Can God Use Your Failure?

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None of us like to think about failing. The word may bring unpleasant thoughts to us about failures in our own lives or in others that have hurt us.  However, as much as we do not like thinking about failure, as long as we are in the flesh, there will be times we make mistakes and fail. I want to look at the Apostle Peter.  The Scripture tells us of at least five times when Peter failed. 

  1. He told Jesus that He did not need to die and was used of the devil to tempt the Lord.
  2. He doubted when walking on the sea of Galilee, and Jesus reprimanded him for being of little faith.
  3. He fell asleep praying at the most critical time in his master’s life.
  4. He forgot Jesus’ teaching about loving our enemies, and cut off someone’s ear.
  5. He denied even knowing Christ.

Recently, in looking at who Peter was, I saw all his failures listed.*  Seeing them all together gives them more weight. There was his speaking out of his own desires, doubt in his life, a lack of willpower to pray, forgetting what he learned, and even saying he did not know Jesus. These all occurred in approximately three years. If anyone had a reason to feel discouraged and wonder if God could ever use them, it was Peter.  Sometimes we may see his failures mirrored in our own imperfect lives, but take heart, there is some very encouraging news when we look past the failures.  

I was impressed with how God used Peter despite his failures. God specializes in redeeming and using His people. Here are some ways in which we see God using Peter in the book of Acts.

  1. Acts 1 – Peter leads the disciples in suggesting a replacement for Judas.
  2. Acts 2 – Peter preaches, and 3,000 are brought into the kingdom.
  3. Acts 3 – Peter is involved in healing a lame man when traveling to the temple.
  4. Acts 4 – The disciples are arrested but will not stop preaching in Jesus’ name.
  5. Acts 5 – God uses Peter to judge Ananias and his wife. Also, the sick are being healed with just Peter’s shadow falling on them.
  6. Acts 8 – Peter discerns that Simon the magician has false motives for receiving the Holy Spirit and stands up to him.
  7. Acts 9 – Peter raises a woman who had died.
  8. Acts 10 – Peter becomes the first missionary to the Gentiles.
  9. Acts 12 – Peter was a key figure in the church, and Herod must have known this because he throws Peter into prison, but an angel sets him free.
  10. Acts 15 – Peter plays a key role in the debate about Gentiles also being accepted into God’s kingdom.

Wow! Did you catch all that? Is God able to redeem failures? Yes, He is!  This is only the book of Acts. Peter wrote two books of the Bible and God used him in an amazing role to build His church. Perhaps the devil is tempting you to think that you blew it and that God can’t use you.  If Peter were here, he would beg to differ. Be encouraged, friend, that God is at work in you and wants to use you in his kingdom and redeem your failures. 
-Austin Musser

*Faithlife Study Bible