I’m going to be REAL. I never paid Peter much of any attention when I read the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, much less did I realize that Peter wrote 1 and 2 Peter o_O. His story line was pretty irrelevant to me until God forced me to identify with his character.
I always pictured myself as a Paul, pressing on with something burning on the inside because Christ has LITERALLY taken A HOLD OF ME. (Phillipians 3:12) Paul is the picture of excellence, discipline, structure, grace, diligence, humility and maturity; qualities that I strive toward daily.
And THEN there is John. My mannnnnn! I just picture this, precious older man, slightly cooky, a grandfather figure, full of wisdom and strength. A leader with this gentleness, that you must actually spend time with him to see and I mean this man had the honor of being CALLED to TESTIFY about the Savior of the World (John 1:7). I want to be like him too; fearless, serious about other’s spiritual growth and a living walking testifier (did I make that word up?!) to the Christ who will come again!
BUT my oh my did God have me in for it with Peter of ALL PEOPLE! I’m not going to lie, my perception of this mighty man of God was skewed at best. All I remember about him was that he was the fooool who had the nerve to deny MY Jesus, not ONCE, not TWICE, but THREE painstaking times as Jesus was being tried, for NONSENCE, by the Jewish court. I dismissed him.
Soooooo Peter. Jesus meets this brother fishing, straight up says “I will make you a fisher of men, Follow me” and without HESISTATION Peter goes. (Matthew 4:19-20).
Let me just jump right into why I NOTICED Peter, for real, for real. Matthew 14:22 tells the story of Peter walking on water. I’ve been inspired by this story before, BUT God has given me a “come” story of my own. Peter is sooo ready to walk out in faith, inspired by Christ, he sees God in all His awesomeness walking on water and naturally wants to follow, literally, in God’s footsteps. (How many times do you read about God’s work and He places that same desire on your own heart, and then you just wanna walk around like, “I’m just stuntin’ like my Daddy?!…no? it’s just me that sings that song?! hah) So….After God tells them to calm down, it’s all good. Peter is like well, let me BE SURE. He says, “IF IT’S YOU GOD, TELL ME TO COME TO YOU ON THE WATER”. In other words I need you to tell me do something that will require FAITH, because I already know that’s the realm in which you operate and I need some confirmation right now on if this is really you out there. I’m relating to Peter, because I stay asking God for confirmation like yea that sounds good, but Jesus if it’s you LORD say “chicken” 3x and then I’ll do it. hahahah BUT oh so serious! Ok I def don’t ask Him to say chicken, but you know I need specifics, I’m still trying to discern HIS VOICE from my own, OK!
Jesus gives him His confirmation “come” and Peter, in obedience, steps ……OUT. I can see Peter, almost tripping over himself in excitement to get out of that boat and walk on that water, NO FEAR because God already confirmed it was Him by directly answering Peter’s question.
When them windssss started howling, he looked around himself and said HOLD UP, WHAT AM I DOING?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He took his eyes off of Jesus, looked around at the wind and BEGINNING TO SINK, cried out “LORD, SAVE ME!”
IMMEDIATELY Christ takes A HOLD of his hands, catches HIM, SAVES his LIFE AGAIN ( hahah …cuz you know the first time was when He came into the world and Peter believed and then. now…..yea. ha….see what had happened was!)
What challenged me was that, here I am like yeaaaa Peter shoulda kept his eyes on Jesssusss, but I get it, He got distracted.
But Jesus ain’t let him off as easy as I did, He reprimanded him saying YOU OF LITTLE FAITH, WHY DID YOU DOUBT?!
Why did you doubt?! I picture the mental commentary of Jesus going something like this “ooh so you just gon’ follow me and doubt me?! I have to continue to prove myself to you, clearly I got this!”
HOW MANY TIMES HAS GOD given you a word of “go-ahead” “this is the right way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21), “yes it’s me”, a vision so mind blowing you know you couldn’t have come up with the thought on your own, or even confirmation by experience to “give that to me” I don’t want you messing with that anymore (sex, drugs, liquor, relationships, partying anybody?!!) Unlike Peter I find myself not even being as obedient as he was initially, and doubting from onset. THEN there are those other times, where I’m soo enthusiastic, so passionate and sooo zealous about taking a leap of faith before God only to backtrack when God doesn’t make the trek as easy as I had anticipated. I figure God said do it, so yea I already know He has walked before me, establishing my steps, I know God’s promises so I ain’t even worried about it………UNTIL, stuff gets………….. really ………………..UNCOMFORTABLE (consciousness of stress or strain, uneasy).
[What does uncomfortable look like for you?!]
Makes me think of something T.D. Jakes once said “The calling of God is never easy, if it looks easy He didn’t call you”.
Do I think Peter thought walking on that water was “easy”. NO. WHAT I do know is that Peter only took a step into that water because He knew God was IN IT. When Peter allowed the visible chaos around him DISTRACT him, from God’s presence, he inevitably began to SINK. God was STILL THERE, right on that water, His presence encouraging him like nemo, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming” (in this case he is walking, but you catch my drift), the LORD will encourage us on our way. Yet Peter still couldn’t get past the fear of those winds. Here we have the “LIGHT OF THE WORLD”, the “BREAD OF LIFE”, “THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE”, “THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE”, “THE GOOOOD SHEPHERD”, standing before Peter, and all Peter can see once he takes his eyes off Jesus, is the howling winds around him. Like HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY TAKE YOUR EYES OFF JESUS?!
Yet we manage this. DAILY.
In our strained efforts to FOLLOW HIM, and DIE TO OURSELVES daily, God shows us this AMAZING GRACE over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. In a way that opens our eyes and inspires us more and more to just DO IT! The reality is that He “tells us the truth” His GRACE really is sufficient for us. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Jesus saved Peter despite his doubt that day. How many times God saves Peter throughout the Gospels! I’m slowly forming this picture of Peter, the man, as I continue to read about him.
He is passionate, outspoken….a little naive about the real cost of following Christ, but following just the same. He is too quick to speak sometimes, but pretty convinced about his Love for God. A love that he coming into a new reality of as the days go by.
He is a picture of us all at some point in our journey with Christ. Sometimes we are all passion with limited basis. God desires our enthusiasm, but what He really wants is our Hearts.
You never FULLY give someone your heart that you really don’t KNOW, or whom you have lingering doubts about. You may find enjoyment in their presence, encouragement from their stories, longing in their absence, but life goes on!
When we GIVE, HAND OVER, RELEASE our HEARTS to God life simply WILL NOT go on WITHOUT HIM!
I’m striving for that place. The more I SPEND time with Him, in His word, I’m finding that I’m NEEDING Him in ways I never THOUGHT possible.
Christ gave Peter, ROOM FOR ERROR. And boy did he ERROR talking bout “I don’t know the man!” (Matthew 26:72) he MUST’VE been out of his mind, I WOULDA SLAPPED THE BELT FROM AROUND HIS WAIST, talkin bout he don’t know my Jesus….I digress, but yeaaaa GRACE MAN! Grace. LOL
1. What has Christ been calling you TO or AWAY from for some time now?If you have been obedient, may I exhort you to continue to press pass the discomfort of this new space and think about the victory set before YOU, but also how your walk is inevitably encouraging THOSE AROUND YOU.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
2. If you have taken your eyes of GOD, and are SINKING in the fear of what taking that leap of faith will have you giving up or taking on, remember that we are living demonstrations, glorifying God in our weakness. Let HIS light shine as you struggle through this thing. KNOWING full well that You can’t do it without Him, connect with HIM as if YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT, because IT DOES.
2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
3. What area of your life have you deemed God untrustworthy in? Where are you scared to let Him touch? (This is a loaded question, but essentially we hold back from God because at the core we don’t have faith, or trust Him in some way, or we are scared to TRUST Him.)
Isaiah 26:3 You will keep the man in perfect peace whose mind is kept on You, because he trusts in You.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding
Peter leaned on his own understanding… In this understanding, wind and walking on water didn’t go together. Our understanding is SKEWED. Trust God! HIS WAYS ARE NOT OUR WAYS!
Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
I will be continuing this study of Peter. I find his passion extremely intruiguing, I gotta get to know, the man with the plan. His plans didn’t necessarily line up with God’s, next post we will look at his outbursts and see where God’s snaps on him, yet again! haha