I love Peter's declaration in Matthew 26:33: "Peter replied, "Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will." And yet, in verse thirty-four, Jesus replies: "I tell you the truth," ... "this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." Peter hears Jesus, but quickly declares, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." (NIV) And, you know what? I believe Peter meant it!
When the guards came to whisk Jesus away, Peter pulls out his sword and cuts off the high priest's soldier's ear. Peter was determined to protect Jesus. He loved Jesus. He was willing to die for Jesus...But then...Jesus tells Peter to put away his sword. And Peter comes undone. He is dismayed. Jesus' instruction doesn't seem to line up with Peter's plans...And, as we read about the remainder of that evening...Peter indeed denies Jesus THREE times.
What happened? Why did Peter run? What turned his zealousness to cowardice?
UNFORTUNATELY, I can relate to Peter's dilemma all too well. I make bold declarations and have the best of intentions...but sometimes when God's ways don't line up with my ideas...I become disillusioned. I boldly declare that I will lay down my life and defend God's cause...until pressed to lay aside my "power," my "rights," or my "methods" for God's.
The question that pervades my thoughts today is "Will I willingly follow after God?" "Will I abandon my ideas of how I think He should respond and surrender to His will, completely?" "Will I trust Him regardless of whether or not I completely understand all the whys?" Do I impulsively make huge declarations of my complete devotion but fall away when God doesn’t move in the way I expected?
How about you? Ever struggle to remain faithful when God doesn't move as you expected?
Friend, we must ask ourselves, "Will we love the unlovely? Will we purpose to follow after God in our relationships? Will we abandon and surrender and trust God regardless of the outcome or our circumstances?"
I don't know about you, but I want to follow Him. I want to acknoweldge Him in ALL my ways. I want to demonstrate my devotion and LOVE Him with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my strength. NO MATTER WHAT!
If that's your prayer, too, here are some helpful hints to follow through:
- Be in Prayer. Prayerlessness makes us weak. Peter grew tired. He fell asleep. The result? He wasn't prepared for the battle that laid ahead.
- Lay aside your own strength for God's. Peter declared to the very end that HE WOULD NOT fall away. Relying on our own power will always lead us to failure. Instead, we should pray...OH GOD, HELP! Without You we can do nothing.
- Finally, if or when we mess up...remember God forgives. When we ask for forgiveness He is faithful and just to forgive. As far as the east is from the west...he remembers our sins NO MORE.
PRAYER: Father, help us to trust in You with all our heart and to not lean on our own understanding. Empower us (in every way) to acknowledge YOU so that YOU can direct our paths. Without You, God, we are prone to make mistakes. Without You we can do NOTHING. Fill us with Your Spirit so that we might live completely abandoned to YOUR will and honor YOU with all of our life! In Jesus name, amen!