When Peter was finally realized Jesus was the Son of God, he fell to his feet and asked Jesus to go away, because he was a sinful man (Luke 5:8)
He was called to apostleship by Jesus on his fishing boat. (Luke 5:10-11)
Peter was one of the three closest to Jesus inside the twelve apostles (Mark 5:37, Mark 9:2, Mark 14:33)
At the last supper, Peter pledges his dying devotion to Jesus (Matt 26:33)
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter in passionate defense of Jesus, cuts off the ear of the high priest's servant. (John 18:9-11)
After Jesus' betrayal comes the famous trice denial of Jesus. (Matt 26:75)
On the day of Pentecost, Peter stands up in front of the crowd and delivers a message and 3,000 people got saved. (Acts 2:41)
During Paul's ministry, Peter was rebuked because he was being influenced by the circumcision group (a group that was trying to make the new gentile believers follow Jewish customs) and not allowing gentiles to live in the freedom of Christ. (Gal 2:14)
Just look at the facts... Peter was not a steady, perfect, unwavering believer. He had his personality and self to deal with throughout his ministry. This makes me feel much better personally, because I don't know about you, but I just can't seem to live up to the standard of perfection. I try, and I fail... and I try again, and I fail again. It is this never-ending cycle of constantly seeking to attain perfecting that I think achieves humility and grace. As long as we are cloaked in these meat-sacks of flesh we call bodies, we will never be able to rid ourselves of the sin that is so inherently within them (Rom 7:22-24).
But, there is hope. Not just hope, but honestly, comical hope. If Jesus, being fully God and fully man while He was on earth, still chose Peter to be one of his closest friends and most trusted disciples, then I think we can all rejoice in the fact that we don't need to be perfect. Don't forget that it was Peter that gave the great confession (Matt 16:13-16), "You are the Christ, Son of the Living God" and yet was still able to deny he ever knew Him.
I said all of that to get to this... all to often we get caught up in wallowing in sin, and not walking in grace. I am not saying use grace as a license to sin, but I am saying that when you sin, ask for forgiveness, apologize to the Lord for faltering, then pick yourself up and get on with it. Do not allow the enemy to use your sin as a foothold for bondage.
If Peter could run the gambit from disciple to denial, can't you cut yourself some slack?
- Just a thought.