Okay, maybe I spent too much time with my thesaurus, but here are six words that follow Sunday’s story of Peter meeting with Jesus after the resurrection. Peter had failed. Jesus wanted him to grow through the failure to become the tremendous spiritual leader of the church that Jesus knew he could become. But he had to overcome this obstacle of failure.
PRAYER: O God who revealed your grace and mercy most fully in Jesus: unpack your grace in my life to overcome my fears, failures, and frustrations. Help me to grow into the person you dreamed I would become in Jesus’ name. Amen.
MONDAY- Repentance: Acts 2:37-47
To repent is not necessarily to feel bad or emotional. The emotions often come when we feel sadness or regret; but the true meaning of repent is to change our ways. Once we behaved this way, now we choose to behave a different way. Once we were going this direction, now we choose to go a different direction. If what we were doing leads to failure and defeat, then we repent. We choose a different direction that leads to hope and peace. What direction are you going?
TUESDAY- Remission: 1 John 1:5-10
This is the promise that when we confess – take personal responsibility for – our sins, God is willing and eager to forgive our sins. Our sins are gone. The debt is cancelled. Like cancer that is in remission, there is medically no evidence of the disease. When God forgives our sins, God remits them. They are gone. We can live fully and freely. To move from failure to freedom, we trust in God’s promise to forgive our sins.
Wednesday – Redemption: Romans 5:6-11
God anticipated our need for redemption. To redeem is to make something that is worthless into something that is valuable. A coupon states in the fine print that it has little or no cash value. But when we redeem it at a vendor, it then becomes valuable and provides some advantage to us. In a more profound way, God sent Jesus to redeem our worthless lives of failure through the cross. Because of the cross, our lives now have value in God’s scheme of things. Your life is defined, not by your failures, but by God’s redeeming work in Jesus. How’s that feel?
Thursday – Regeneration: John 3:1-8, 16-17
Jesus described this experience of regeneration to be like “being born all over again. ” We see things in a new way. We hear things in a new way. We experience things in a new way. All because we are new persons. This work of God’s forgiveness regenerates us. It is not just a second chance, but a whole new start. It is a mystery we cannot analyze in a science lab, but it is real. How does God’s Spirit regenerate new possibilities in your world?
Friday – Reformation: Romans 8:1-11
One of the dimensions of our lives that changes with God’s forgiveness of our failures is that we live in the Spirit of God. A life that is pleasing to God is not something we can muster up on our own. It happens as we turn our lives over to the power and presence of God’s Spirit living within us. God’s Spirit changes our perspectives, our principles, our practices. And that is what leads to a life of joy and peace. True reforming of our lives from sin and death to life, full and free. What a bargain – trading failure for freedom!
Saturday – Reward: Matthew 6:25-34
Don’t misunderstand me. I believe in heaven, but I also believe that God’s gift of abundant and eternal life begins in this space and time. We can live in reward of heaven as we “seek first the Kingdom of God” in the here and now. I confess I often become anxious about the material things, too; but God promises to provide all that we need. And I have lived long enough to see that proven many times over. Old habits are hard to break, but living in forgiveness and freedom sure beats failure. What do you think?