Note from Jesus
Dear Seeker of truth,
For several days, I will continue talking to you about restoring Peter back to ministry after his three denials on the night of My arrest. Peter over-promised what he would do to stand with Me. I warned him that he would deny Me three times, which is exactly what happened. I told Peter that I was praying for him:
I have prayed that your faith will hold firm and that you will recover from your failure and become a source of strength for your brothers here.
Although initially Peter was willing to defend Me using force when the Temple guards came to arrest Me, I told him to put away the sword. I then allowed the Temple soldiers to arrest Me. This situation left Peter confused. In the aftermath of My arrest and during the early stages of My illegal trial by the Jewish religious leaders, Peter denied he knew Me. He insisted he was not associated with Me. He protested and spoke an oath declaring that he did not know Me. Then, I looked at him across the courtyard; the rooster crowed, and Peter was deeply grieved when he realized what he had done and how he had failed.
Peter, the rock, one of My future leaders among My apostles and in the early church, stumbled miserably. His failure was not a secret. His agony over his actions was genuine. So before I share with you how I restored Peter, I want to remind you of a story I told. I was in the middle of a confrontation with the religious leaders when I told them the story about two sons (see the verses below).
The story is primarily about repentance. I want you to think of repentance in terms of the word “turnaround.” That’s what Peter needed — a major turnaround. He was prone to over-promising and reaching to grab the spotlight. Peter was always wanting to go first, be best, and say the right thing at the right time. This trait was true of Peter whether he was walking on the water then sinking, confessing Me as Lord yet then denying I would suffer, or not wanting Me to wash his feet then wanting Me to wash him all over. On each of these occasions, Peter failed. He over-promised and under-delivered!
At times, Peter was like each son in the story below. He over-promised what he would do and didn’t keep his word; this is like the second son. However, like the first son, he was sorrowful and wanted to get his life back on track when he had time to think through his flawed actions. Somewhere along the way, Peter needed to own both his overstatements and his failures. He needed a turnaround. He needed to leave the past failures behind and walk a new direction, My direction, the direction of faithful obedience.
You, like Peter, will stumble and fall. You will fail to live up to what you want to be. You don’t want to stumble. I don’t want you to stumble. But it will happen. Your decision at that point is very simple: Will you choose to stay in the place where you’ve faltered and live in your failure? Or will you choose to own your failures by confessing them and then turn your life around to live faithfully for Me?
A life of discipleship is not about pretending you are perfect, not about saying the right thing just to make yourself look good, and not about hiding or excusing your sin. I’m not looking for a person who fakes holiness to look righteous. What matters to Me is that you are cut to the heart when you falter, and you are willing to own that stumble, then turn around and get back on track living for Me.
My righteousness covers those who repent. My forgiveness covers those who choose to turn their lives around. So if you have let Me down and disappointed yourself because of your sin, remember that your failure isn’t fatal unless you choose for it to be final. I always welcome a turnaround.
Verses to Live
Which of the two sons below are you most like? Do you push back against what I call you to do, but after thinking about it, get your life back on track like the first son? Or do you over-promise trying to make yourself look good to the folks around you and then fail to deliver like the second son?
For Me, the appearance of being religious means nothing. What I AM after is your heart and your obedience. Even if you find yourself in the shoes of the second son, please realize that you can change. You can turn around, and you can get your life back on track and live for Me. Just remember My apostle Peter. He started out as the second son, then ended up turning things around like the first son.
I will tell you a story, and you can tell Me what you make of it: There was a man who had two sons. He said to his first son:
Go and work in the vineyard today.
No, I will not.
But later the first son changed his mind and went. Then the father went to his second son.
Go and work in the vineyard today.
Of course, Father.
But then he did not go. So which of the sons did what the father wanted?
Chief Priests and Elders (answering at once):
I tell you this: the tax collectors and prostitutes will enter the kingdom of God ahead of you. John came to show you the straight path, the path to righteousness. You did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. Even as you saw the prostitutes and the tax collectors forgiven and washed clean, finding their footing on the straight path to righteousness, still you did not change your ways and believe.
Response in Prayer
O Father, forgive me for the ways and times I have faltered, stumbled, and fallen. I ask that the Holy Spirit give me the strength to get up and turn my life around. I thank You for Your generous and gracious forgiveness. I thank You for the many examples of those people in Scripture who turned their hearts and behavior around to live for You after they had faltered, stumbled, and fallen. Thank You for using them, and I trust that You will use me as I turn my heart and behavior around to live for You. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.
© 1998-2017, Heartlight, Inc. ‘A Year with Jesus‘ is part of the Heartlight Network.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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