So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?"
Jesus has a wonderful way of restoring us when we fail Him! He does not humiliate us. He does not criticize us. He does not ask us to make a resolution to try harder. Rather, He takes us aside and asks us to reaffirm our love for Him.
Peter miserably failed his Lord when he fled with the other disciples from the Garden of Gethsemane. Later, he publicly denied that he even knew Jesus. Peter must have wondered if he had been capable of being Jesus disciple when he was unfaithful to Jesus in His most crucial hour.
As you begin a new year, you may be painfully aware that you have failed your Lord in many ways. Perhaps you were not faithful. Perhaps you disobeyed His word to you. Perhaps you denied Him by the way you lived. Jesus will take you aside, as He did Peter. He will not berate you. He will not humiliate you. He will ask you to examine your love for Him. He asked Peter, "Do you love Me?" If your answer, like Peters, is "Yes, Lord," He will reaffirm His will for you. If you truly love Him, you will obey Him (John 14:15). Jesus does not need your resolutions, your recommitments, or your promises to try harder this year. If your resolve to obey God last year did not help you to be faithful, it will not make you successful this year. Jesus asks for your love. If you truly love Him, your service for Him in the new year will be of the quality that He desires.
Woe Is Me!
So I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts."
An exalted view of God brings a clear view of sin and a realistic view of self. A diminished view of God brings a reduced concern for sin and an inflated view of self. Isaiah may have been satisfied with his personal holiness until he saw the Lord in His unspeakable glory. Isaiahs encounter with holy God made him immediately and keenly aware of his own unholiness and the sinfulness of those around him. It is impossible to worship God and remain unchanged. The best indication that we have truly worshiped is a changed heart.
Have we so conformed ourselves to a sinful world that we are satisfied with unholy living? Have we sunk so far below Gods standard that when someone does live as God intended, we consider that person "superspiritual"? If we only compare our personal holiness to those around us, we may be deceived into believing that we are living a consecrated life. Yet when we encounter holy God, our only response can be "Woe is me!"
You will not see those around you trusting Jesus until they recognize a clear difference between you and the rest of the world. God wants to sanctify you as He is holy. When God deals with you, there will be a radical degree of purity about your life that is absolutely different from what the world can produce. The world, including those closest to you, will be convinced you serve a holy God by your consecrated life.
Making a Difference
But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the kings delicacies.
Would you dare to believe that God, who called you to Himself and equipped you with His Spirit, could work mightily through you? Have you made the connection between the time and place in which you live and Gods call upon you? World events never catch God by surprise. He placed you precisely where you are for a purpose.
Daniel did not let the temptations of his day interfere with his relationship to the Lord. He knew that to make his life useful to God he must be obedient in all things. Regardless of what the most powerful king in the world commanded, Daniel refused to compromise what he knew God required of him.
History is replete with examples of Christian men and women who believed that God would work through them to make a significant difference for His kingdom. God placed Esther strategically in the kings court at a crucial time when she could save the lives of Gods people (Esther 4:14). God placed Joseph strategically to become the most powerful adviser to the pharaoh in Egypt and to save Jacob and his family from a devastating drought (Gen. 41:3940).
Are you allowing your surroundings to determine how you invest your life? Or are you letting God use you to make a difference in your generation? Ask God to reveal His purposes for you and His will for your life today.