The comfort of the familiar and the fear of the unknown can cripple movement and growth. Likewise the fear of failure and the unbridled desire to always be right and perfect can breed inaction, since it’s in action where mistakes are made. Yesterday while preaching in our mid-week service, these words rose out of my spirit strongly; ‘there is always a first time’. When you began talking, it was your first time ever; if in the event of growth anything or anyone scared you from trying out talking since you had never done it before, you would have stayed dumb. Growth, impact and fulfilling our God-given purpose are a process and not an event. There is always a first time in life.
When Peter dared Jesus to call him out of the boat, his fellow disciples must have cringed in fear seeing that they were all comfortable in the boat. Peter was both daring and also a coward as seen during his denial of Jesus thrice, what a mixture! However, we should not forget that he walked on water on his way to Jesus. When he feared what he saw, he sank, but thank God he cried out for help from Jesus, and together with Jesus, he made a return journey on the water (Matthew 14:28-32). It is this daring character despite his glaring mistakes written about in the bible that catapulted Him into leadership of the twelve. “And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed My sheep‘” John 21:17. This wouldn’t have been our choice to lead the disciples according to the world’s criteria; I believe many would have chosen John who put his heard in the bosom of Jesus and who was closest to Jesus. However, Jesus knew it is just a process and Peter would be steady . After Pentecost, Peter took on the leadership mantle ably and God did amazing miracles through him. Mistakes are made and not thought; you can only make a mistake because you are doing something, and to God that is commendable. You can only fail when you try out something; failure should never be final or fatal. “For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity” Proverbs 24:16. Seven times is a complete number; letting you know that you can fail completely and evidently, but the good news is, you will rise again. God is not as harsh as people are on you, or as you can be on yourself. If you are crippled by past failures, mistakes and sins, this is your time to rise up again. You see, you have to go through the process to get the product, but if you avoid the process then you won’t have the product. Perfection is not attained by inaction, but by continuous improved action. Inaction can give you a false satisfaction since you think you have made no mistake and make out of you a good critic of those who are doing something not ‘perfectly’. But remember, you just have a clean slate or record of inaction and you are not qualified to know better than those who are in action.
There is always a first time so, do not fear the unknown follow the leading of God’s word and Spirit. This is a sure way of charting a new course in our walk. While leading the children of Israel across Jordan, Joshua received instruction from God to tell the Israelites to follow the ark of the covenant – which symbolized the presence of God, because where they were going was a new course, a place they had never seen before. “Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before” Joshua 3:4. God’s Spirit is a good leader, He leads in all truth. As you follow Him, by being conscious of His presence in what you do, you can chart new courses. We are God’s ambassadors; we should never be redundant at our stations. Mistakes in the course of our duties, done with good intentions should not be a deterrent but a motivation to do better. What you might think as a clean life; no mistake, no failure and no missing the mark, is just a life of inaction or fantasy . “Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; But much increase comes by the strength of an ox” Proverbs 14:4. The trough is clean because no oxen is using it, but if you want increase you need an ox, therefore the trough will get dirty and it will need continuous cleaning. Like the saying goes, ‘you cannot eat you cake and have it’! You either choose a life of ‘clean’ record with no increase, or a life of increased impact with occasional mistakes which needs continual cleaning. If you have made mistakes in your faith walk, your private life, in your decisions and judgment, you don’t need to back off; you need cleaning and continue on your course of destiny.
Do not be deterred, distracted and detoured by critics, they don’t know any better. Some criticize those who are doing what they are just intending to do, and that is not wise either. Listen to this wisdom; “Let not the one who puts on his armor boast like the one who takes it off” 1 Kings 20:11. The greatest asset in all we have, is our heart; the issues of life flows from there, so we need to guard it (Proverbs 4:23). We need to guard our hearts from pride, bitterness, competition and strife. Once this is done, God helps us to move on despite our mistakes. Man judges actions, but God judges intentions; “For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” 1 Samuel 16:7. A good action can be done with a wrong intention and likewise a bad action can be a mistake springing up from a good intention. Yes, the mistake won’t be condoned, but God in His mercy sees beyond appearances and gives you another opportunity . Moses exhibited a great dose of anger; he broke the first set of Ten Commandments, but God called him the humblest man on all the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3). After Elijah killed the prophets of Baal, he ran away from Jezebel, presumed that he was the only remaining prophet and prayed that he should die (1 Kings 19:1-14). However, he never died; God took him alive with the chariots of fire to heaven (2 Kings 2:10-11). David had double jeopardy; committed adultery and murder at once, after he recognized his mistake, he repented and later God called him a man after His heart (Acts 13:22). Interestingly, it was Solomon a son of Bathsheba – the ‘partner in crime’ of David, who became a King, not the sons of gracious Abigail and the other senior wives. This all shows us that God in His wisdom and sovereignty sees and does things differently from our human perspective. So, don’t be harsh on yourself and others clean the ‘trough’ and guard your heart from negative influences so that you keep on moving. As a child of God, choose to grow in the things of God, enjoy your heritage and make an impact in this world. Do not judge others, and once you make a mistake, clean up, learn from it and do not be too harsh on yourself. “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand” Romans 14:4. I pray for you that God will keep you on your course of destiny, that you will not be held back by your past mistakes and the fear of failure. I silence the voice of the accuser today in your life and I declare a new infusion of joy, resolve and motivation to move ahead in Jesus’ name.
Robert Ssesanga is the founder of Aflame Gospel Ministries a multifaceted Christian ministry and the Senior Pastor of Aflame Gospel Assembly in Kampala, Uganda. He is an author and a conference speaker who travels extensively to nations. He preaches the gospel with signs, miracles and wonders, as God attests to His word with power. His emphasis on victorious living and enjoying the supernatural life has been instrumental to many lives that have been impacted over the years in many nations. HIs passion is to demonstrate the gospel and impact generations.