Bivocational Small Church Ministries Coordinator
Are You Making Any Resolutions This Year?
So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" . . . John 21:15a NKJV
How did you do in keeping your New Year’s resolutions for 2019? I did make an effort to keep mine, but I must admit that I failed to keep them all. I’m disappointed that I failed myself, but more disappointed that I failed God by not doing all that I resolved to do.
There is an interesting account in John 21 where Jesus met His disciples by the shore of the Sea of Tiberias. I’m sure you recall what has happened shortly before this encounter. In the upper room the night before Jesus’ crucifixion, Peter declared his allegiance to Christ, even if it meant his life. Then, just hours later, Peter and the other disciples fled from the Garden of Gethsemane forsaking the Lord. A short time after this, Peter denied vehemently that he even knew Jesus, breaking the vow he had made only hours before. Peter had failed his Lord miserably, and I feel sure he must have questioned himself many times after this about his worthiness to be one of the disciples, considering how he was unfaithful to Jesus in one of His most desperate hours.
But then Jesus displays His amazing grace in the way in which He restores one when they fail Him. As you read on in John 21 you see how Jesus restores Peter. He doesn’t humiliate him, nor does He criticize him. He doesn’t berate Peter or belittle him or call him a failure. He doesn’t even demand that Peter try harder in the future. You see, Jesus knew Peter’s heart and that he was sorry for failing Him. Jesus didn’t have to chastise Peter. Peter had already chastised himself. Jesus simply takes Peter aside and asks him to reaffirm his love for Him, to put the past behind and to move on.
As you think about making some resolutions for this New Year, perhaps you, like me, are painfully aware of ways we have failed our Lord this past year. Perhaps those failures included things like not spending adequate time in prayer; or lack of diligence in regularly reading His Word; or maybe coming up short on a commitment made to the Lord, or maybe being disobedient to Him and His will for your life. Perhaps we, like Peter, have failed the Lord by denying Him somehow in the manner in which we live our lives before others.
Here again is the amazing thing our Lord will do. He will take us aside as He did Peter. He will not humiliate us, nor will He criticize us. He won’t berate us or belittle us or call us failures. He won’t even demand that we try harder in the future. You see, Jesus knows our hearts and whether or not we are genuinely sorry for failing Him. Jesus wants to simply take us aside and ask us to reaffirm our love for Him, to put the past behind and to move on. If our answer is “Yes, Lord; You know that we love You,” He will reaffirm His love for us and His will for us.
If you and I have answered Jesus’ question, “Do you love Me?” with an honest and sincere, “Yes, Lord, I love You,” we will prove that love by obeying Him and living out our lives in service to Him. In a devotional written by Henry and Richard Blackaby, they make the following comment that sums up what I have been trying to say: “Jesus does not need your resolutions, your recommitments, or your promises to try harder this year. If your resolve to obey God last year did not help you to be faithful, it will not make you successful this year. Jesus asks for your love. If you truly love Him, your service for Him in the new year will be of the quality that He desires.” [Experiencing God Day by Day: A Devotional and Journal.]
Have a blessed and happy New Year, loving the Lord and faithfully serving and obeying Him!
Working Together in His Service,
Roy Pr. 3:5-6