Christians don’t lead perfect lives.
We sin and each time we sin there is a choice. We can agree that it is wrong and decide not to do it again and be restored. We will sin again and the process will be repeated. We will mature and change but we will always be plagued by our bad choices until we die and are perfected in God’s presence. Or, we can focus on the sin, enjoy the sin, and become further ensnared by the sin. We eventually become blind like the Pharisees and sin in ways that may lead to our premature death. (1 John 1:8-10; 5:16-17; James 1:13-15; 1 Corinthians 11:27-30)
I once listened to a seminary professor tell a story about a young woman who approached him after a sermon. She told him about a sin in her life that she committed regularly, enjoyed, and couldn’t stop. She also told him that she loved God and both were equals to her. He told her that he could not help her. He asked her to spend some time alone and decide which of the two, her sin or her love fo God, was the most important part of her life. Then he could help her deal with the one she wanted to change but, he insisted, both could not be together at the top.
How people deal with their sin reveals their deepest self.
Judas betrayed Jesus, felt remorse, made an attempt at making it right, failed, and killed himself. Peter denied Christ, wept, and when Jesus reached out to him, renounced his sin, and was restored. (Matthew 26:69-75; 27:3-5)
In a pivotal meeting before he ascended, Jesus completed Peter’s restoration. He asked Peter if he loved him. Peter repeatedly responded yes. He told Peter to feed his followers. He told Peter that his commitment would lead to his martyrdom. Peter asked Jesus about John’s future. Jesus told him that John’s future was none of his concern but Peter was to follow him. (John 21:15-23)
Peter’s restoration has lessons for all Christians
Do we love Jesus? (more than our sin)
Are we will to follow him? (wherever it leads)
Are we willing to not focus on others? (are they getting a better deal?)
Are we willing feed Jesus’ followers? (actively make disciples by going, baptizing and teaching) (Matthew 28:18-20)
Each time we sin, we face a critical choice.
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