I recently heard the story of a man, who’d been infamous for having a quick temper. This guy could brawl and use profanity with the best of ‘em.
One fateful Sunday morning the man made his way to church, and the Word of God touched him to the point that he accepted Christ as his Savior. The man was excited. He went around telling everyone, who’d listen, of his conversion.
One evening, while socializing with some coworkers, the man and one of his colleagues got into a heated dispute about their favorite football teams, and before the man knew it he’d delivered a vicious punch, injuring his colleague. Instantly, the man was sorrowful about losing his cool. Thoughts of shame and regret flooded his mind, and he began to question within himself as to whether he was still saved.
Upon making it back to his home, the man immediately phoned his pastor, and shared the situation with him. The pastor explained that prior to his accepting of Christ, the man probably would have had no regrets about attacking another person; And the fact that he now feels remorse and conviction about his actions, proves that God has made a change in his heart. The pastor then had prayer with the man, and they prayed for the Lord’s assistance in helping the man to better manage his temper.
After receiving salvation, how many of us have found ourselves ashamed and possibly even questioning the validity of our own salvation, after we’ve said or done something that we know dishonors God?
Once we sincerely accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are immediately put into right standing with God; And our reservation in Heaven is secured. The thing is we still have a sinful body, and years of experience doing wrong.(Paul makes reference to this in Romans 7:15-25)
When we mess up(and all of us do more times than we’d like), the enemy will seize the opportunity to drop thoughts of discouragement into our heart, and do all that he can to make us doubt our salvation, even to the point where he tries to cause us to be ashamed to cry out to God for help.
In those times when we do mess up, we can always talk it over with God. As Christians, the Holy Spirit is in the process of perfecting us daily. He works with us daily to help us gradually let go of the bad things we do, and to embrace the character of Christ. This process will not be completed until we receive our Heavenly glorified bodies.
As we read the Gospels, we see that Peter walked with and learned from Jesus. Peter thought he was courageous enough to stand up for Jesus, however Jesus knew Peter’s limitations. Jesus did forewarn Peter that he’d deny the Lord three times, and I’m sure Peter scoffed at this idea. Three things to remember by this situation are that:
1. Once Peter did deny the Lord, he did express his regret.
2. When Jesus saw Peter again, Jesus did not throw Peter’s denial back in his face. In fact, Jesus gives peter the opportunity to confess His love for the Savior three times(John 21:15-17)
3. We then see Peter, empowered by the Holy Spirit, boldly standing for Christ in the Book of Acts.
A few lessons we can take from this are that:
• Regardless of how strong or how weak we think we are, the Lord always knows where we truly are in our spiritual growth
• While there will be times where we will need to lovingly rebuke or address the sinful actions of fellow Christian brothers and sisters, we should never “turn our nose up” at anyone. We all have areas of our life that God is working with us to correct. We are all a “work in progress.”
• God always sees the potential He has placed within each of us to fulfill the life mission He has ordained for us. We just need to keep the lines of communication open with God, and Trust the Process.
We thank You for the assurance that when we do mess up, we don’t have to hide ourselves from You in shame, but You beckon us to come to You with a contrite heart, knowing that You are faithful and just to forgive us. We welcome Your correction, and thank You for teaching us daily to be more like You. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!