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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Peter: A hot-head!

We all have different personalities. Most of our character traits and personality traits develop when we are in childhood or are given to us from the Lord for a purpose we may or may not see right now.


Today, let’s take a look at Simon Peter, also known as Peter, in the New Testament. Peter was a fisherman who later became a disciple of Jesus. He is one of the twelve disciples chosen by Jesus. Peter was a strong personality who, to outsiders and insiders, could appear inconsistent in his Christian walk. He could be a boastful, impetuous, impulsive hot-head at times. Some say he exhibited a lot of the characteristics of a person with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). In John 18:10, we see Peter’s impulsiveness when he quickly drew his sword and struck the high priest and cut off his right ear. In John 21:7 when Jesus appeared to his disciples after His resurrection, Peter heard another disciple say, “It is the Lord,” and immediately he threw off his outer garment stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. In Matthew 26:33, we see an example of his pride when he says to Jesus, “Though they all fall away because of you. I will never fall away.”
Throughout our Christian journey, we will experience ups and downs, passivity or assertiveness, or even denial as Peter did when he denied Jesus three times before the cock crowed. But note what Peter did as soon as he realized he denied his Lord. He wept bitterly and was so sorrowful he had hurt his Lord and discredited Jesus’ name. His sensitivity came out when he thought he had made a shipwreck of his life by dishonoring God. In 1 Timothy 1:10, Paul charges people to wage a good warfare saying “by rejecting this, some have made [a] shipwreck of their faith.”

But Peter changes. After Pentecost, in the Book of Acts, we see Peter becoming more steadfast. He is continuing to develop a Godly character. We find him not so self-centered or proud. We see him growing in his Christian faith. Sin can lead us to doubt God. But Peter is keeping his faith strong and learning from his experiences. He is growing and maturing in the Lord.
How can we follow Peter’s example in this area of faith when it is so easy to get discouraged when we don’t see answers or God’s directions fast enough? Romans 10:17 states, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” We can put ourselves under the teaching of God’s word through preaching, personal Bible study, and Christian fellowship. Our faith does matter to God. And, even when we are faithless, remember that God does remain faithful [2 Timothy 2:13]. By becoming a life-long learner on the ways of God, our faith and trust in the Lord will grow. We will become more mature believers, and it will show in our lives through a deeper love for God and our fellow man.

Ah, but Peter matures a little more. He is now writing 1 and 2 Peter. It is hard to believe that this hot-headed disciple from the Gospels is now a great leader of love, humility, and respect for authority. He is now imparting wisdom to others teaching them how to:

-          Be born again to a living hope;

-          Be holy;

-          Be Godly husbands and wives;

-          Be stewards of God’s grace;

-          Be discerning of false prophets and teachers; and

-          How to live in the Last Days.

Peter’s life is an example of sanctification. Bible Study Tools says to, “sanctify someone or something is to set that person or thing apart for the use intended by its designer.” Our designer is the Almighty God. As believers, we are all somewhere along a timeline as we are being sanctified in the Lord. We may be in the hot-head stage, the maturing stage, or the imparting wisdom stage. But, wherever we are in our spiritual journey, the Lord desires our faithfulness. As Proverbs 3:3 says, “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your heart, so you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.”

Awaken Me: A Devotional Prayer Journal (ISBN 978-1-4627-2578-6)

God, It's Me: 181 Days for Young Adults to Become Passionate about Prayer and Bible Study (ISBN 978-1-4627-3821-2)

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