We live in a society that prizes self-confidence. A lack of self-confidence is often seen as a fatal flaw and the presence of self-confidence almost as a guarantee of success. In the apostle Peter, we meet the poster boy of self-confidence. He was sure that he would not fall away. He was certain that he would be the exception.
This is us often, isn’t it? We think we are the exception. Where other people have failed we’re sure we can succeed. We can handle that temptation. We can take on that additional task. We can figure out that relational mess. We can be the perfect husband (or wife). We can fix that church problem. We can develop disciplined habits on our own.
Peter found out the hard way that he wasn’t the exception. He wasn’t self-sufficient. He too fell and in fact, he fell even harder than the other disciples. Like them, he fled when Jesus was arrested but he didn’t just abandon Jesus, he also denied Jesus.
What makes this Peter’s fall even more spectacular is that Jesus tells Peter directly that he can’t and won’t stand on his own. Still, Peter refuses to believe him. He is more confident in his own abilities and strength than he is in the words of his Lord.
Friends, over and over again in Scripture God has spoken to us to the same effect (see 1 Corinthians 10:12). We cannot and won’t stand on our own. You can bank on it; we are weaker than we think we are; we are needier than we realize.
The question is whether we will hold onto our self-confidence or whether we will believe his word and depend on his grace.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
-1 Peter 5:6-10