Matthew 26:33-35 (NIV) 33Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” 34“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” 35But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.
I think we would say the same. Those in the third world that are daily faced with suffering and death are not so quick to say the same. Like Peter, they have learned that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. We can believe in our heart that we would die before denying our Lord, but the truth is that we will never know unless we are faced with the choice. In many parts of our world, people are making the choice. Let’s remember to pray for them. There are more martyrs for Christ this century than in all previous ones combined.
We have one great resource that the disciples did not have. The Spirit has been poured out. If we are living in constant reliance upon the Spirit, when faced with a choice, we will follow our life pattern of depending on His strength. We will make the right choice. If we are live in the pattern of relying on our own strength and effort, we will certainly fail the test. Failing does not mean defeat. It is a revelation of our condition and the unreliability of the flesh. That revelation will bring us to the depths of despair, the depths to which Peter went when he went out and wept bitterly. Then we can turn and change the source of our strength.
The humility of failure made it possible for him to hear the Apostle Paul’s correction. If early church history is accurate, Peter did change the source of his strength. When faced again with a choice of denying Jesus or death, he not only chose death, but death upside down on a cross. You probably stand before a great test in which you will fail, or have failed, or have been restored. Learn the lesson of failure, and let it teach you humility and dependence on the strength of the Spirit.
Remember: God does not love us any less when we fail. Get up! Depend on Him!
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