One thing we may never find ourselves lacking in is resolve. We have quite a bit of it, actually.
I can’t count the number of times I gave in to lust and would then look up at Heaven and say, “That was it, God. I won’t do it again. I promise. That was the last time.”
Then, within 24 hours at times, I would be on my knees again. “God, it’s me. I know. I fell again. But this time…”
We can gain hope from a story in the Bible– one we don’t often read completely through– the story of Peter denying Christ.
It doesn’t sound too encouraging to start with, but if you stop and think about it, Peter reminds us of, well, us! How often do we say, “Oh no! Me? Never. I would never do that!” Yet find ourselves doing that exact thing.
That’s where Peter was. Christ said everyone would forsake Him. Peter said, “Oh no no, Jesus. Everyone else might forsake You, but I– I will follow You to death.” Was he lying? No. I think he sincerely thought he would stand by Jesus. I don’t think that somewhere in his subcranium he knew he was going to adandon Christ. He had the best of intentions when he made that statement, and for all those intents and purposes, it was true. But, time would be the tester, and within hours Peter would taste the bitterness of those words.
As the rooster crowed and reality set in, he caught the eyes of his Saviour, and it broke him.
We’ve been there. We’ve known the joy and ecstasy of praising God one moment only to experience the shame and guilt of forsaking Him the next.
But the story doesn’t end there for Peter, and it doesn’t end there for us.
After Jesus rose from the dead, He finds the disciples. They’ve gone back to what they know– fishing. In a fireside conversation, Jesus asks Peter, “Peter, do you love me?”
What a question! I can imagine it might have felt like a knife being thrust into an already-broken heart. The last interaction between Christ and Peter was Peter vehemently denying Christ, not wanting any association with Him. Quite a question to ask.
Peter affirms that ‘yes’ he did love the Lord. Now see how the Lord responds. He doesn’t chide him:
“Oh really? Well, if you love Me then what was that whole incident about back on the cross? See I told you you would deny Me. Don’t you think you owe me an apology?”
He doesn’t put him on probation:
“Well, it’s going to take a while for me to believe that, but I’ll start trying to trust you again.”
He gives him a mission:
“Feed my sheep. Yes, you. You, the one who just denied me, get up, brush yourself off and do something for the Kingdom.”
Do you see the hope that is there for us? God is very acquainted with the fallen. You aren’t the first person who has made that promise and broken it… again… and again… and again. And He knows that. He knows that we battle a sinful flesh that wants to do its own thing even if our hearts sincerely desire Him.
No matter how many times we want to throw in the towel. No matter how many times we are convinced we have fallen too far, remember the life of Peter, and remember that no matter how many times we give up on ourselves, He doesn’t give up on us.