He is Our Perfection
‘“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 that failure is just as much a key part of the process of us becoming who God wants us to be, even though we may not enjoy it.
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. You are Peter in this story and you are with Jesus. Spending time with the one you love the most, the one that you spend your days following and obeying. The one you believe is the savior of all mankind.
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?
You are Peter in this story and you are with Jesus, your savior and He tells you that you will deny him before people 3 times before the rooster crows. The Jesus that you love with all your heart tells you that you will choose yourself over him not one, but three times in one day. Your love for Him is the strongest you have ever experienced in your life, how could you ever do that to Him you think to yourself.
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. Maybe you have truly just let go of God, and are looking to come back to him but feel shame.
The fact of the matter is, Jesus loves and accepts us in all of our imperfections 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.
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.
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. Peter was ashamed, upset that He had not represented his love for Jesus the way he wanted to. But Jesus, He still loved better just as much. He could see the molding and shaping that this experience was going to give Peter.
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 gospel is that we are imperfect people who needed so much more than ourselves, and Jesus came to save us and now we can find refuge in Him and grow in every moment we experience. Whether joyful, confusing, or “close to perfect” Jesus’ hand is in it all, working.
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 that may upset you daily and maybe even get you in trouble in some situations, are what God is using to shape you and make you into the daughter or son of God He has called you to be. You are being molded, even in the moments that feel far from perfection. The perfection of our maker covers us daily.
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 bondages of all sin and insecurities. He has called you worthy today and everyday! 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. Lord, I give my flaws, and all of my heart to you. I know that in you everything grows and you are the molder of men. I love you Lord.
In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen.