WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
AUGUST 10, 2022
TOPIC: MAY YOUR FAITH NOT FAIL
BY T. O. BANSO
“[Then the Lord said,] ‘Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has demanded to have you apostles for himself. He wants to separate you from me as a farmer separates wheat from husks. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith will not fail. So when you recover, strengthen the other disciples’” (Luke 22:31-32 God’s Word Translation).
One of the events that happened before Jesus’ crucifixion was His denial by Peter. After Jesus’ arrest, Peter denied Him three times (Matthew 26:69-75). Before, Peter had declared that he loved Jesus, and even said that he could die with Him (Matthew 26:31-35; Mark 14:27-31; Luke 22:31-34; John 13:36-38).
Talk is cheap! There is a difference between theory and practice. I always describe as theory Peter‘s speech and assurance to Jesus that even if he had to die with Him, he would not deny Him.
A theoretical statement is different from a practical demonstration of the words. When it was time for the practical demonstration of his pledge, Peter failed. He failed his practical three times! Jesus had told him that before a rooster crowed two times, he would deny Him three times. Peter did just that. He couldn’t walk the talk. Immediately a rooster crowed, Peter remembered the word Jesus had said to him; he went out and wept bitterly (Matthew 26:75).
That was a setback for Peter. In John 21, he went back to fishing, his former profession, which he had abandoned for about three years that he had been following Jesus. Thomas, Nathanael, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples went with him. Thank God that Jesus went after Peter following His resurrection and reinstated him into the ministry.
Peter must have learnt a lesson from that event that there is a difference between theory and practice. In spiritual matters, you must never become overconfident that you can handle the practicals just because you have some theoretical knowledge. Pride won’t help.
Luke 22:31-32 says, “[Then the Lord said,] ‘Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has demanded to have you apostles for himself. He wants to separate you from me as a farmer separates wheat from husks. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith will not fail. So when you recover, strengthen the other disciples’” (God’s Word Translation). Peter should have listened to what Jesus said and not be boasting, perhaps based on some theoretical knowledge he had!
Without the help of God, nobody can be confident that his faith will not fail when he faces some tests, trials, or temptations. Peter should have said Amen to Jesus’ prayer for him instead of trying to assure Jesus of his loyalty. Jesus was not in doubt about Peter’s loyalty. He believed in Peter but warned him ahead of Satan’s plan, which he wasn’t aware of.
Jesus’ prayer for him was not that he would not be tested or he would not deny him, but that he would not be separated from Him. His prayer was that Peter would not fail to make a comeback after his setback.
Satan planned to make all the disciples of Jesus be separated from Him as a farmer separates the wheat from husks. He wanted to sift them all as wheat. But Jesus prayed particularly for Peter so that he would make a comeback and provide the required leadership for the rest of His disciples.
Satan succeeded in making all the disciples of Jesus desert Him and run away after His arrest (Mark 14:50; Matthew 26:56). But Peter’s case was worse because he denied Jesus. Let’s see Matthew’s account. The first time he was tested, a servant girl came to Peter and told him he was one of those with Jesus the Galilean. Peter denied it in front of everyone. Claiming ignorance, he said, “I do not know what you are saying.” (Matthew 26:69 New King James Version).
What was so difficult to understand in that question? The answer was either yes or no. But Peter was evasive. How many times you, too, have done that? How many times have you denied Jesus by failing to identify with Him publicly? Maybe because you wanted to be politically or socially correct, you decided to engage in pretence.
Jesus said, “Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God” (Luke 12:8-9 New King James Version).
Look at the second time Peter was tested. “And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, ‘This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.’ But again he denied with an oath, ‘I do not know the Man!’” (Matthew 26:71-72 New King James Version). Brother Peter! You don’t know who?
Peter even forgot the teaching of Jesus not to swear by anything but to let his “Yes” be “Yes” and his “No” be “No”, for whatever is more than these is from the evil one! (Matthew 5:33-37). Peter forgot the scripture and denied Jesus with an oath that he didn’t know Him.
Many have done worse things than this when they found themselves in a tight corner! They lied. Someone said a lie is a very present help in times of trouble! That is Satan’s escape route, but the aftermath for a child of God is never palatable.
You and I have lied on some issues in the past, and we know how our conscience convicted us thereafter; we lost our peace until we told the truth. I assume you told the truth eventually! Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (New King James Version). Let God, not lies, be your refuge and strength when you’re in trouble.
Here’s Peter’s third denial of Jesus: “And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, ‘Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.’ Then he began to curse and swear, saying, ‘I do not know the Man!’ Immediately a rooster crowed’” (Matthew 26:73-74 New King James Version).
In case you thought Peter made a mistake the first time when he denied Jesus with an oath, he swore again by God that he didn’t know Jesus. After the rooster crowed, he remembered the warning of Jesus, and he went away, weeping bitterly.
The theory is different from practice. The devil is not afraid of your knowledge. Knowledge is power, but your knowledge alone is not enough for victory in times of tests, trials, and temptations. These must come. We need God to help us. Jesus said he had prayed for Peter that his faith would not fail. According to Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, this means that Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith will “fail not utterly, or finally.” Also, Albert Barnes, in his commentary, says the words “fail not” mean “utterly fail or fail altogether.” As Adam Clarke puts it in his commentary, “Peter’s faith did fail, but not utterly: he did fall, but he did not fall off, apostatize, or forsake his Master and his cause finally, as Judas did.” Peter’s faith failed but he did not utterly or completely fail. He fell but he didn’t fall away (apostatize) as Judas Iscariot did. Because Jesus had prayed for him, he was able to recover and return to Him.
Failure is not final. Maybe you have failed like Peter and the other disciples. That should not be final. If you’ve failed, Jesus is calling you back to Himself. He loves you so much that He died for you. Your faith shall not fail in Jesus’ name.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, uphold me; let not my faith fail. Let me not fall away. Help everyone who has suffered a setback in their faith to recover and return to You. Cause every backslider to return to You. I pray that everyone who thinks he stands will take heed lest he falls.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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