Your Failure Is Not Final: 4 Ways to Overcome Your Biggest Mistakes

by | Oct 12, 2017 | Man

One of my favorite quotes states, “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker! Failure is delay, not defeat. Failure is a temporary detour, not a dead-end street.” Abraham Lincoln said, “Those who never fail, never do much of anything.” The Apostle Peter was very familiar with failure. In fact, he was a man of miracles, signs, wonders, and blunders.

The point of chronicling Peter’s failures is not to belittle him but to illustrate that the people God uses in great ways are still very human. And, if we see how God’s grace enabled him to overcome failure, it will fortify our faith that God will do the same for us. Here are Peter’s nine recorded failures:

  • He sank when he took his eyes off Jesus—Matt. 14:29-30.
  • He verbally rebuked Jesus (not a good idea)—Matt. 16:22-23.
  • He wrongly compared Jesus with mere mortal men—Matt. 17:1-5.
  • He refused (at first) for Jesus to wash his feet—John 13:8.
  • He slept through prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane—Matt. 26:40-43.
  • He tried to defend Jesus and cut off Malchus’ ear—John 18:10.
  • He denied any association with Jesus three times—John 18:25-27.
  • He quit the ministry and returned to fishing—John 21:3.
  • He was hypocritical about fellowshipping with Gentile believers—Gal. 2:11-14.

My focus is not to highlight Peter’s failures but to learn from them. It’s easy to criticize how Peter sank on the stormy sea and fail to realize that he did something no other human being (except Jesus) has ever done: walk on water. So it’s better to try and fail than to not try at all. Obviously, Peter rebounded and became a prominent leader in the New Testament church. This proves that defeat doesn’t have to have the final word in our lives. Failure is not final if we do the following four things:

  1. Keep an eternal perspective.

While Peter adamantly swore he would never deny Jesus, the Master predicted the opposite:  “Will you lay down your life for My sake? Truly, truly I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times” (John 13:38). Then Jesus added, “Let not your heart be troubled … in My Father’s house are many dwelling places. … I am going to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1-3). In other words, “Peter, you are going to fail, but you will recover from it. Don’t focus on your temporary failures, focus on My eternal purpose for your life.”

Failures are merely events in life. Just because you fail doesn’t mean you are a failure. It simply means you’re human. Welcome to the club. Failure is just a temporary part of life. If we learn to keep an eternal perspective, failure won’t defeat us or define us. Stay focused on the big picture of God’s eternal plan. One day you’ll look back and laugh at your failures and realize that they weren’t so big in the grand scheme of things.

  1. Sever the ties with the past.

Christ’s crucifixion coincided closely with the Feast of Passover. Approximately 50 days later, Peter preached his Pentecost sermon and caught 3,000 souls in the gospel net. Immediately after Jesus’ death, Peter must have felt worthless. When the rooster crowed, The Lord turned and looked at Peter. … And Peter went outside and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:61-62).

Can you imagine how dejected he felt after doing the very thing he swore he’d never do? He felt condemned and unworthy to even be called a disciple. Perhaps he thought, I’m a complete failure. I’m such a miserable disgrace. Maybe I should go back to the only thing I was ever any good at—fishing. And so he did (John 21:3).

Then he had an encounter with Jesus that was very similar to their first meeting (compare Luke 5:1-11 and John 21:3-19). A repentant Peter was restored, reinstated and became the main spokesman for the apostles.

How did Peter overcome such major setbacks? He severed the ties with the past. He chose to live in the provision of God’s grace instead of being a prisoner of his past. He avoided the mistake of those who live in the past and, consequently, forfeit their future.

  1. Never stop believing.

Peter failed, but his faith didn’t fail because Jesus prepared him—”But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have repented, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32). So no matter how many times we disappoint God or ourselves, we should never stop believing. We are not a failure unless we quit. Solomon said, “for a just man falls seven times and rises up again, but the wicked will fall into mischief.” If you, like Peter, get knocked down, bounce back up again, more determined than ever to keep believing.

History is full of examples of people who used failure to find a formula for success. Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor for a lack of ideas and went bankrupt before building Disneyland. Henry Ford went broke several times before he became a pioneer in the automotive industry. Albert Einstein was expelled from school, and his teachers said he was mentally slow before he made his mark in math and science. Babe Ruth stuck out 1,330 times on his way to hitting a then-MLB record 714 career home runs. Bret Favre threw 317 interceptions on his way to setting a then-NFL record 508 touchdown passes. Thomas Edison performed 10,000 experiments on a particular project before succeeding. He said, “Why, I haven’t failed; I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work!” Friend, never stop believing!

  1. Always keep growing.

Later in life, as a seasoned veteran of the faith, Peter wrote, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18a). God sees our potential, not just our present. When Jesus first called Peter, he was spiritually immature. “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). Peter became great, but not overnight. It was a growth process. Growth takes time. Failure can be a springboard instead of a setback if we learn and grow from it. Peter made many blunders, but look at how God used him—preaching to masses, healing the sick, boldly leading the early church and giving his life as a martyr. Despite his failures, he became an overwhelming success.

Take heart, friend, there is no failure in your life too great for the grace of God to overcome. Never let defeat have the last word. Failure doesn’t have to be final. {eoa}

Ben Godwin is the author of four books and pastors the Goodsprings Full Gospel Church. His weekly telecast, The Word Workshop, airs on TV-16 and Charter Cable #10 on Mondays at 9 p.m. and Tuesdays at noon and live streams on TV16HD.com. To read more articles, visit his website at bengodwin.org and take advantage of his 4-book bundle for $25.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Joseph Mattera: 7 Traits of the Sown Life

Joseph Mattera: 7 Traits of the Sown Life

Paul said he was a "drink offering." This meant that he offered his very life, spirit, soul, and body, to the Lord and to His church as a "living sacrifice" (Num. 15:4-10; 2 Tim. 4:6; Rom. 12:1-2). He also said he not only "spent" but "was spent" for the gospel (2...

Michael Youssef: How You Can Prepare for Christ’s Return

Michael Youssef: How You Can Prepare for Christ’s Return

If you do an internet search asking questions such as "What does the Bible teach about hell?" some of the first few results will be from false teachers. Here are the titles of webpages that popped up at the top of my search: "Hell Is Not a Biblical Concept." "Jesus...

How You Can Activate Your Inner Warrior

How You Can Activate Your Inner Warrior

Did you know if you are a “born again believer in Christ Jesus” there is a warrior inside you? That’s right, you have an inner warrior. Sometimes you need to push pause. Sometimes you need to sit down and count the cost. There is a time to reevaluate. There is a time...

Prophecy: The Lord Says, ‘I Have Reset Time in Your Favor’

Prophecy: The Lord Says, ‘I Have Reset Time in Your Favor’

In the early morning of September 1, 2022, an angel of the Lord came to me. He was the most beautiful angel I had ever seen. He was probably 20 feet tall, had long, flowing dark hair and great, enormous wings. The night was around him, and stars were dancing all about...

Now or Never: It’s ‘Go Time’ For the Body of Christ

Now or Never: It’s ‘Go Time’ For the Body of Christ

Have you been feeling hopeless, sick, depressed, anxious or fearful over the course of these past two years? The enemy of our souls has been turning up the heat every way possible. But his plan is failing and we must remember, especially during the intensity of these...

RECENT ARTICLES

Charisma Highlights: The World Is Watching: Speculation of Sept. 24 Catastrophic Event Sends Many Into Panic

  The World Is Watching: Speculation of September 24 Catastrophic Event Sends Many Into Panic Speculation of a catastrophic or world-changing event to happen on Sept. 24 has gone wild on social...
This Coach Can Help You Destroy Your Addiction to Pornography

This Coach Can Help You Destroy Your Addiction to Pornography

Let’s talk about a subject most people want to avoid. Let’s talk about pornography. According to Covenant Eyes, statistics show that 28,258 users are watching pornography every second, and 20% of mobile online searches are for porn. Among Christians, 20% of youth...

The Real Truth About the Marriage of Politics and Faith

The Real Truth About the Marriage of Politics and Faith

As I look back, I realize that God has given me a career path with some rather unique experiences. I have built bridges at the intersection of faith and government my whole life, and I have learned that serving people through a role in government can be just as...

Pin It on Pinterest