Reading about Peter throughout the gospels is a little bit like riding a roller coaster – full of ups and downs, and interesting twists! Maybe that is why Peter is so endearing to us… we can be a bit of a mess sometimes. There are occasions where we see Peter at his best like in Matthew 16:13-20 only to blow it just two verses later. Fortunately for us, Peter’s journey is an encouraging one. We see over and over how Peter allows himself to be made new and transformed through his experiences with Jesus. He has seen miracles, walked on water, witnessed Jesus love the unloved, and has moved from fisherman to fisher of men. But Peter couldn’t have imagined the dark days ahead as he declared, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.”
It is easy to imagine our faithfulness and loyalty to Christ when our trust isn’t tested.
Maybe for us we are likely to deny Christ in what seems like smaller ways. A little lie because the truth will cause problems, rushing in to fix a problem instead of waiting on God to change something, cheating on a test or taxes, disregarding the needs of others, or saying hurtful things to those we love and blaming them for our response. All of these responses tell the world that we don’t trust Jesus to be Lord and if we don’t trust him… do we really even know him?
These may not be the physical life threatening situations in which some Christians are persecuted, but they can be spiritually life threatening!
As we move through Lent, on a journey to deny ourselves and become more like Christ, daily being made new means surrendering “the little tests” that come up each day. Our resolve to be followers of Christ means being so aware of our tendency to take the easy way out that we know we could easily become distracted and deny Him. We have to trust that the Holy Spirit will give us the strength we need to overcome!
Unfortunately… I love shortcuts! I like to take the quickest way to a location… I like to be efficient… I like to get things done and checked off my list… I like to move on from a job well done… I tend to focus on the destination of where I’m going instead of the journey along the way. However, God cares about who and how we become the person He is calling us to be! Many times I’ve found that my definition and God’s definition of efficient are two totally different things. Sigh.
Peter was surprised by Jesus foretelling of his denials and surprised once again when Jesus’ words rang true. Instead, the realization of our sinful tendencies and the need for daily transformation is a fresh reminder of the gift that Jesus provides. Let us be Christians who aren’t continually surprised by our sin!
Friends, as we move through this Lenten season let us remember that He wants to make us new… all of us… every bit of us… every part of our soul… every part of who we are so that we can become more like Jesus… so that we can become who He is calling us to be! Let Him make you new!