Lift Up One Another
“And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Luke 22:31-32
As much as we think of the disciples as “giants” of the faith, and they were, they were all fallible human beings capable of great and noble deeds one moment and bumbling even rebuke-able failures the next. In that way they were just like all of us.
But Jesus understood this and He knew that when Peter was restored he would have the strength and the wisdom to lift up his fellow disciples and together each would encourage and uphold the other.
The only one who wants to tear us down is the devil and we can cut the legs out from under him when we don’t let him divide us or put a wedge between us because we judge one another’s frailty or human failures too harshly and without compassion and restoration.
Forgiveness, love, acceptance and grace are the hallmarks of Jesus’ ministry to sinners.
And what Jesus could not do in the immediate days after his crucifixion and death, He prayed the Father would do in order to ensure that Peter would not be utterly lost to the arrows of guilt and despair. When Jesus ascended to the Father the Holy Spirit did come to empower Peter and all the disciples to be His witnesses throughout the whole world. [Acts 1-2]
Now we have that same ministry of reconciliation charged to us.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-20
God does not want any of His people wallowing in the human failures of the past or the trip-ups and missteps of the present. He wants His church to rise up and be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. We can do this if, like Jesus, we commit ourselves to pray for one another and look after one another to exhort to good works and to live holy and blameless lives before men in the world as living epistles being seen and read by all. [2Corinthians 3;2]
Father, God and Lord of all our righteousness, we praise and worship and magnify You, today. Your name is great and greatly to be praised. The name of Jesus is above all names and at that name every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
Lord, today we remember our brothers and sister throughout the world who are under the evil hand of persecution for being and living their faith in Jesus Christ. We pray for You to deliver them and empower them to push back against the evil works of darkness and subdue them. We ask You to cause them to triumph over their enemies with love and bring many to salvation in Jesus Christ by Your power working in and through them. Protect them from the evil one and deliver them from the snare of our enemy and Yours.
We pray further Lord for our brother and sisters who are caught in the bonds of sin and human frailty and failures. We pray for their faith to be renewed and restored to walk in Your power and Your love, to resist the devil that he would flee from them and that You would raise them up to take their rightful place in the body of Christ to the fulfillment of Your eternal purpose and plan for Your church and Your kingdom to come on the earth. Thank You, Father for answered prayer and for making all things new for Your good pleasure. In the strong name of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord we pray. Amen