive a person, not just seven times, but seventy times seven!   Jesus calls us to forgive…and forgive…and forgive…and forgive…etc. The reason we are to forgive is rooted in God’s forgiveness of us, first of all.  We offer grace and forgiveness to others because we realize that we are sinners in need of God’s forgiveness.  Secondly, we offer forgiveness because judgment is coming.  After the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:23-34), Jesus says that God will not forgive us if we do not forgive our brothers from our heart.

This verse causes me to lose sleep at night.

We’re not called to forgive others because we feel like it. If we were to wait until we felt like forgiving people, most of us would never get around to it.  We’re called to forgiveness whether we feel like it or not because God has forgiven us, and our debt to Him was beyond anything that any person could ever “owe” us.

I forgive others, not always because I just want to, but because I trust God knows what He’s doing (it’s usually a good idea to trust a God who created the earth and rose from the dead, neither of which I can do).

Ultimately, I’m glad that I bought the unpainted furniture.  I saved some money, I am proud that I finished it, and it looks good in our office.  It also pointed me to my relationship with God.

What’s He calling you to do today that you don’t want to do?



It’s time to fail

Maybe it’s about time you failed.

(image by ArtMoth.com)

I remember when I didn’t make the varsity baseball team in high school.  I was crushed.  But through that, I ended up quitting baseball to pursue golf, a sport I turned out to be pretty good at.

In seminary, I absolutely bombed a paper that I thought was one of my better projects.  Through that, I worked hard to refine my writing, and in the process, found a great love of writing.

The first small group my wife and I were a part of (in Louisville, KY) was an abysmal failure.  I didn’t want that to happen to us, or anyone else, again.  Now I’m a small groups pastor.

The New Testament Church was led by a guy named Peter.  Don’t forget that he had an epic fail, where his pride was kicked in the teeth.  He thought he was ready to die for Jesus.  He wasn’t (John 13:37-38).  His pride would even need to be kicked again a little later. (Galatians 2:11-21) And it needed to be in order for God to use Peter.

Why you need to fail

It’s through failure that we learn what we’re not that great at. Here’s a shocker: you’re not great at everything.  God’s gifted each person uniquely…you included.  We may not always find that gifting on our first shot.  Be open to other ideas than what you’ve always thought or been told.  Maybe your failure is a good indication that you need to try something else.

It’s through failure that we find out which ideas aren’t the best. Failure becomes a way of culling out the ideas, projects, programs, and directions that needed to go.

It’s through failure that we are motivated. Who wants to fail twice?  Failure pushes you to work harder, more efficiently, and lean more heavily on others.  Failure is a great deterrent to future failure.

It’s through failure that God comforts us. It’s hard to experience comfort without some level of failure. (see Lamentations 3:16-23)

It’s through failure that our pride is sucker-punched. If you were as awesome as you thought you were, you’d not have failed.  As John Ortberg says, “There is a God, and it is not you.”

As valuable as failure is, I still find myself consistently praying, “Lord, please help this _______ to go really well.”  Or, “Lord, you want this __________ to succeed more than I do…”  Or, “Lord, help this idea to not fall flat on its face.”

Maybe I should start praying, “Lord, maybe this needs to flop.  You know best.  Help me grow in the process.  Chip away the parts of me that don’t look like You.  Grow your Church.  Knock down my pride.  Renew my faith in Your plan.”

Is there an area of your leadership or your life that needs to fail?

Have you seen God grow you more through failure or through success?


© 2018

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑