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Day 8 – Not by My Strength

36 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” 37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times. (John 13:36-38 ESV)

This snippet of scripture always gives me hope. It gives me hope because Peter, the guy who followed Jesus for three years, and the guy who led the church when it was in its infancy had weaknesses!

Peter reminds me of my own baseless self-confidence. That's the confidence a person feels when everything is going right in life. You just walked out of church Sunday afternoon and the pastor was encouraging and the praises were popping. There is nothing that is going to cause you to feel anything except high on Jesus.

But as soon as Monday morning rolls around, and there are things to get done and obligations to fill, you know that's when doubt double downs on your life. Spiritual strength flees, you're zapped of energy, and all of us would give up God in a heartbeat if the conditions were right. 

Here’s what Jesus wants us to see: we may fail as humans trying be Jesus’ disciples with our own strength (that’s verse 38); but that doesn’t mean he will fail in bringing us to where he wants us to go. Look at the second half of verse 36, the way Jesus answers Peter knowing his looming failure of faith: “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, BUT YOU WILL follow afterward.”

We will not follow God with our strength alone. We will end up failing like Peter when we are left to our own devices. But God gives us encouragement. Just because we can’t do it on our own, doesn’t mean he will abandon us where we fail. He will help us follow Jesus to the place he is going. That’s what faith in God is. It’s not a one time belief or decision to want God in our lives, it’s a daily decision to trust God that in his goodness for us, we will be able to follow after his son.

Pray today to be reminded of this truth, it’s not by our own strength, but in the God whom we place our faith that we can follow after Jesus with our lives.

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