“You’re ok; just keep failing forward.” What? Failing forward? What are you talking about? “Just take a walk with Peter, and keep failing forward.”
I know you told me to do it, but I couldn’t… I just couldn’t keep it together. I’ve been trying to keep my temper in check, but I botched that, too. I know you said to follow you, but people started talking, and I got scared and bailed. Oh! And that whole ‘controlling my mouth’ thing? Yeah, I’m sucking that up, too. Maybe I should just call it quits; I obviously don’t have what it takes.
Sound familiar? I cannot tell you how many times, on a sometimes daily basis, I feel like an absolute failure, especially in my walk with Christ. No matter how much I grow, no matter how much He changes me, I still end up coming up short. Me and God? Yeah, we’ve talked about it more than once, but only recently, he pointed me toward Peter and told me with what I hope was a smile, “You’re ok; just keep failing forward.” What? Failing forward? What are you talking about? “Just take a walk with Peter, and keep failing forward.
So I did. I began to really look at this fisherman-turned-disciple, the one Christ himself called “The Rock,” and I began to see a pattern that makes perfect sense in the light of perfect grace. Peter sees his mother-in-law healed, sees a girl raised from the dead, and watches Jesus walk on the water, but when it comes time to take a walk himself, Peter sinks like a stone. Two chapters later, he declares Christ the Son of God, and Jesus names him both Peter and blessed. Failing forward. In his next breath, while Jesus is trying to explain what is coming, Peter argues and gets called the devil himself, but before long, he witnesses the transfiguration of Christ and the appearance of Moses and Elijah. Failing forward. He falls asleep in the garden. He cuts the ear off of a servant when Christ is taken. He denies Jesus three times and is not present at the foot of the cross. Yet, after Christ resets his feet, he preaches at Pentecost, heals a lame man, and speaks before the Sanhedrin. Failing forward.
The lesson of Peter, then, is not one of perfection but one of persistence. Peter understood what we too often forget: Destiny dies at the place where you quit. Let me say that again: destiny dies at the place where you quit. The rich young ruler from Mark 10:17-31 never came to know what Christ had in store. Yes, he failed, but he forgot to fail forward. His destiny died at the place where he quit. Peter, no matter how many times he goofed up, stepped out, or fell down, he got back up and kept moving in the footsteps of Christ. He kept failing forward. No matter what your walk looks like. No matter how many times you have to get up, dust yourself off, and start again. Keep failing forward. Eventually you pass the test, certain things get easier, and new tests come your way. They’ll be tough, but don’t quit. Just keep failing forward.
Matthew 8:1-34, Matthew 9:1-38, Acts 1:1-28:31… (There’s a lot of scripture there; just read Matthew and Acts.)