Ever foul up as a follower of Jesus? You had just attended a great church service… the presence of the Lord seemed so real… You’d had a spiritual victory or two under your belt… Then you began to feel like there wasn’t a temptation or trial you couldn’t overcome… And then “whop” – down you went hard – and failed the Lord “big time!”
There’s a verse about that – a warning that we should all heed! It says, “There let anyone who thinks that he stands, take heed lest he fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12)
Peter should have heard that one… He was feeling pretty cocky spiritually… Right after a discussion among the disciples about “who among them was the greatest” and a mini-sermon from Jesus about “servant-leadership,” Jesus apparently sensed something that concerned him about Peter’s attitude and Satan’s strategy… He told Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that you faith might not fail!” Peter was feeling pretty confident, He said, “Lord, I am ready to go with you, both to prison and to death!” To which, Jesus knowing Satan’s strategy and Peter’s real spiritual stamina and strength, replied, “I tell you Peter, the rooster will no crow this day until you deny three times that you know me!” (I read about it this morning in Luke 22 during “coffee with the Lord”)
Peter was so confident about his ability to withstand temptation, he was one of those who, when warned by the Lord to “Pray that you may not enter into temptation,” slept instead.
Then the test came – The temptation – the Satanic strategy that would lead to Peter’s failure! Started with the recognition of a little servant girl… DENIAL! Then someone else… DENIAL! And then another person… DENIAL (with Peter apparently even using God’s name improperly)! And then the rooster crowed!
Here is what the Bible says happened next… “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter! And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how He had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And Peter went out and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:61-62)
I’ve been there… I’ve been the one that “fouled up!” Probably you have as well and know how terrible you feel! I don’t know what Peter said to God in those bitter moments of weeping… I believe it was a sincere heart’s cry for forgiveness! The good news is that Peter was forgiven, he was empowered, and 3000 came to faith in Christ because of the message he preached on the Day of Pentecost! (Acts 2:41)
If you’ve “fouled up” as a follower of Christ, don’t wallow in your regret, acknowledge your sin, ask for forgiveness, receive it from the Lord (read 1 John 1:8-9 and the prayer David prayed after his terrible failure – Psalm 51) and move on… The Lord still can and desires to use you!