Remember the story of the apostle Peter when he denied Christ in the courtyard after Christ had been arrested? Luke 22:54-62
How many of us were shocked when we first read that? One of Jesus’ closest friends and followers, saying he didn’t even know the man and getting angry when people didn’t believe him. I know I was. That’s been many years ago. Before a lot of life happened to me and I grew some understanding of people and human nature and my own nature in particular. It’s easy to judge when you haven’t been tempted.
I was reading this story the other day in my daily reading and it struck me once again. For quite a while, I’ve sympathized with Peter as he feared for his own life and denied knowing Jesus. After the cock crows for the third time and Jesus looks him in the eye, Peter is convicted in his spirit and is greatly remorseful. I can’t even imagine how low he must have felt. But yet, shouldn’t I be able to relate? Don’t we do the same thing when we do something that is not in keeping with our Christian nature? Isn’t that the same thing as denying we know Christ?
If we are trying to live for Christ and trying to live lives that are worthy of being called Christian, and we mess up as we all do from time to time, isn’t that a denial of knowing Him? If I’m known around town for being a follower of Christ, and then one day I’m seen getting drunk and telling foul stories, or cursing, what does that say about me knowing Christ? Surely one of his followers wouldn’t act like that. What if I’m shoplifting, caught and prosecuted, having my name and story told on the front page of the local paper? Does that say I know Jesus? How much damage to my testimony that would cause.
I’m not saying we should be perfect. That is impossible. We are still very fallible humans in a human body and we are going to fall short of His glory. What I am saying, is that I think I need to take it more seriously when I do fail. That I need to be so in love with Jesus and full of His words and love and communing with Him in prayer that my nature takes a back seat. That when I do fall, that I see it for what it is, a denial of sorts. We have opportunities all the time to live for Him, to make a decision that’s going to please Him or disappoint Him.
My point in all of this is to take greater care in making our decisions, in our defining moments, to choose that which will honor Jesus, and not deny Him.
Matthew 10:33 says, “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”
I realize that it is something greater being talked about in this verse. The actual denial of knowing Jesus. I also know I need to live a life that is consistent with my beliefs. Christianity is not something I can put on a shelf and take down only when it is convenient, when I’m around my Christian friends, or when I’m going to church or Bible study. It is to be put on everyday when we open our eyes and kept on everyday until we lay down and close our eyes.
Help me to stay close to you today, basking in your love, grateful for all that you are and do. Help me to converse with you so frequently that it becomes second nature. Prepare me for the things that are going to happen to me and around me today that I might be a beacon of your light in this dark world and keep me ready to share my faith with whoever asks.
Thank you for your gift of salvation and grace that covers all our sins. I ask these things in thy Son’s name.