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It's Not Over Til that Lady Sings... Simon Says JUMP Right Back Up and Start All Over Again!
“….Do as I say, not as I do”
Has never been the best policy for those in authority. Just imagine the shock and disappointment of a young Christian who finds that their role model, mentor, or ministry leader is really one of the humans... Spirit-filled, God fearing, faith exercising, People of the 'Way'; but still one of the: eating-walking-talking-mortal humans; a time when their leader does not match up to the expectations they had. This is especially difficult if It involves the mature Christian who trips or falls after many successful years walking with the Lord.
What is the issue at hand? We’ve preached, encouraged, and in some cases corrected others: “be more faithful”, “check your attitude at the door”, “be mindful of your character and integrity”… and then, we ourselves make the smallest of mistakes or the biggest of blunders. Our faults and accidents find their way out of dark and into the light. Our problems are laid bare for all to see; even our young disciples.
What does this mean for those we counseled? Can we stand again as their role model and disciple-maker, pointing the way towards Christ? Will we forever be named hypocrite, or even liar to those we once led?
If only...there was a human rewind button that could take us back to the place we once knew… a position of spiritual authority!
Simon Peter’s life speaks volumes of wisdom to those who face a long trek back from public mistakes. He could be considered the most ‘man-like’ disciple described in the New Testament.
His faults and frailties were never hidden; instead, the Bible describes them in plain graphic, unflattering detail. He was the disciple who walked out on the water, the ‘Rock’ Jesus placed the church upon. Yet the fact that he shrunk back in fear, denying Christ three times. It was neither sugar-coated nor glossed over; Simon Peter stepped out of the boat in faith yet sank like a heavy rock (Matt 14:22-23). Once he even attempted to rebuke Jesus, (foot in mouth), Jesus literally referred to him as the prince of darkness stating “Get thee behind me, Satan…” (Mark 8:32).
Peter the disciple made mistakes-public mistakes-ugly mistakes-humiliatingly embarrassing mistakes… AND he also stepped out of the boat. Came back and faced Jesus and the disciples after running, denying, and even crudely cursing, hoping to fake-out those around, saving his own life, as he pretended he never was a Jesus follower...
“…Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat…” (John 21:7-8)
The “Rock” the Church was founded upon is a perfect example of who we all are. Simon Peter's testimony makes room for those who know they need a good Forgiving...Yes forgiving!
THEY ARE in the Perfecting process-Yes!,
Arrived and parked at 'Perfect'-No!
So, can a mature Christian return after falling from grace? Can they lead with authority? Can their testimony be turned around and used to honor God and build a thriving ministry?
No, THIS IS NOT AN EXCUSE for sloppy soldiers… Absolutely not a justification for continued choices in the wrong direction. This is Just a reality check; we fail and faint at times… But thank God, for the Grace!
From the example of Simon Peter: Repent, Believe… and JUMP right back in.
Simon says… JUMP!