When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord (Luke 5:8, KJV)
We have all had experiences with the Lord, where we probably asked for something we did not even know what we were asking for. We asked, and then realized it the wrong thing and then we had to let the Lord know we have “canceled the request!”. Well, there are a few bad prayer requests mentioned in the scripture for us to learn. One of the worst I have seen so far is recorded in Luke 5:8 above.
Peter had an encounter with Jesus before he was called. Jesus instructed him to throw his nets to catch some fish and when Peter obeyed, the catch was so unimaginable that Peter, an expert fisherman, immediately realized it was a miracle. He was so overwhelmed by the miracle and the thought that the Man standing by him was no ordinary human being. He instantly realized he was a sinful man standing before the Holy One of God. In the heat of his emotions, as was typical of Peter then, he rashly made a request to Jesus and said “depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord”. I think this is one of the worst prayer requests a human being can ever make to God. It can be compared to someone who is drowning and then sees a lifejacket and begs the person giving it to him to take it away!
The greatest need of a sinner is Jesus, and praying and asking Jesus to go away because you are a sinner is fatal and deadly. If Jesus walks away from a sinner, that person is doomed. Our sense of religion might make such a prayer look pious or even “humble and holy,” but it is not. One of sin’s and of course Satan’s most powerful strategies is that it makes us run away from God when we are in sin. It started with Adam, and it continues even today. Running away from God in our sin is running into the arms of death. Praise the Lord He did not answer that prayer request of Peter!
Jesus came to deal with sin. One of the things He does not want us to do is to run away from Him when we mess up. Surprisingly, one of the most difficult things to do when we fall is to forgive ourselves and come back to God, even after He has forgiven us. Our sense of religious pride is a danger to all of us. Have you realized from history that men of God who fell into some sin hardly ever get back to their original position? Do you know why? It is not God not restoring them. It is often the brokenness inside that is such a big mountain to overcome. I have realized this multiple times with my own life. Religion has a way of hardening our hearts such that we slowly take our eyes off Jesus and begin to focus on ourselves. The religious Peter asked Jesus to depart from him because he was sinful. After receiving the Spirit, Peter knew Jesus bore his sins on the cross as a Lamb without spot. Be careful never to allow your heart to pray some form of Peter’s prayer above. Keep your feet away from errors, mistakes and sins. If you fall into some error or sin, Christ’s grace and blood did not lose effectiveness after you became a Christian. Ask Him to forgive you and run to Him to get you back on your feet! Trust in your Savior always and at all times!
Have you ever asked God for something and then realized it was probably the wrong thing to ask? Have you ever felt like Peter above, where you were “afraid to come to God because of your sin”?
APPLY THE WORD
God has called us to holiness, but He knows we will sometimes sin as long as we are in the flesh. Never never run away from God when you sin, commit a stupid error or a foolish mistake that makes you feel miserable. Run to Him, looking at His grace to forgive and get you back on tract. The fear of God’s presence is sin’s powerful weapon to slowly kill its victims. Jesus is here. He is your Advocate. Rest in Him!
Pray that religion will never harden your heart to the extent you are more conscious of your sins than your Saviour’s grace and blood.