Have you ever failed God?
Perhaps you’ve “repented” for a sin, only to find you just can’t seem to get completely free. Maybe you have vowed to serve God faithfully, only to find that failure seems to repeat itself. The truth is, all of us have failed at some point in life. There are no “super saints” in church history, only ordinary men and women who decided to follow God despite their own human weakness and failures.
If you’ve ever had a major setback in life or with God, the odds are that unless you have overcome the guilt, shame, or wrong beliefs associated with the failure, you are plateaued and not moving upward in your purpose and destiny in God.
A recent survey of adults revealed that 31% fear failure. It’s the fear of failure that inhibits most people from attempting new things or setting goals. 
Over the next couple of weeks, I want to look at some key principles with the Apostle Peter to help you discern your destiny as you transition from your past into your future.
Peter, ordinary man, restored disciple, chosen leader
Peter was an ordinary man. He had a wife, a home, and a normal occupation. He wasn’t a trained religious leader, nor did he seem very spiritual. But one day, Peter met Jesus. “Follow me,” became a clarion call and new direction for Peter—he would never be the same.
As Peter followed Jesus, he exhibited great passion, zeal, and faith, as well as immaturity and weakness. Like most of us, one minute Peter was passionately following Christ, only the next to blunder in something he said or did.
Peter was one of the intimate three disciples (Peter, James, and John) who were the closest to Jesus. For example, they were with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, and beheld the pre-resurrection glory of Christ. They were also with Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, during a time of great need for Jesus, and fell asleep while praying with him before he was crucified.
Another time, when Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” it was Peter who boldly declared, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!” And who can forget that stormy night on the sea of Galilee when Jesus came walking on the water toward the frightened disciples in the boat. It was Peter who said, “Lord, if its you, bid me to come to you!” And Jesus said to zealous Peter, “Come!” For a moment, Peter walked on the water, because he was courageous enough to step out in faith. We might remember his failure, but he was the only disciple courageous enough to “go for it!”
You see, it’s better to be a “wet water-walker” than a “dry boat-sitter!”
Yet, when Jesus declared, “I’m headed to Jerusalem,” Peter said, “Not so Lord!” Jesus responds by saying, “Get behind me Satan. You are not mindful of the things of God, but of the things of men!” Jesus was correcting Peter’s thinking, which was influenced by the evil one.
I love Paul, his writings, his theology, and his life story. It inspires me. But for me personally, it’s Peter that I most closely identify with. An ordinary man, full of passion, courage, faith, weakness and yes, failure. Oh, and he liked to go fishing!
Most of us, like Peter (or if you remember the story of Jacob), will “limp” into our destinies! It’s in our brokenness that we realize how dependent upon God we are—not our strength—but his. It’s called grace, otherwise, it would be works!
We discover along the journey that through Jesus, our old man is crucified, rendered powerless, and we are now empowered by Holy Spirit to be someone we weren’t prior to conversion. From broken sinner to beloved saint! There is hope!
Many, like Peter, are in a place of transition—between the past and future. Transition can be unsettling, but you must move forward to discover destiny.
Transition for Peter included confronting the barrier erected in his mind between his past failure and his future with new hopes and dreams. A “suddenly” had come, a change was unfolding, and he had to embrace it.
As I shared the last couple of weeks, the battle ground for the enemy is primarily in our minds. He is defeated, but he uses wrong beliefs about God, the Bible, our identity and others to entrap us by believing his half-truths and lies. Remember, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,”(2 Cor. 10:4 NKJV) Use the spiritual weapons given you (Eph. 6:10-18) to develop an effective strategy against the enemy—beginning with replacing ungodly thinking with God’s truth by the power of Holy Spirit in you!
Restoration and Empowerment Begins for Peter
Jesus predicts Peter’s denial and failure
Luke 22:31-34 says,
And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”Peter had boasted “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.” (NKJV)
Peter, displaying his loyalty also declared, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” (Matt 26:33 NKJV)
BUT, Jesus knew the outcome and prayed for Peter. In Satan’s mind he would be rendering Peter useless for the Kingdom of God, but in the omniscient mind of God, Satan would be used as a tool to make Peter into a true disciple.
Jesus Restores Peter, John 21:15-19
So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.” (NKJV)
After denying Jesus, Peter is restored to his leadership role in the body of Christ—oh the depths of God’s grace and mercy! Destiny is unfolding for Peter, it began when he was a child, and God used every success and failure to shape and prepare Peter for his role in the body of Christ.
We’ve all failed God at some point in our lives. Or, at the very least, some circumstance (perhaps beyond our control) has occurred that has set us back in life and has hindered us on our road to fulfilled destiny and purpose.
Perhaps the greatest cause for spiritual defeat is a guilty conscience, which can create a nagging sense of spiritual failure. One of Satan’s strategies is to keep Christians preoccupied with failure.
Peter was full of outward love and zeal for the Lord. Unfortunately, his zeal was tainted with pride and weakness. Peter, like most of us, failed repeatedly in his attempts to walk faithfully with Christ. You see, we’re all chips off the same block.
Keep one thing in mind: as Christians, we cannot easily classify ourselves (or others) as either a success or failure. There is a mixture of both in all of us.
For many, the doorway to abundant living is entered through a hallway of failure. Our past is a reminder of our need for God’s grace; our weaknesses make us appreciate God’s love for us and his strength. Leave the past behind and look with hope in Christ to the future. Don’t be defined by your past but allow your past to draw you closer to God in complete dependency.
Sometimes your failures provide backdoors to success. Every obstacle you overcome strengthens you and moves you toward destiny fulfilled. Even the enemy’s attack God can use to move you toward purpose and destiny.
Three times Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?”
It’s as if Jesus was saying, “Now, after you have denied me three times, as I told you you would, can you still affirm that you love me more than these other disciples do?” Peter denied Jesus in public, now Jesus restores him in public.
Next week, we will look at factors that helped Peter through his transition on his road to destiny discovered.