Thursday, April 1, 2010

A brief study of Peter

When we think of Peter, we think of someone strong and noble, born to lead and led by his own heart. That’s true, but there’s always something more we can learn from a peek into Peter’s life.

Peter might seem an unlikely person to take a look at regarding any fears, because we know him as “the rock” Jesus would build His church on [Matthew 16:18], but Peter was not without weaknesses. He was afraid of losing something one time too, perhaps his place in a group or acceptance among those in power, but what he learned was that our faith must rest in God because only from there can we build anything.

Despite Peter’s claims of loyalty, Jesus told him, “I tell you the truth, Peter—before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” [John 13:38] And of course, that’s what happened. Among soldiers, guards and even slaves of the high priest after Jesus’ arrest, Peter denied being one of Christ’s disciples. Was it the fear of being identified with Jesus and losing the comfort and ease he was used to that caused Peter to make such poor choices?

Sometimes we do that. The fear of losing something transient in this life can make us behave poorly because we’re trusting more in what we have here [security, power, position] than what we have in God. We see something slipping away, or the potential for that to happen, and we grab on tighter and speak or behave contrary to our true feelings.

Of course Peter loved Jesus, but fear kept him from building right then when he had the opportunity and caused him to tear down instead. And we can learn much from him when we’re faced with a similar situation, when we’re afraid to be true to who we are. When Peter realized what he’d done, he cried, aware of his betrayal [Matthew 26:75].

He knew that nothing was worth denying his Savior because everything comes from God and we can trust His provision and care—and His forgiveness. No matter what we have or what we may lose, it doesn’t change God’s grasp of our lives.

Peter wrote to Jewish Christians who were in a tight spot—facing trials and persecutions from those who didn’t agree with their faith. No doubt they feared the loss of everything including their lives. Peter talked to them about enduring those fears with grace and faith.

These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. [1 Peter 1:7]

Peter is saying that no matter what the world threatens us with, God is still God, still in charge of all our building and completely understanding of our human fears and weaknesses. The best response is simple trust.

Humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. [1 Peter 5:6-7], Peter says.

God planned it, he built it.

Loss or potential loss seems be around us all the time, but we can choose to trust in God’s provision and care and build anyway. We can learn from our mistakes and live up to the life Jesus set aside for us as surely as He chose Peter to build upon. Despite his stumbles and mistakes, the build continued just as God planned. So will ours if we’ll learn from our mistakes as well and make ourselves available again to God, whether we face a loss or not. Doesn’t really make any difference—trust is what matters.

I know we both understand the fear of loss. It’s terrifying and paralyzing in some cases, but God doesn’t change because our circumstances might. If what we counted on in the past is gone, God will replace it with something else, and we will see that what we need to count on the most is Him and His care and provision, despite our own “rooster crowing” moments. The jobsite remains.

So lets strap on our toolbelt despite our fear, leave our misjudgments and mis-thinking in the past, and focus only on what our Architect puts in front of us to build. We can carry on unafraid when we build with faith in God’s provision and care. He didn’t give up on Peter, and He’ll never give us on us either.

May God bless your building . . . .

o ~ o ~o

How have you let the fear of loss dictate your actions in the past?

How have your fear-driven decisions helped you—or have you seen that they’ve interfered with your building along God’s plan instead?

As losses have come and gone in your life, how have you gotten better at dealing with that fear and trusting God’s provision and care?

o ~ o ~o

Download this study of Peter in pdf for easy printing for yourself or your group: Go here.

Thanks for being part of our tour . . . please post your comments and stories for all our readers. See you soon! God bless you.

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