The past week was an interesting one for me. It’s one of those times in your walk when you have questions for God. I felt that God gave me words for two different individuals. These words came to me at the same time and I shared them with the individuals at the same time. One came to pass and the other did not. I have shared with you my pursuit to grow in the prophetic and the gifts of the Spirit. The only way you grow in these gifts is step out in faith and take risks. This time my taking a risk impacted other lives in a negative way and that's hard to swallow. I want to be so in tune with God that I don’t have this situation happen again, but at the same time in order for that to happen I have to take more risks and endure more failures.
Here is a question that I want to ponder throughout this message. What do you do when things don’t happen the way you thought they would, especially after stepping out in faith because you believed the Lord told you to do so?
I. Peter's failures
Peter is one of the most popular disciples and one of the most picked-on disciples.
Here is a list of some of his failures:
- Peter doesn’t understand a Parable
- Matthew 15:15, Mark 4:10, Matthew 16:7-8
- Peter’s sin—he is filled with selfish ambition, arguing that he is the greatest of the disciples!
- Mark 9:33, Mark 10:35, Luke 22:24
- Peter is offended and angered by James's and John’s attempts to secure the greatest reward from Jesus
- Mark 10:35
- Peter “takes Jesus aside” and attacks Jesus’s intent to atone for human sin through suffering and death
- Matthew 16:22, Mark 9:33-34
- Peter speaks for Jesus to those who gather the Temple Tax and commits Jesus to certain actions
- Matthew 17:24
- Peter worries about himself and his sacrifice to follow Jesus: “What will there be for us? We have left everything to follow you.”
- atthew 19:27
- Peter resists Jesus's intent to wash his feet
- John 13:8
- Peter fails and falls asleep in Gethsemane
- Matthew 26:40-41,43-44
- Peter publicly denies being associated with Jesus in any way with 1) an oath and 2) with curses
- Matthew 26:72,74
- Peter is overwhelmed with His sin and failure. He quits “being an apostle” and goes back to fishing as a business
- John 21:3
Let’s take a look at the story of Jesus walking on water
Matthew 14:22-32: Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.
This story takes place right after the feeding of the five thousand. Peter is often ridiculed for sinking because of fear and doubt, but Peter did get out the boat.
Some observations from the text:
- After looking at this story again, it's interesting that it was Peter who asked Jesus to tell him to come out of the boat. Jesus does tell him to come out of the boat but only after Peter asks him.
- Peter walked on the water just fine until he looked at his surroundings instead of at Jesus. Fear and doubt affected his faith.
- Jesus asked Peter, why did you doubt me?
Think about this for a moment - Jesus had just fed five thousand people. They have seen Him perform numerous miracles. He just walked on water and Peter had allowed the storm and the waves to bring fear and doubt.
When we are stepping out in faith, we have to determine who is telling us to do so. Is Jesus telling us to step out in faith or are we asking Jesus to tell us to step out in faith?
Jesus is not bothered by us asking Him to tell us to step out in faith. He loves when we trust Him and are willing to take a risk for Him.
Jesus ultimately wants us to know and trust Him fully. Stepping out in faith allows us to deal with our fear and doubts and positions us to see God do powerful things in our lives.
Failure is not really failure, it is learning and growth. We learn how to hear God’s voice and we grow in our faith, becoming more like Him. Sometimes we step out in faith and things don’t happen the way we thought they would. This is not a bad thing. If God promises to do something in our lives, He will do it. It will be in His timing and in His way.
God is more concerned about your willingness to step out in faith and trust Him than He is when we misinterpret what he wants us to do and how we are to go about doing it. Are we willing to step out in faith again, even though we may have missed it before? We have to know that God is good and that His ways are perfect!
We obviously know Peter’s biggest failure is denying Jesus three times when Jesus was arrested and later crucified.
II. God see us for who He created us to be
Matthew 16:13-19: When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”
Even after all of Peter’s failures, Jesus knew that He could rely on Peter to build His church. And that’s just what Peter did.
If you have taken risk’s for Jesus and stepped out in faith. You obviously have confidence in Him. Sometimes Jesus allows to us to fall on our face, because He wants us to see ourselves through His eyes.
What happens when promises and prayers are not answered? We blame ourselves. We did not have enough faith, we are not good enough, past sins are keeping us from it. It’s not about earning these things. It’s about walking in them as God makes provision for them. We are His children and we are loved by Him!
III. Obstacles may get us where we need to be
Acts 16:6-12: Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there. So instead, they went on through Mysia to the
seaport of Troas. That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there. We boarded a boat at Troas and sailed straight across to the island of Samothrace, and the next day we landed at Neapolis. From there we reached Philippi, a major city of that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. And we stayed there several days.
Paul and Silas were doing a wonderful work on this journey. Both churches and believers were growing and being strengthened. God’s Kingdom was advancing.
The Holy Spirit prevented them from going to two different places. They were probably mad and frustrated over this. They were doing God’s work, and they couldn’t go where they wanted. Paul has a vision from a man in Macedonia, they ended up in Philippi ministering to a lady named Lydia. This would be the beginning of the Philippian church.
God had a different plan and the Holy Spirit helped them get where they needed to be.
Sometimes our plans are good but God’s plans are always better. Sometimes these obstacles that we are facing are meant to help us get to where we are supposed to be.
We never hear about this man from the vision. Does it mean that Paul missed God in this? Not necessarily - they still got to where they needed to be. Don’t get caught in all these details.
I may be a little confused with what happened this past week, but I know that God is good and His ways are perfect. I am going to continue to pursue Him and become more familiars with His voice and His prompting. I am going to keep stepping out in faith and taking risks. I want to be in a position to see God do powerful things and if I fail, I will learn and grow from it.
If things aren’t happening, God may still be doing a work in us first. His timing is always perfect!
Is God dealing with fear in doubt in our lives? Do we truly see ourselves through His eyes? What obstacles are you facing? Is God trying to get you to another place?