Choosing Life

Jesus Christ and his disciples had just finished the Last Supper.  Jesus revealed Judas Iscariot as the apostle who would betray him. Then Jesus made a disturbing prediction.  He said all his disciples would abandon him during his time of trial.  The overconfident Peter vowed that even if the others fell away, he would remain devoted to Jesus no matter what: “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” (Luke 22:33) Jesus replied that before the rooster crowed, Peter would deny him three times.

Later that night, a mob came and arrested Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane.  Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of Malchus, the high priest’s servant.  Jesus told Peter to put his sword away.  Jesus was led away to the house of Joseph Caiaphas, the high priest.

Following from a distance, Peter sneaked into the courtyard of Caiaphas.  A servant girl saw Peter warming himself by a fire and accused him of being with Jesus.  Peter quickly denied it. Later, Peter was again accused of being with Jesus.  He immediately denied it.  Finally, a third person said Peter’s Galilean accent gave him away as a follower of the Nazarene.  Calling curses down upon himself, Peter forcefully denied that he knew Jesus. At that moment a rooster crowed.  When he heard it, Peter went out and wept bitterly. (Luke 22)

I think many of us can relate to Peter’s weak moments of courage that led to what the enemy would scream loud and clear to us as ultimate failure. I know that sounds harsh. No one wants to own up to falling short or the lack of success we may be having in our lives. Failure is such an ugly word that no one wants defining their life. But yet the enemy loves to whisper it to us when things don’t go as we plan and expectations leave us feeling short ended.

Here recently the Lord has had me looking at the places where this brutal declaration holds ownership in my own life that leaves me locked in stillness and a rebellion to moving forward. It is a toxic thought that holds too much power and authority in my life and it must be cast into the sea of forgetfulness as Mark 11:23 tells us.

Dr. Caroline Leaf says in her book “Switch on Your Brain” that the Lord is always bringing us opportunities to learn, grow, and succeed. And just because you don’t get it 100 percent right doesn’t mean that you have failed but actually it’s an opportunity for growth and you have the choice to embrace that opportunity for growth or not. The only time you are truly failing is when you choose to do nothing at all. So why not embrace a growth mindset and realize you are still growing and improving. This was a huge revelation for me and has propelled me into choosing to move forward where I was extremely reluctant because of past shortcomings.

But even greater reality is that Jesus already knows where we will fall short but he is always there for us despite it and still calls us friend. Just like Jesus told Peter he would deny him 3 times and Peter did. But after it was all said and done, Jesus rose on the third day, went looking for Peter and still called him friend (Luke 24). If Jesus is the standard then why do we fall for the whispering of the enemy?

Dr. Caroline Leaf says, “The primary success of capturing your thoughts will be to focus on God’s way first, not the world’s ways. And science is showing that meditating on the elements of Jesus’s teachings re-wires healthy new circuits in the brain…so evil does not come from God, obviously, yet people often say that if God created everything, then he created evil as well. God has given us the power to create: this creative force can be good or evil through our choices.”

What Dr. Caroline Leaf is saying is that if I choose to dwell on failure and embrace it and its toxicity I will be creating my own evil in my life because I am choosing death and not life. But if I choose to dwell on the word and what the Lord has to say about my learning process I am embracing life. “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” Deuteronomy 30:19

In the days to come I am choosing to recognize where I have embraced failure in my life and kick it into the sea of forgetfulness while actively embracing life and seeing everything as an opportunity for growth and success. I urge you to choose life with me and not curses while enveloping every opportunity the Lord brings your way for growth and the enlargement of him in your life.

Michelle Preble
Transformation Center Director
NCWC

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