“I know how imperfect your love is. I understand that you can’t really keep most of your promises, even to Me. That’s why I tell you not to promise anything. That is also why the Holy Spirit keeps them for you. As imperfect as you are, and as futile as all of your attempts to change may be, I still love you. Walk with a heart that understands your need for Jesus. Give away what I have given you. Show others My love and the life that is theirs if they want it. Hold them for Me until they can stand themselves. I will do the rest. I will make you into who you really want to be without you even knowing it. I will make you like Jesus.”
John 21:15-17 AMP
15) When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these [others do—with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father]? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You [that I have deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. He said to him, Feed My lambs.
16) Again He said to him the second time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father]? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You [that I have a deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. He said to him, Shepherd (tend) My sheep.
17) He said to him the third time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with a deep, instinctive, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend]? Peter was grieved (took it ill and was hurt) that He should ask him the third time, Do you love Me? And he said to Him, Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You [that I have a deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. Jesus said to him, Feed My sheep.
James 5:12 AMP
But above all [things], my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath; but let your yes be [a simple] yes, and your no be [a simple] no, so that you may not sin and fall under condemnation.
Pompous, arrogant Peter, (Boy! Can I identify with him!) - the “I’ll never deny You” guy, humbled and now humble, responding in truth. “Will you love Me like I want you to love Me?” Jesus asks.
Peter responds in honesty, understanding his weakness. “I can only love You this much, Lord.” The third time the Lord asks if he would love Him as best he can, knowing full well how weak he was. Peter, ashamed at his own weakness, responds that he will. It was almost as if he was asking the Lord not to expect too much.
Here is the good part. Jesus is saying, “I know that you now know who you really are after what happened and how empty your promises are, but I love you and I know that you’ll make it. Take care of My friends, OK?” What compassion and forgiveness! What kindness! That’s when Peter was given the love that is better than silver or gold deep within his inner being- a place where it remains for eternity. He was given the stuff that would never deny the Lord again, plus the stuff that could make the lame walk.
If you’re in a refining fire, a humbling circumstance, or a wearisome trial, you need to understand that what is needed for you to represent Jesus - the Peter kind of stuff - is being formed in you. Don’t give up. Don’t sell out for some morsel of temporary relief. Don’t bail out. Your Father loves you and knows that you will make it. Just keep getting up every morning and do what you know to do that day, leaning on Jesus with all of your might. Pretty soon you will have the eternal stuff that’s more important than silver or gold, just like Peter. Just like Jesus!
I want Your stuff, Lord,