This past Sunday, many churches celebrated Pentecost — the day that Jesus told His followers they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:5) Jesus told them all in Acts 1:8, “But when the Holy Spirit is come upon you, you will receive power, and will tell people about me everywhere — in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. Do you recall Jesus’ disciples? What a motley crew. A rough and tough band of fisherman. These were the ones Jesus chose, to train them up, to take His message of love and hope throughout the world. If these same men were to enter any type of leadership training program today, they would be shown the door. They had no skills, no training, and showed no natural abilities of leadership of any kind.
Remember Peter? Loud mouthed, a bit of a braggart, very opinionated, and when it really counted, He proved himself to be a coward. He was sorry enough after his cowardly deed; he wept bitterly, but the deed was done. At this point, Peter was not a shining example of success in Christian living.
Now, let’s get back to the part where Jesus promised that after He returned to His Father in heaven, He would send the Holy Spirit to be their comforter and teacher. The Holy Spirit would remind them of the things Jesus taught them, and He would empower them to make a difference in the world in the name of Christ. Even Peter? I’m happy to say — even Peter.
Peter was used mightily of God. In fact, just as soon as the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost, it was Peter who led the way out into the streets to share the Good News of Jesus. I love the verse in Acts 2:14, “Then Peter stepped forward…” Gone was the former fear. Cowardice was nowhere to be found within him. The rest of this chapter in Acts records a most powerful sermon, and it was given by Peter. How could this be? He was empowered by the Holy Spirit. What happened? 3000 people came to accept Jesus as their Savior that day.
Before the Holy Spirit took charge of Peter, he was the most unlikely candidate for “Hero of the Faith.” Do you ever feel that way? Have you really blown it? Has the Lord put in your heart to do something, or to share His truth with someone, but you got so scared you backed away? Like Peter, have you been so sorry you wept bitterly in misery and self loathing?
If that’s you, take heart from the example of Peter. What a failure he was — before surrendering all of himself to the molding and empowering of the Holy Spirit. Then — what a success he became, used mightily of God to bring literally thousands into the Kingdom of Heaven. If God could take a loud mouthed coward like Peter, and turn him into one of the Bible’s greatest success stories — can’t God do the same with you? After all, He is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:5
Don’t waste time beating yourself up for failures. That’s what Satan wants you to do. Instead, spend time soaking in the Word of God. Then, like Peter, step forward in the power of the Holy Spirit. Turn the impossibilities about your life into everything possible through Jesus Christ.