Have you ever been afraid to try something new because you might fail at it?   Most of us want to believe what our mothers told us when we were growing up – you can be ANYTHING you want – If you work hard and have a little faith.

But we struggle sometimes.  We think,  “I can’t take that math class – I’m no good at algebra!”.. “I won’t ask her out – she’ll probably just say no!”  “I won’t apply for that new position at work – I’ll just get turned down!”   We can’t help but consider how we will look if our best laid plans go awry.   How many opportunities do we miss out on because we cannot muster the courage to try something new?  Because we were afraid of failing?

Jesus’ ministry with his disciples lasted long enough for them to attend three different Passovers.   John says:   “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made."  

The disciples literally had the author of the universe as their teacher for more than two years!  Talk about a master class!

Even with Jesus as a personal tutor and mentor – they still struggled sometimes.   Because struggling is how we learn new things.   And like a baby taking their first steps – our progress is wobbly and erratic but our Father is completely invested in our success, watching eagerly for that next step, cheering us on, and proud of our victories!

Even after spending all this time with Jesus in the flesh, Peter still denied him three times when the going got tough.   Jesus KNEW in advance that Peter would do this!  Jesus also knew in advance that Peter was to be cornerstone of His church.  Jesus had big plans for Peter, and He made those plans KNOWING that Peter would fail on that night.  Because Jesus Loved Peter!

Saul was an educated man, driven to do God’s will.   He thought that this meant rounding up and persecuting the new Christians.  Saul’s zeal was his failure – doing exactly the opposite thing that he should do!  Finally, Jesus blinded Saul with the light of his presence, knocking him off his horse, and saying… “Saul, Saul, Why do you persecute me?”.   Jesus knew Saul would persecute him.   And He also knew that Paul would write much of the New Testament, masterfully explaining the foundations of our faith!   Jesus loved Saul just as much as he loved Paul.

When Jesus gives us a job to do – it’s never about us.   When He calls us – he does not CARE about our failures.  He cares about our victories!  And He can use our imperfection to do perfect things.   Because He Loves us a million times more than any doting human father loves his toddler!   By doing His will we learn to trust.  And by trusting we can do “impossible” things!  

I think that this is partly why Salvation is given to us as a completely free gift – because if we tried to earn it we would just fail and get discouraged, and give up.   We would wind up questioning if we are good enough – and then we would start doubting God.    As Paul puts it “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;”

There’s only one way to fail when offered a free gift – and that is to refuse to accept it! - Jay

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