Betrayal and Restoration

Many Christians struggle with a deep-seated sense of self-deprecation. They don’t feel important, qualified or good for anything. They are paralyzed in their witness and productivity by their thoughts and feelings of inferiority and worthlessness. Satan’s lies and accusations have left them questioning their salvation and God’s love. They were created “in Christ Jesus to do good works,” which is being inhibited by the accuser. In truth they are unconditionally loved and accepted by Him. God’s love (agape) and acceptance is unconditional, because His love is based on who He is and not on who we are or how well we behave.

Peter was struggling with condemning thoughts and feelings of worthlessness because he had betrayed Christ three times. His work, which God had prepared for him, was over. He had failed. So he went back to fishing, but he caught nothing. Then a “stranger” on the shore said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some” (John 21:6). After they caught 153 fish, they suddenly recognized it was Jesus. When they came ashore, Jesus had a fire going for them and said, “Come and have breakfast” (verse 12). Amazing grace! That was the third time Jesus had appeared to them.

“When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love [agape] me more than these?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love [phileo] you’” (verses 15-16). Phileo is brotherly love, which is more like a natural affection.  However, that was good enough, because soon the love (agape) of God would be within Peter. Jesus was saying, “If you really love Me, get out of the boat, back into ministry and shepherd the flock. I didn’t call you to be a fisherman, but a fisher of men.”

You can stumble and fall and remain on the ground listening to the accuser, or you can get back up and listen to God. He is saying, “I knew you from the foundation of this world. I have forgiven you and created you in Christ for good works. I will be with you to the ends of the earth, and I will never leave you or forsake you.” Settle it now, once, and for all time.

Read the following declaration and verbally express it if you agree: “I believe in my heart that Jesus died for my sins and that God raised Him from the dead in order that I may have eternal life. I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord. I renounce any efforts on my part to save myself. I choose to believe that I am saved by the grace of God through faith and that I am now a child of God because of His great mercy. I believe that God has transferred me out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of His beloved Son. I renounce the lies and accusations of Satan that would rob me of my full assurance of eternal life. I choose to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. I put on the helmet of salvation and lift up the shield of faith against Satan’s fiery darts. I submit myself to God and ask Him to fill me with His Holy Spirit. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I command Satan and all his evil spirits to depart from me. I belong to God for all eternity.”

Dr. Neil

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