The Upper Room Devotion for Friday, August 4, 2023, was written by Cole Beckloff of South Dakota.
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
John 12:15-17 NRSV
Every day as I climb out of bed, I am troubled with thoughts like these: Remember when you insulted that person? Remember when you skipped your devotional time? Can't you just try to do something right today? This spiritual battle rages across my mind most days. But I take courage from the story of Jesus appearing to his disciples after his resurrection. He had breakfast with them after a miraculous catch of fish, and after breakfast, Jesus asked Peter three times if Peter loved him. Jesus used the repetition to remind Peter of the night when he denied Jesus three times. However, Jesus wasn't condemning or shaming Peter. He was telling Peter, "Listen, I forgive you! Now go and tell others of my love."
Peter thought he had failed miserably, but this wasn't the end for him. By accepting Jesus' unending forgiveness, he was able to reach thousands with the same grace that had turned his life around. I still struggle with keeping my mind fixed on the Lord's redeeming love. Too often I am tempted to focus on my needs and wants instead of on the work of Christ. But God constantly lifts me up from my failures to shape me into a more faithful Christ-follower.
We all have faults and flaws, parts of ourselves that keep us at the foot of the cross, seeking healing and deliverance. While we might deem ourselves unworthy of forgiveness and grace, God continues to freely offer us forgiveness and grace. God offers us these gifts, that we with reverent and humbled hearts, might offer them to others. In so doing, we demonstrate our devotion to God, fanning into a roaring bonfire the light of Christ within us. May we all commit to deepen our relationship with the God that heals our faults and flaws, making us whole.
Loving Father, thank you for your forgiveness and for helping us to live the way of Christ. Amen.