Devotional: ‘What Do You Do When You’ve Failed the Lord?’

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What do you do when you know you have failed the Lord? Do you run from Him, or do you run to Him? Consider with me the story of Simon Peter.

Peter made a boast that he would never deny the Lord. “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” (Matthew 26:35 ESV) Yet Peter did deny the Lord; not once, but three times. At his third denial we read –

Luke 22:59 … still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly. ESV

Scripture seems to indicate that after his failure, Peter became so discouraged with himself that he tried to go into seclusion. Yet the Lord did not want His disciple to hide from his problems or to become inactive. Jesus had great plans for how He wanted to use Simon Peter and therefore the Lord made a personal post-resurrection appearance to Peter, just to encourage him to get back in the game.

The Bible tells us that Jesus spent forty days on earth after His resurrection. Those days were filled with spiritual teaching and encouragement. No doubt Peter was not the disciple who had to learn to receive the Lord’s forgiveness. During one of those days we read –

John 21:4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. 8 The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish… ESV

Rather than hiding from Jesus, Peter quickly jumped overboard and swam directly to Him! His actions almost seem comical, yet they greatly encourage us by teaching us that with Christ – there is always a second chance and a new day.

We read from the book of 1 John –

1 John 1:8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ESV

Perhaps today you need to swim towards Jesus.

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