Ever had one of those weeks when everything you touch seems to go to dust. Just had one, at least I hope it’s over.
Ever been in a situation/s where you’ve been saying or writing something and the way you’ve said or written it has not reflected what’s really in your heart, and it’s come across as though you are a bit of a hard nosed, thoughtless individual. I’ve been hitting that zone a bit for the past three or four days.
It will pass. People do care and can read your heart, even if they don’t always tell you, it’s okay! But how do you deal with it yourself. How do you keep from sliding down the slippery pole of pride fuelled thinking; ‘why bother, why not just stand back and let others get on with it, and if they don’t want to, well so be it!’
I think the Lord’s dealings with Peter are beautiful in their leading to his restoration.
Peter had fallen into sin by publicly denying any knowledge of the Lord Jesus on three occasions. We know that he did weep for, and experienced genuine sorrow for, that sin. We also know from 1 Corinthians chapter 15 verse 5 that the Lord did appear to Peter following his resurrection, and whilst we are not told what was said, would Peter not have expressed his grief at what he had done. It’s in John chapter 21 verse 15 and following that we read of how the Lord Jesus deals with Peter publicly regarding this public sin.
It’s a direct but tender approach. Jesus speaks to Peter first about the core issue of his sin, namely his former pride in asserting that he loved Jesus more than any of the other apostles, ‘I will never leave you regardless of what anyone else does’. Jesus’ post-resurrection response is direct, but his desire is driven by love. Peter’s public sin must be publicly repented of, so that he can be publicly restored. It’s a key point, the past has to be dealt with, so that the present can be clarified and the future enjoyed.
With the response forthcoming that, yes, Peter does love Jesus, the question is asked again, this time to clarify the present. It’s penetrating and powerful, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me.’ It’s all about loving Jesus and arising out of that love doing not our will, but His. Sometimes when we view ourselves as giving everything wholeheartedly to the Kingdom, we can stray albeit unintentionally, into becoming dismissive of the efforts of others. Dangerous place to be. Our thoughts, words, and actions must always flow out of a heart that loves the Lord Jesus, here and now, and not simply in the past.
The future prospect for Peter is important, and Jesus doesn’t keep him dangling on a string. Peter will have work to do, real work, important work. But note, it will be work that will open up to him because of his love for the Lord. Each time the question is asked, ‘Do you love me?’ and Peter replies; ‘Yes I do,’ Jesus’ response is, ‘Peter I have work for you to do – Feed my lambs, Tend my sheep, Feed my sheep.’ So it is love for the Lord and not love for the task, that opens up and keeps open the door for service in the Kingdom.
Things not been going well? Consider doing what I have been doing this morning: Confess sin. Ask the question, how much do I really appreciate what others do for the Lord? And most importantly of all face the question, which do I love more – the Lord or the buzz I get from doing the task?
Then get back to delighting in ‘Following Him’.