There is much to like about Simon Peter, one of the apostles in the Bible! I like his forcefulness, his gregarious nature, his forthrightness, even his impulsiveness. There are things about him that remind me of “me” and some friends I have. I have to admit though, there are things about him that I don’t like… and again they remind me of “me” (and perhaps they remind you of “you”)…
Ever get something really right? Perhaps you were attending a Bible study and someone asked a question for discussion and you simply “nailed” the answer… Bullseye! The correct response just came to you mind (or heart) suddenly out of nowhere… “Epiphany!!” Once out of your mouth everyone was nodding their head in agreement and saying, “Yeah – that’s right! That’s good!” Went to your head! You wanted to stick out your chest, do “high-fives” and dance around in tight little circles in celebration! You were “on a roll!”
Then 10 or 15 minutes later something else came up – or someone else in the Bible study gave a response you didn’t quite agree with – and you “popped off!” You were harsh, you were rude, and you didn’t act anything like Christ or a spiritual person! Eye-brows went up, the room got quiet, and someone was hurt or disillusioned.
Peter was like that (and I’ve been like that too! I can still feel the inner voice of the Holy Spirit correcting me!) Here’s the account in the Bible…
“Jesus asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, other say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ Jesus said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Then the very next paragraph… “From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer man things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying ‘Far be it from you, Lord! This shall NEVER happen to you!” But Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man!’” (from Matthew 16:13-23)
I’m incredibly grateful that God can speak truth to my heart by His Spirit! And I rejoice when I get it right! But I want to be alert to the fact that when pride enters and self-reliance rules I can get it really wrong! I want to live in tune with the Holy Spirit and the heart of God so that I am never a “hindrance” to the Lord’s cause and find myself “setting my mind on the things of man” and not the “things of God!” Help me Lord! Help me keep the things, like Peter, that please you … Help me avoid the characteristics of “Peter” that disappoint you!