Greetings again my Brethren.  The making of God’s instruments are developed in many ways, but the biggest tool that God uses in our lives to make us an instrument where we can share the heart of God to the people is failure.  We often think success will carry us far down the road of development, but not so.  Success does little to affect the heart of our character which must be transformed by God’s dealings and judgments.  Success will do little to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ, but now failure there is a sharp tool that will cut at our earthly moorings and strip us of our selfishness and arrogant pride.  Jesus was faithful in taking the disciples, especially Peter, to the school of failure as He is in our lives.  As a Bible teacher I often want to be like Paul, but we all need to be like Jesus.  But when it is all said and done we most often are like Peter, one who made many high and mighty boasts, but could never follow through with them.

In Matthew 26 Jesus told the disciples of his coming death, “All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 32But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.”   Matthew 26:31-31)  But, Peter boasted, “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.”  (Matthew 26:33)  What  a proud haughty proclamation to make to the Son of God.  Peter’s words just reflected his lack of spiritual development and understanding.  So too in our lives often we make many grand and lofty promises to God when He knows our heart, He knows we will not follow through with what we say. Let us learn to measure our words and promises.

In John 21 we find Jesus taking Peter to the school of failure to teach him to open his eyes and heart.  Now the Greeks have eight different words for  the word “love.”  Most often the word love is translated from either, “phileo” (fond of or a friendship) or “agape” (dedicated towards). To really get the impact of Jesus’ words and Peter’s reaction we must set the scene.  After Jesus’ death on the cross Peter and some of the disciples went back to a previous occupation fishing (and revelation) when Peter sees Jesus walking on the beach and hears Him call to them.  Peter was so excited he dives into the water and swims to shore where Jesus had some fish on the fire.  So here in verse 15 we will pick up the story. “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas (or old man of the flesh), lovest (agape me) thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love (phileo) thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (agape me) thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love (phileo) thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (do you only phileo me? are you only fond of me?) thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love (phileo you.  LORD you know I am only fond of you) thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”  (John 21:15-17)  Here Jesus brought Peter to the end of his self.  What a wonderful place to be brought to the end of our self where we can see our self for what it really is. Unless we allow God to bring His dealings and judgments into lives (as with Peter) we will never be brought to this blessed place of devastation.  Peter was crushed!  Peter failed Jesus, in spite of all of his boasting and bragging Peter failed and he knew Jesus knew.  But this is the place of restoration and spiritual growth and development. This is the place of coming to grips with who we really are not who we want to be or even who we think we are, but the person we really are.  God knows how to show us our heart if we allow.

Next month we will look at the making of God’s instrument through the school of obedience. A school where  lessons really matter if we desire to grow spiritually.  Remember many are called but few are chosen.  Do you hear Him now?