Summary: How to move from regret to restoration.
Like Simon Peter, sometimes we boast too much and pray too little.
After he denied that he even knew Jesus, the crow of a rooster and the glance of Jesus brought him back down to earth. Mark 14:72 records that Peter broke down and wept after he realized the gravity of his actions.
Yet later, in the book of Acts, we read how the Holy Spirit used him greatly to launch the early church.
How did Peter move so thoroughly from regret to restoration? How can we?
The answer is in the work of Jesus.
Here are three things Jesus does for us to move us from regret to restoration.
#1. Jesus prays for us.
Luke 22:31-32a: And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail..."
Sifting wheat was the process of separating the kernels of grain from the scales, or "chaff", that enclosed them.
"Simon, Satan wants to sift you and prove that you are nothing but chaff - Satan wants to convince you that you are worthless."
Simon Peter wasn’t alone. If you are trying to live for Christ you have gone through the sifting process. Sometimes you come out as wheat. At other times you feel like chaff. You gave in to temptation. You walked right into the trap the father of lies set for you.
The encouraging news is - Christ believes in us so much that He is spending His time praying for us!
He doesn’t believe we are worthless as Satan’s efforts insinuate. His prayers to the Father reach down into the pit we have dug and pull us out.
In another place Jesus said of His followers, "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Your are Mine, and I am glorified in them." (John 17:9-10)
There has never been a more powerful prayer life than that of Jesus! When He prayed, the blind saw again, the deaf heard again, lepers were cleansed, water was turned to wine, bread was multiplied, the crippled walked again, diseases were cured, broken hearts were mended, spiritual darkness was lifted, and the dead were raised!
This is the One who is praying for us!
When you fail, do not yield to the sifting of Satan. Instead, rely upon the intercession of the Savior.
# 2. Jesus understands us.
Luke 22:33-34: But he (Peter) said to Him, "Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death." 34 Then He said, "I tell you Peter, the rooster will not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me."
Jesus knew where Peter was weak. His knowledge of each one of us is complete. He knows all of our strengths and weaknesses.
Psalm 139:1-3: O LORD, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thoughts afar off. 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.
There are times when we all wish we understood ourselves better. Why do we think, say and do foolish things?
How can we cope with this frail human condition? The best we can do is stay in close communion with the One who’s knowledge of us is complete.
Peter would learn from this situation to trust Christ’s estimation of his character flaws.
We can all trust what the Word of God says when it comes to the weaknesses of our fallen nature.
Jesus says that without Him we can do nothing. (John 15:51) It is His grace that is sufficient in our weakness. (2 Corin. 12:9)
Peter’s deep experience with failure allowed him to rely on Christ for the road of service to Christ still to come in his life.
Because Christ understands us we too must follow His instructions about life.
# 3. Jesus shares His ministry with us.
Luke 22:34b: "And when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."
Jesus didn’t give up on Peter because of his failure. The tremor in his faith would be stilled. He would be given a job to do: "Strengthen your brethren."
Peter would be more longsuffering with others due to his own poor performance. He would know that sometimes even those who love Christ deeply can shirk their duty.
Jesus replaced Peter’s regret with responsibility so that he would not give in to discouragement.
Failure is not often final.
There was some "chaff" in Peter’s life. It was revealed by the sifting. There is some "chaff" in all of our lives that will need to be threshed away from time to time. Don’t assume this process is a denial of your usefulness in God’s work.