Avoiding Failure

Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And so said all the disciples. – Matthew 26:33-35.

Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.” And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.” But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!” And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.” Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly. – Matthew 26:69-75.

Robbie Peden recently KO’d Nate Campbell in the fifth round and will as a result have a title fight against IBF champion, Carlos Hernandez. Robbie says about his boxing match with Campbell, “I must admit Nate was much stronger than I thought he was going to be. This guy is very strong and not only that, but he can box too. I think initially I may have underestimated him, but I am the type of fighter who will never quit. It doesn’t matter what my opponent brings I can adapt to it.” Actually, Nate Campbell by most accounts of the match was the superior boxer and only lost because of his arrogance and over-confidence. Campbell apparently played with his opponent until the fifth round when he stuck out his chin and dared Peden to hit it. Peden gladly obliged and knocked Campbell out winning the fight. Campbell speaks about his failure by saying, “The name of this story should be ignorance, arrogance and stupidity because that’s exactly what I showed in that fifth round; ignorance, arrogance and stupidity. I had this guy ready to go, and I walked right to him put my hands down, my chin out, and said, ‘hit me, hit me.’ I deserved to lose, and any other fighter who pulls a stunt like that deserves to lose also. I know better than that, and now I’m going to have to live with this mistake for the rest of my life.”

Having an attitude of over-confidence in your own spiritual ability is setting yourself up for failure. You may not be quite as arrogant about it as Nate Campbell was in his boxing ability but you may be just as over-confident as Peter and the other disciples. Over-confidence was at the very heart of the failure of Peter and his fellow disciples. None of them believed it was possible for them to fail in their obedience to Jesus. Peter said, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!”  But it wasn’t just Peter because the final phrase of the verse records, “And so said all the disciples.”

To some extent, it appears that those who are least likely to fail spiritually are the very ones that do. How many pastors, youth ministers, missionaries and others called of God have fallen bringing shame to the cause of Christ? Too many! It may be that the cause of their failures was their over-confidence. They like Peter and the other disciples said, “It can never happen to me!” As the old saying goes, “The bigger they are the harder they fall.” Believing moral failure is never a possibility in your life sets you up for the failure. It’s like saying to the devil, “hit me, hit me.” He will not pass up the opportunity!

To fight spiritual failure we must remember that it is surely in the realm of possibility for us to fail. We must always be alert to those situations and conditions that might lead to failure and avoid them knowing our weaknesses.

(How to avoid failure – Part 1.)

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