Once we become a follower of Christ, we begin a journey. It is a journey on the road to becoming more like Christ, and it is a journey that is full of ups and downs, highs and lows. Throughout the journey, we may stumble and fall. Throughout the journey, we may get stuck in ruts along the road or get sidelined by potholes that line the road. But, no matter how many times we fall, no matter how many times we get stuck, we need to brush ourselves off and get right back on the road. On this road, we will grow and mature as we are transformed into the image of Christ step by step, or as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “from glory to glory.” That transformation comes through the help of the Spirit of the Lord. The key for us is not to give up, but to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit.
When we stumble and fall, which we will from time to time, we should look to the example of Peter. Throughout Scripture, we can see that Peter’s life was marked by many highs and lows. In Matthew 16, Peter declares that Jesus is the Messiah and is praised by Jesus for doing so (Matthew 16:16-17) but shortly after this, when Jesus tells His disciples that He will suffer and die, Peter pulls Jesus aside and reprimands Him for saying this. Jesus then rebukes Peter for speaking on behalf of Satan and setting his mind on the things of man rather than on the things of God (Matthew 16:21-23). Peter went from praise to rebuke in just eight verses!
When Jesus walked on water, Peter was the only one of Jesus’ disciples willing to step out of the boat they were in to walk in faith to Jesus. But then Peter took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink (Matthew 14:28-30). During the Last Supper, Peter boldly declared that he would never leave Jesus’ side, even if all of the other disciples did (Matthew 26:31-33). Yet, that very same night, Peter denied even knowing Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75). Clearly, Peter’s walk with Jesus was filled with highs and lows. But, despite his struggles, this same follower of Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, later had the power to speak to thousands of people after Pentecost, resulting in a harvest of new believers. And this same follower of Christ has been traditionally looked at as the first head of the church on earth.
When we are facing the lows or the ruts in our walk with Christ, we should think of Peter and be encouraged. No matter how many times we fail, no matter how many times we fall, the Holy Spirit will be there to help us. We simply need to seek His guidance, get back on track, and continue as we journey to becoming more and more like Christ.