“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you. Simon, that when you have repented and turned to Me again, strengthen your brothers.” - Jesus Christ speaking to His disciple, Peter (Luke 22:31-32)
I just have come back from a trip where I had an opportunity to share God’s word with an elderly relative who is brand new in her walk with Christ. I got sidetracked and talked too much about peripheral and controversial things. I should have just focused upon the simplicity of Christ and His cross that the Apostle Paul so clearly taught us to do. (see I Corinthians 2:1-5). I really should know better by now. What she needed was for me to focus upon Christ and Him crucified. I sometimes “FORGET TO REMEMBER!”
This is a lesson we can glean the disciple Peter’s life. He boldly promised that no matter who else would fail Jesus when put to the test, he would not! He could be counted on! He would succeed where “less committed disciples” would fail. Can you detect the pride?
We know the story. He failed the Lord miserably, denying Him in the Lord’s hour of crisis. He wept bitterly and I think believed that he had so completely failed Jesus that he had disqualified himself of being considered even ONE of the disciples, let along the Lord’s chosen LEADER, “the Rock”. Jesus restored Peter to Himself and His service after he “repented and turned to (Jesus) again.”
What Peter needed to repent of was not so much his failure but of his SELF confidence, his forgetting to remember that without utter dependence upon Jesus we can do nothing! (John 15:5)
The amazing thing as we read Peter’s letters to the First Century Church years later, he is able to “strengthen his brothers” not from his previous self-centered, “alpha-dog” self-confidence but rather from the bitter taste of realization that best intentions are bound to come up short. His writing to the early church are full of the importance of humility, of serving one another and of persevering through suffering. Peter was able to strengthen his brothers and sisters in Christ because he reflected an exalted view of His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, as well as a humbled, more accurate view of himself. He became that “Rock” that Jesus believed and prayed that he would ultimately become.
What failures have WE experienced on our journey that have led us to more utterly depend upon Christ? What times in our past where we let our Lord (and ourselves!) down that have actually enabled us to grow in a deeper understanding how we DESPERATELY NEED HIM? What has He allowed us to endure that and has reduced our pride in what we can do for Him but has renewed our perspective on what HE has already done FOR us? As I wrote above, for me, I don’t have to look back that far!
I am encouraged by what Chris Tiegreen writes in his devotional book, At His Feet. “When Jesus sees our faith, He sees the lifelong process. He sees whether our faith will be proven false by our testing or be refined by it…When we fall, he knows whether we will get up. He sees the big picture and in the big picture our momentary faltering does not determine the final outcome. He doesn’t dwell on the toddler who stumbles. He knows us as the mature adult who walks…”
Thank you, Lord, that You are so much greater than our failings, when we “forget to remember” what You have taught us by your word or through past experiences. Thank You for your perspective of us as toddlers who will fall at times … but ultimately learn to walk hand in hand with You!
Written by Jamie Bohnett. Contact the Author: firstname.lastname@example.org