Message: When I stumble and fail, I usually struggle with feeling adequate with God for a bit. I sit in my self-loathing and ease my way back in with a limp- almost like I’m testing the waters to see if God will have me back. “God, are you still mad at me???” I’ve noticed that in these times my prayers come from a low place that I’d like to believe is humility, but truth be told, I’m more like a wounded animal with my tail between my legs trying to work my way back. As I read Mark 14 it occurred to me that when Jesus chose his disciples, he not only knew in advance the failures that each would commit, but he chose each of them knowing full well that he would be betrayed, denied and left alone in his time of need. He called them all out in advance. Judas with his betrayal, Peter with his denial, and the rest of them for running away during his distress. Interestingly enough, the only ones surprised by their failures were the disciples themselves. Jesus already knew this would happen and he chose them anyway and made them partakers and representatives of his kingdom.
Command: Watch and pray so you don’t fall into temptation.
Promise: God already knows my shortcomings and failures, so I don’t have to flinch and beg God to take me back when I do. He knew before I ever did that I would fail and yet he chose me anyway!
Warning: If I’m not focused and in connection with God I will be found sleeping, unprepared and caught off guard when trouble and temptation shows up. I won’t recognize the danger headed right towards me and I will likely have a knee-jerk reaction like Peter did when he chopped off the ear of the centurion.
Application: I love the wisdom of being proactive instead of reactive. God knew we would fail and he chose us anyway. He doesn’t react to our sin and hold us in contempt while he reacts to our betrayal and rejection. He prepares us in advance. He called us to do the same. If I really understand that God chose me knowing full well what I would do to betray and disobey him, I would spend less time returning with my tail between my legs and more time praying in advance, preparing my heart and staying aware and alert for the dangers and temptations headed straight for me. If I prepare my heart in advance and proactively stay focused, I will have less knee-jerk reactions and more moments where I resist the devil and watch him flee.