“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
How many times has Satan asked to sift me, to sift you my friend. :s This little verse makes my stomach turn sour. This is something Satan does to us, he gets permission from God to put us through the ringer. O how thankful I am that we have Jesus interceding for us, praying that our faith in Him would not fail.
Failure in our walk with Jesus is a given, it is going to happen at one time or another but this doesn't have to be the defining of our characteristic walk with Jesus. With Peter's intense, thorough repentance and the help of the Holy Spirit interceding on his behalf, he was able to be used tremendously by the Lord. We must never consign ourselves or anyone else to the pit for letting our Lord down. Our God is gracious and compassionate in forgiving us totally if we are truly repentant. God will also use our failures to better equip us to serving others in the family of Christ.
John 21:15-19 NIV
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
Just look at how Jesus forgave Peter. He forgave him fully 3 times for each time Peter denied Jesus. Jesus reinstated Peter back into the family and gave him jobs to do and commanded him to "Follow Me!"
Jesus forgives us in the very same way, fully. But, we must be fully repentant and willing to change our ways and serve Him completely.
Following Jesus one step at a time.