I bought my first car in 1968. It was a 1964 Ford Galaxy 500, 2-door fastback. It was silver with a black interior and bucket seats. Under the hood was a 390-cubic inch powerhouse of an engine (gas was $0.19/gallon back then). With a fresh coat of paint and chrome wheels, it was stunning.
I loved that car. I spent hours cleaning every square inch. Then hours more polishing every bit of chrome and waxing it until it gleamed in the sun. I loved that car.
After a year or so I got tired of cleaning and polishing it all the time and allowed it to get dirty without giving it much of a second thought.
Then one day a red 2-door 1968 Ford Galaxy 500 caught my eye. In the space of 4 years, I had gone from excited, to indifferent, to blasé about the ’64. I sold my ’64 to my mom and started cleaning and polishing the ’68.
My Faith Walk Was Like My Car Experience
Sad to say, but sometimes my walk with Christ is a little like my experience with my first car. When I was a baby Christian, I was so excited. I read my Bible as much as I could. I joined Bible studies. I change my life to live out my new faith.
Then, my Bible reading habits slipped. I tried to live well but didn’t think about it all that much. I didn’t feel especially close to Jesus.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I continued to drift away from my faith. I even said, “no” when I felt God calling me to do something.
Peter’s Example Restored Me
I don’t remember when it was. I don’t even remember if it was when I was reading, or something said during a sermon. But Peter’s story caught my attention. His walk with Jesus included a time of dedication, a distancing, and finally, denial.
Jesus interrupted Peter while Peter was fishing and said, “Come follow me.” And Peter immediately left his nets and went and followed Jesus (Matthew 4:19-20).
Later, as one of Jesus’ disciples, Peter saw Jesus walking on water. Peter had so much faith in Jesus he asked Jesus to call to him to walk on water with Jesus (Matthew 14:28-29).
Peter dedicated himself to Jesus.
Close to the end of Jesus’ ministry, Jesus was arrested and taken before the high priest. Peter, no longer the bold, assertive disciple, continued to follow Jesus, but at a distance (Luke 22:54).
Peter distanced himself from Jesus.
That evening as Jesus was being tried by the high priest, Peter waited in the high priest’s courtyard. Three times people recognized Peter and accused him of being a follower of Jesus, and three times Peter emphatically denied he was a disciple of Jesus.
Peter denied knowing Jesus.
We’re All Like Peter
We are all like Peter in our faith walk. There are times when we feel especially close to Jesus. Times when problems loom and our faith slips. There are even times when we may hear ourselves saying no to God’s call on our lives.
Just like Peter, there are times in our faith walk when we may be dedicated, when we may distance ourselves, and sadly, when we may even deny Jesus.
But also like Peter, we can come back to Jesus.
When Peter realized what he had done in denying Jesus, he wept bitterly (Luke 22:62). He repented of his sin. Imagine the agony of the next days as Peter saw Jesus flogged, crucified, and laid in the tomb. When word came that Jesus had risen from the dead, Peter was the first disciple to rush to the tomb to see for himself (Luke 24:12).
The first disciple the Lord showed himself to after His resurrection was Peter (Luke 24:34). Jesus was right there for Peter, despite Peter’s distancing and denial.
Two Important Questions for Us
Given Peter’s experience, there are two important questions every Christian should consider:
1) Where are you in your faith walk right now? Are you dedicated, distanced, or denying? And,
2) What are you going to do about whatever stage you are in?
If you are distant from Jesus or even if you have denied Him, remember Jesus will meet you right where you are! All you need to do, like Peter, is to repent and get headed in the right direction.
Join the Conversation
As always, questions and comments are welcome. Where are you in your faith walk and what are you doing about it this year?
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Category: Personal Development | Character