Empowered for Purpose, Part 2
The richness of the life we live today and the legacy we leave tomorrow will be determined by whether or not we can overcome our fears, hurts, and failures of the past and find the strength and courage to be the extraordinary people God created us to be.
Here’s the great news: it is God who is at work in you to not only transform you into the image of Christ, but who also empowers you for His purposes and to become all He destined you to be.
I love what twentieth-century healing evangelist Smith Wigglesworth said about being extraordinary,
You can never be ordinary from the day you receive this life from above. You become extraordinary, filled with the extraordinary power of our extraordinary God.”
Indeed! Our born-again experience unites us with Jesus and indwells us with His Spirit. Our bodies are now the very temple of God and we operate from His extraordinary life within. We have the mind of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us to live from His realm and authority. You are extraordinary because an extraordinary God is at work in you!
Peter—Empowered for Purpose.
I love Paul, his writings, his theology, and his life story. It inspires me. But for me personally, it is Peter that I most closely identify with. He was an ordinary man with a wife, a home, and a normal occupation. Like most of us, he was full of passion, courage, faith, weakness, and yes, failure.
He was not 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, faith, 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!” 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!” (Matt. 16:21-23 NKJV) Jesus was not saying Peter was Satan! No, Jesus was correcting Peter’s thinking, which was influenced by the evil one.
Human reasoning, devoid of Spirit-led revelation, will oppose God’s leading and purposes.
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 it’s you, bid me 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 is better to be a “wet water-walker” than a “dry boat-sitter!”
I believe the Lord is calling many at this moment, in a year of pandemic and trial, to step out of what is secure and walk in faith as He leads. There are new horizons and opportunities the Lord wants to lead you into. Be courageous, take a step of faith, and trust Jesus!
Jesus warned of Peter’s trial and failure
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.” Luke 22:31-34 NKJV
Peter had boasted “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.” That was his bravado, his persona, his human nature speaking. Human reasoning, apart from the truth of God’s Word and Spirit revelation, contradicts God’s thoughts and ways (Isa. 55:8-9, Prov. 3:5-6).
The English word sifted in Lk 22:31 is from the Greek word siniazō … “is clearly a type of figurative usage and in many languages must be translated as ‘to test you’ or ‘to test you so as to separate the good from the bad.’”  Peter was indeed tested, and God allowed it to refine and shape him.
Peter, as the Lord said he would, denied Jesus three times. But Jesus in His love, compassion, and eternal purposes for Peter and the Church, restores him three times in public. Three times Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love Me?” And three times Peter responds, “Yes Lord!” And Jesus, in an act of grace and empowerment, tells him, “Then feed My sheep!” (John 21:15-19 NKJV)
Peter was full of outward love and zeal for the Lord. Unfortunately, his zeal was tainted with weakness and pride. Peter, like most of us, failed repeatedly in his attempts to walk faithfully with Christ.
There are no super saints in Church history, only ordinary women, and men, like Peter, who chose to follow and obey the Lord. Surrender is the pathway to transformation and destiny fulfilled.
Many, like Peter, are in a place of transition—between the past and future. Transition can be unsettling, but you must move forward to live victoriously.
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.
Sometimes your failures provide backdoors to success. Every obstacle overcome strengthens you and moves you toward destiny fulfilled. Even the enemy’s attack God can use to enable you to fulfill destiny. Learning how to stand and remain standing in Christ is essential during turbulent times (Eph. 6:13-14).
2020 has been quite the year! Many of us at the beginning of this year prophesied it was a “year of vision and revelation!” While this may seem untrue, I believe it is. Through the shaking and the sifting, the pandemic and subsequent events have caused, God is inviting us into a moment to walk on the water with Him. A moment to see from His perspective, to embrace change that has been thrust on us.
Understand 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.
Peter had to confront his fear, too. Often, we attempt to control what we do not understand or fear. Fear will stop us from moving forward in life and purpose.
A recent survey of adults revealed that 31% fear failure. It is the fear of failure that inhibits most people from attempting new things or setting goals. 
In her book Who Switched Off My Brain?, Dr. Caroline Leaf, a researcher in cognitive neuroscience since 1985, states that 87% of the illnesses plaguing people today are a direct result of their negative thought life. Her research indicates that “toxic emotions can cause migraines, hypertension, strokes, cancer, skin problems, diabetes, infections, and allergies.” 
She concludes that what we think about tangibly affects us both physically and emotionally. Her studies indicate that fear triggers more than 1,400 known physical and chemical responses and activates more than thirty different hormones and neurotransmitters.  (I share more about overcoming worry and fear in my book Fulfill Your Dreams).
One of the most repeated commands in scripture is to “fear not!” Why? To refuse fear permits faith to flourish. Confident faith is free of fear and at peace during the adversities of life.
The battleground 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. As a born-again believer in Christ, you are indwelt by His Spirit and have the mind of Christ. But you must allow the Spirit and truth of God’s Word to guide and lead you.
If you’ve ever had a major setback in life or with God, chances are that unless you have overcome the guilt, shame, or wrong beliefs associated with your fears or the failure, you are plateaued and not moving upward in your purpose and destiny in God.
Although we live in the world, we don’t fight our battles with human methods. Our weapons that we fight with aren’t human, but instead they are powered by God for the destruction of fortresses. They destroy arguments, and every defense that is raised up to oppose the knowledge of God. They capture every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:3-5 CEB
Fortresses are primarily ungodly belief systems … they need to be dismantled and replaced with Godly truths and beliefs!
If you have ever seen an old fort or castle, they are formidable. In ancient times, before modern warfare and mechanization of weapons, fortresses (or strongholds), helped inhabitants repel invading armies if the walls were high and thick enough.
Consider your thought life and beliefs as walls to a castle. If you have been hurt or wounded in the past, you may have “walled off” an area of your thoughts, attitudes, or beliefs. Subconsciously, you may have erected ungodly beliefs that are now entrenched in your thinking, attitudes, and behaviors.
These beliefs (walls) must be removed and replaced with Godly truths and healing through Jesus where needed. Ungodly beliefs will hinder you from walking in God’s truth, hinder your ability to resist the enemy’s schemes, and rob you of living the abundant life God promises. (I shared more on this in my article and sermon, Principles of Abundant Living Part 5)
Use the spiritual weapons given you (Eph. 6:10-18) and develop an effective strategy against the enemy. Begin by replacing ungodly thinking with God’s truth and rely on the power of Holy Spirit in you to heal and transform.
Confess God’s Word over yourself. When I have been in challenging situations, I have learned to declare and believe confidently, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13 NKJV) This positive confession and stance in the Lord silences fear and allows courage to well up within by the Spirit.
Like Peter, we must discover in our journey with Jesus that our old man is crucified and rendered powerless. This includes our human reasoning and carnal thinking. You are what you believe! Consider what Prov. 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (NKJV) You have the mind of Christ, agree with it!
We are now empowered by the Holy Spirit to be someone we were not prior to conversion. From broken sinner to beloved saint!
According to John, “we have passed from death to life…” (1 John 3:14 NKJV). The very life of God has come within us and we no longer need to fear death! There is hope, in every situation. God is with us and is empowering us for His purposes! I will continue next week with part three of this series.
For a deeper look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message, “Empowered for Purpose, Part 2”
 Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 521.
 Caroline Leaf, Who Switched Off My Brain? (Southlake, TX: Switch on Your Brain International LLC, 2007), 4.
 Ibid., 49.