Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Stubborness in My Soul

Matthew 26:33,35 - Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And so said all the disciples.

No one ever truly knows how they might react to a confrontation about their faith. In the comfort of my "room" within our house it's easy to say I would stand my ground for Jesus. But you can see above even Peter (as well as the other disciples) failed according to Jesus' own words. When Jesus was arrested, they scattered and Peter denied the Lord three times. Three times! These guys walked with Jesus, lived with Him, touched Him, heard Him speak, yet they denied knowing Him when trouble came upon Him. They feared for their own lives.

After Jesus' death He sent, as He said He would, the Holy Spirit. This Holy Spirit gives us wisdom, strength and guidance, elements of being a follower of Christ. Because we are made of flesh and blood we need His Spirit to guide us through certain things, strengthen us when our flesh fails us and wisdom through the remembrance of His Word how to react or what to say. We need to be truly rooted and grounded in Him and His Word to experience this...and have given ourselves over to Him.

Peter and the disciples had not yet received the Holy Spirit. Jesus knew their weaknesses, as He knows all of ours . He said this to them: ... All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: "I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered." ... Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times. (Matthew 26:31,34)

I have always been independent and somewhat strong-willed to the things I believe most in. I have a bit of rebelliousness in this area too. No one is going to tell me that belief in our Lord to the degree with which I feel it is wrong. It may not be for everyone, which is sad, but it's right for me. It's right no matter how one looks at it because Jesus said so....I am the way, the truth and the life. No one **no one** comes to the Father except by Me. (John 14:6)

There is a stubbornness in my soul and the souls of others who believe wholeheartedly this is true. We have spiritually met God and He has convinced us of this. I don't say this with a proud spirit or arrogance but in humility because confrontation by the God of all creation is a very humbling well as freeing and exhilarating...and available to anyone!

So if I should be confronted by someone who asks what my beliefs are in God I would gladly respond. I would love to share my beliefs if someone would only be interested in hearing. To be stifled in this is very hard. It's why I write. I would not argue but let it go if they didn't agree or felt I was a little fanatical! I would hope that at that time the Holy Spirit of God would give me the words to speak. He has on occasion.

If it would ever come to the point where defending my faith to save my life were to happen I would definitely need the power of the Holy Spirit to strengthen me. We could be told if we didn't deny our faith our spouse or a loved one would be killed. A very hard decision to have to make. If I would deny my Lord it would be a similar fate as Judas, the disciple Jesus chose and knew would betray Him. First the realization of what was done, then the remorse. Judas killed himself for his betrayal because the guilt was so great. This was, after all, the Son of God.

What happens when there's an automobile accident and the one who caused it and caused a death realizes what has happened? Imagine the pain of knowing a death occurred. The guilt. They may not take their lives but they certainly will feel the agony for a long time. 

In the case of our denying Jesus, something even more as severe as Judas' death takes place. We lose all hope of eternal life because we have denied Him. This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.” (2Timothy 2:11-12We must give up our idea of what it means to know God and submit to His. This submission is far from bad or wrong. We must die to our ideas, our sin, in order to be alive in and with Him. Then will come the Spirit and His guidance.

We have two options. Know God, know His promises (both good and bad) and maintain a strong stance on this, through the power of the Holy Spirit, or...deny God, scoff at His promises and remain rebellious against Him. One way leads to life, the other death. 

Jesus has never wanted, nor ever will, anyone to perish. The love He has for all of us is immeasurable by our human standards. He loves us while we are still sinners and no matter what we believe, how much we balk, how much we scoff, He will take a sinner's repentance in a heartbeat. That's the best news anyone could get. He is available to any and all. He's no respecter of persons. A heartfelt plea to Him for forgiveness of our wickedness to and without Him is all it takes for Him to transform anyone. 

So while this is a hard word, it is true. I continue to be stubborn about this because all throughout the Bible God has told us these things. His Word is the truth. His Son Jesus is the truth. To deny Him is to deny the truth. 

Mark 8:38 - For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.

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