No matter how hard we try to stay on track, we will fail at some point(s). Our Lord won’t be surprised when it happens, even though we might be. We can wallow in our shame and allow the devil to further leads us away from the Lord, or we can humble ourselves, repent, and get back on track. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
We have the choice while we are able to make it as to how we will live and what we will live for. Jesus was clear about what He expects His followers to do: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) He wants us to daily deny our selfish desires. When He taught the disciples to pray, He showed them how to pray to the Father: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt 6:10) We are to humble ourselves before the Lord, and ask for His will, not our own.
We are to come to Him humbly and thankfully for what Christ did on the cross to save us from our sin and the example He gave us in how to live. “When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly. ‘He Himself bore our sins’ in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by His wounds you have been healed.’ For ‘you were like sheep going astray,’ but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:23-25)
We were sinners, but now we are disciples of Jesus. We can daily deny ourselves because we no longer live for ourselves, we live for Christ who lives within us: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)
We will make mistakes and get off track, it is inevitable. Peter did countless times, and there are many stories in the Bible showing mistakes made by others. Even while Peter was distracted by others and what the Lord had for them, Jesus brought him back to what He wanted from Peter: “Follow me” (John 21:19-22). We aren’t to be concerned with what steps the Lord has for others or His purpose with them, we are only to ask what His will is for us, and then walk in the steps He gives us.
Paul certainly made mistakes, but he told us that we must press on, get back on the horse, and get back to work refocused on Christ and the goal. “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:12-14)
Today is a new day. “Let your life (like Peter’s) bear witness that our God is Lord of the slim chance, the fat chance, the no chance…and the second chance!”–Anne Graham Lotz, Into the Word: 52 Life-Changing Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups