The Morning After
Yesterday I may have sworn that there was no way I was ever going to fall again. Things were getting better, but what happened? Now I’m sitting here, aching inside, and cursing myself. I allowed temptation to lure me into looking at something on my phone that I promised that I never would return to. I thought I was strong enough to handle it, but I couldn’t, or at least I didn’t, and now I’m miserable.
Peter had his own morning after experience. He had sworn to Jesus, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.” Jesus replied, I tell you the truth, Peter-this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” “No!” Peter insisted. “ Even if I have to die with you, I will never betray you!” (Matthew 26:33-35). Jesus had been right, as always! Jesus was betrayed, arrested, tried, and beaten. It was more than Peter could bear; but he couldn’t walk away. So he followed. He was suspected of being a collaborator. Each time he lied to protect himself. The third time, “Peter swore, A curse on me if I’m lying-I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed. Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “ Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” “And he went away, weeping bitterly.” (Matthew 26: 74-75).
Jesus knew Peter was going to fall in advance; and his love didn’t skip a beat! God doesn’t hate us the morning after. He loves us every bit as much today as he did before we fell.
We may accept God’s forgiveness, but feel that our fall has disqualified us from serving God or aspiring to great things. We may conclude that we naught as well go back to the old lifestyle we had before we began to hope and work for something better.
The apostle Peter started out as a fisherman named Simon. That was all he was qualified for, at least before Jesus came along. “One day as Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers-Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew-throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people! And they left their nets at once and followed him.” (Matthew 4:18-20). For the next three years, Jesus trained him to “fish for souls,” and during that time Peter witnessed many miracles. But then he blew it! In the end he denied Jesus. He went through three days of utter hell, and then the greatest miracle of all happened. Jesus was alive again!” But Peter still thought of himself as disqualified. He started up his fishing business again. That’s where Jesus found him, back in his old life. It was on that same shore that Jesus reaffirmed his call. Again he said to Peter, “Follow me”.
We may consider ourselves disqualified after a fall, but God doesn’t. The apostle Paul said, “For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn” (Romans 11:29). Just because we’ve blown it doesn’t mean that we should give up and go back to our old lives. God still has a wonderful future for us. We only really fail when we refuse to get up and start again.
Jesus, the Good Samaritan will find us, beaten down and feeling broken because of our choice to give in. He will dust us off, bandage our wounds, and once again tell us to follow him.
Taken from “The Life Recovery Devotional” by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop, page 374 & 375