"The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matt 26:41)
Have you ever read a Bible story and tried to picture what would have happened if someone had done something differently from the way they did? For example, picture the rich ruler in Luke 18 who ‘became very sad’ (Luke 18:23) when Jesus told him to sell all he had and give it to the poor. I’ve tried to picture him, like Zacchaeus, willingly handing over his fortune and following Jesus. Could he have been another Apostle Paul, Apostle John? Charles Spurgeon said, ‘trials teach us what we are; they dig up the soil, and let us see what we are made of.’ This trial showed the rich ruler what he was made of.
I was thinking along these lines earlier this week when I read about Peter’s denial of Jesus on the eve of his crucifixion.
I picture Peter looking back at that fateful night with a longing that he had acted differently. He pictures himself again in the courtyard of the High Priest. The servant girl says,‘ you also were with Jesus of Galilee’ (Matthew 26:69). He pulls himself up to his full stature and strongly affirms that, yes, he was with Jesus. He then pictures himself telling everyone in the courtyard that Jesus was an innocent man; a good, kind, compassionate man, so why was he arrested? He then champs at the bit and struggles to keep himself from entering the house of the High Priest to defend Jesus.
But Peter knew, and we know that that’s not how it happened. We know that Peter’s hour of trial came, and he saw what he was made of.
However, although Peter’s flesh failed him in a dark hour, the truth is that his faith did not fail him. He repented with tears over his failing and moved forward, as Christian tradition tells us, to eventually die a martyr’s death for Jesus.
I think that we can all take great comfort and encouragement from Peter’s life. Unfortunately, we don’t always get it right. Sometimes, also, our flesh fails and we ‘see what we are made of’. However, here’s the bit I love, our faith can rise again, in-fact not just rise, but soar! Spurgeon also said, ‘Victory needs conflict as it’s preface’.
Maybe the devil has been taunting you, telling you that you are a failure. Remember that there is a difference between being a failure and failing. Peter failed, but he was not a failure. He saw what he was made of....and he soared again!
It’s time to repent; to put the failure behind and to begin to soar again.
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