I am Peter

I always love it when God speaks to me! It's like a breath of fresh air and usually comes at a time when I need to be encouraged, refreshed, or renewed. There's been a lot of "stuff" going on in my life since last October and I needed a reminder of God's presence in my life to refresh and encourage me. I got that this past Sunday at church.

I know that my pastor would love for me to say that his sermon was so wonderfully crafted and engaging that I hung onto every word, but I honestly don't remember much of the sermon itself, just my thoughts from reading the passage. (Sorry, Dan!) It's a good thing we were provided an outline on which to take notes or I'd be sunk if there was a test on the sermon! That's okay, though. God was speaking to me anyway. (Yea, God!)

The Scripture passage was Luke 22:54-62, Peter's denial of Jesus.

I've read this passage many, many times, but this time a couple of things stood out to me and really got me to thinking. First of all, the third time Peter was accused of being a follower of Jesus, it was because of the fact he was a Galilean. I don't know what it was about Peter that let people know he was from Galilee, but somehow the accuser knew and surmised that he must have been with Jesus. It may have been the way he was dressed, his accent, his clothes, or maybe even the color of his skin. Whatever it was, something about Peter showed that he was a Galilean and then there was something about him that people somehow knew he'd been with Jesus.

This really made me wonder if people can see that I'm a believer. Does my behavior, dress, demeanor, speech, attitude, facial expressions reflect Christ to those I come in contact? Can people tell I'm a Christian simply be how I look and act? I would hope so, but I know that many times my actions and attitudes do NOT reflect Christ. I firmly believe that, as Christians, we are to SHOW Christ in all we do, not just walk around condemning people and telling them that they're on the short track to hell. Working in Christian retail, I see lots of Christians. You wouldn't believe what their dress, attitude, words, and actions reveal about themselves. I wonder what these same people show to the world?

The second thing that really struck me from the passage is the beginning of verse 61. "The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. ..." (NIV) Nowhere else in this passage is Jesus mentioned as a character. He's been carted off for questioning and the scene takes place outside in the courtyard, but here He is reminding us that He's always watching and always present with us. Can you imagine the shock, shame, guilt and remorse Peter must've felt when he saw the Lord look directly at him...at his heart?!

If you're like me, you don't have to have a very vivid imagination. I've seen Jesus looking right at me and known that same shame, guilt, shock, and remorse that Peter felt at the very moment I've denied or defied Jesus. I've tried to cover it up, stuff it down, pretend it doesn't exist, but then God whups me upside the head and reins me back in. He shows me the error of my ways. The high-dollar Christian word for this is "conviction". Through the working of the Holy Spirit, it is revealed to me that my actions aren't in line with God's teachings. Because I know that God is right and I'm not, His way really is better than my way, it's my job (and my choice) to do the changing. That's called repentance, another high-dollar Christian word.

My challenge this week: do I outwardly reflect Christ and do I realize when I've denied Christ and am I working on changing my ways to God's ways?

Just something to ponder...