We Aren't Going to Get It Right Every Time
‘“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day until you deny three times that you know me.”’ (Luke 22:31-34, NLT)
All of us have this urge and desire to get things right. We convince ourselves that perfection is achievable in one form or another, but in all truth, perfection is not a reality. In the story from our key verse, we learn through the Lord’s servant, Peter, that we’re not going to get it perfect every time in life and our relationship with God. We see failure as a devastating pitfall, but it is something we can grow through and from.
Many of you probably have heard this story multiple times and know it like the back of your hand, but today, I just really want to sink into this story and give God the time He deserves to speak to us through it. To start off, imagine you’re Peter and you and Jesus are hanging out. Your love for Him and belief in Him is stronger than you’ve ever felt before. You couldn't be more in awe and in love with anything or anyone than you are with Jesus, the son of God.
This is you. This is where you are at, and it feels like it couldn’t get any better. But then Jesus tells you that you will deny Him 3 times. First of all, how do you respond to that? Do you find yourself forgetting that Jesus is all-knowing and can reveal the future because He’s been a man and a friend to you? Do you get defensive? Do you accept the fact that Jesus basically just told you that you’re going to fail Him and your faith, all before the sun rises?
The Son of God, the one you love so dearly and desire to impress just told you the cold, hard truth that you will deny your love and knowledge of him three times! It is at this point that Peter responds to Jesus saying, “No Lord, you know my heart, you know how much I love you I would never do that.” Jesus corrected him again, and as the story goes, we all know that Peter ended up doing exactly as Jesus had said.
Luke 22:54-62 says “So they arrested him and led him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance. The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there. A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally, she said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!” But Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!” After a while, someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them!” “No, man, I’m not!” Peter retorted. About an hour later someone else insisted, “This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.” But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.” (NLT)
I wanted to talk about this story today because of one blatant and brutally honest truth: Every single one of us has failed Jesus the way Peter did. The thought of that failure can cause us to lose it at times. Maybe your walk with Jesus looks like an obsessive tug-of-war between needing to be the “perfect Christian” and the overwhelming impossibility of that identity. Maybe you’re barely keeping it together, and feel like a total screw up out in the open for all to see and that gives you anxiety.
he fact of the matter is, Jesus loves and accepts us in all of our imperfection and we can’t even do that for ourselves. If we can't live with the fact that we are going to fail from time to time and allow that idea defeat us, then we have lost sight of what the gospel is.
Don’t get it twisted: at the same time, if you have become too comfortable justifying your choices and mistakes by the fact that Jesus has forgiven you, you are using Biblical truth to your advantage. The promises of God and His amazing mercy is not extended to us as an invitation to manipulate the gospel to allow our sin.
It seems we’re at an impasse: We are afraid to live in imperfection and we cannot live a lie. Jesus has called us to live a life of complete humility and in true, genuine relationship with Him. This is what Peter had with Jesus, and that is why, at the end of verse 62, he leaves the crowd weeping bitterly. He knew what he had done, and it wasn’t the thing we swore he would do.
God uses moments like these and he uses our imperfection to grow us and to glorify the power of His love. When we lose sight of God or make a mistake, realizing our own shortcomings can fill us with disappointment and shame. The fact that we are not perfect, yet we are still loved by the Maker of the Universe says so much to people that do not know him. That’s why the word of our testimony has so much power: it is a living, breathing testament to God’s goodness.
Start to fall in love with the flaws in you, because your flaws show just how amazing God is and how he can work through anything and anyone. Remember: the next time Peter encounters Jesus, he’s not only forgiven, but given a directive that shapes Peter’s ministry after Jesus ascends to Heaven. Those flaws in you are a work in progress that He is using to develop and mature you, all so that you can be stronger and more equipped to handle what is coming tomorrow. You are a vessel of the living God, and you are loved and adored and worthy. You are you, and He loves you for it.
Stop trying to change your story and start living in it with humility and acceptance of the fact that yes, you are going to mess up, but God is so much greater than your sin, and in Jesus, there is freedom from the bondage of all sin and insecurities. He has called you worthy today and every day! Let your life be a testimony to his immense power and patience.
I just want to thank you that you have chosen me completely for who I am. Even when you saw me at my filthiest, your love for me has remained constant. God, I just pray that you use the entirety of my life as a testimony to who you are. God, I pray that my flaws would make a stage for your love to shine. I am your vessel. Grow my heart and understanding to the point that I realize that it’s not about me, it’s about you. I love you, God.
In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen.