As I sat to write this column, I had been praying that the Lord Jesus would lay a burden on my heart as to what to write.

I do this whenever I am going to preach a sermon or write a column. Only God knows who will be reading these words, and only God knows what a person needs to hear. My earnest prayer is that God will use these words to draw you to Himself — as it is in Christ alone that we have any hope, both now and for all eternity.

The Bible tells us that each of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Even after we have been born again (saved), we will have times in our lives where we will stumble and fall.

How about those times in our Christian walk where we have been tempted and have given in to that temptation, knowing that it was sin? What does God think of these acts? And how do we as a believer react, knowing that we have sinned before God?

Let’s see what we can learn from the life of Peter.

“Peter answered and said unto Him (Jesus), Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him; Verily I say unto thee, That this night before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto Him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee … Likewise also said all the disciples” (Matthew 26:33-35).

Reading on in this chapter, we see that Peter did exactly what Christ had told him. He denied knowing Jesus three times.

We say, “I would never do that.” But could we deny knowing Christ by our actions?

Peter in an instant did what he said he never would do; he turned his back on Christ.

Christian, Peter was a believer. (So much for sinless perfection). Peter heard Jesus’ spoken words. We have God’s written Word (the Bible), the very thoughts of God. We may have done the same thing, committing an act we know is wrong.

What was Peter’s reaction to what he did? He went out and wept bitterly. This wasn’t a little boohoo of a cry; this sorrow came from deep within. From the very depths of his being, Peter felt tremendous guilt.

Peter remembered Jesus words: “You will deny me thrice.” Peter was a broken man, not because he got caught, but because he finally saw his sin.

The Bible tells us, “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee (Psalms 119:11). This can serve two purposes:

To keep us out of sin

To show us our sin

Peter went back to his old life (fishing). He felt He didn’t have a relationship with Christ anymore.

Maybe you have felt this way. A Christian has a hard time telling others of Christ with “sin” in his or her own life.

Sin pulls us down deeper than we want to go and keeps us longer than we want to stay.

Peter felt the shame of his actions. He probably thought, “If I could only talk to Jesus…” He was about to get his wish, and so can we. Jesus knew where Peter was, and he knows where we are.

According to John 21:4, while the disciples were fishing, that Jesus was on the shore calling them to “come and dine.” He calls you and me to come.

Peter dove into the water to get to Jesus. He felt conviction for his actions and his need for Christ.

Maybe this is hitting home with you. Jesus is calling out to you. Christ forgave Peter and commissioned him; he wants to do the same for you.

At times we all fall, but we are not to stay down. Like Peter, confess your sins to Jesus, ask for his forgiveness, commit your life to Him and trust Him to do what He said He would do.

Lance Stevens pastors at Huntsville Evangelical Community Church in Pendleton. He and his wife, Judy, are formerly of Greenfield. This weekly column is written by local clergy members. Send comments to dr-editorial@greenfield