Were Judas or Peter flawless men? Am I a flawless person? The Christian life is a process of becoming more and more like Christ. In the process of becoming, we must overcome.
Sometimes what we are tempted to do is not wrong in itself. Eve wanted to be like God. This is humanity’s highest goal. However, Satan misled Eve concerning the right way to accomplish this goal. He told her that she could become more like God by defying God’s authority, by taking God’s place and deciding for herself what was best for her life. Satan told her to become her own god.
To become like God is not the same as trying to become God. We are to reflect His character, characteristics and to recognize His authority over our life.
1 Samuel 16:7…The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
All desires start in the heart and are characterized by three attitudes: the cravings of sinful man, preoccupation with gratifying physical desires; the lust of the eyes, craving and accumulating things, bowing to the god of materialism; and boasting of what you have and do, obsession with one’s status or importance.
John 13:31-38, v-37-38, Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!”
Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen. He knew about Judas and about Peter. In the same way, Jesus knows exactly what we will do to hurt Him and others. God looks to the motives of the heart.
Proverbs 21:2 – All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart.
We often have to make choices in areas where the right actions are difficult to discern. We can help ourselves make such decisions by identifying our motives first and then asking, “Would God be pleased with my real reasons for doing this?”
Matthew 26:69-75, v-75, – Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Peter’s experience in those few hours changed his life. He went from a halfhearted follower to a repented disciple, and finally to the kind of person Christ could use to build His church.
There were three stages to Pete’s denial. First he acted confused and tried to divert attention from himself by changing the subject. Second using an oath he denied that he knew Jesus. Finally, he began to curse and swear.
Jesus predicted that Judas would betray Him, and He said that calamity awaited the traitor. Luke 22:22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him.
Betraying and denying, one is just as bad as the other. Judas had a persistent misunderstanding of Jesus’ mission. He made a choice. Judas did not lose his relationship with Jesus because he never found Jesus in the first place. Judas’ life ended tragically.
John 21:15-19, v-17, – The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”
Jesus led Peter through an experience that would remove the cloud of his denial. Peter disowned Jesus three times. Three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. It is one thing to say you love Jesus, but the real test is willingness to serve Him.
Jesus does not settle for quick, superficial answers. He has a way of getting to the heart of the matter. Peter had to face his true feelings and motives when Jesus confronted him.
We should not be so afraid of the label hypocrite that we stand still in our Christian life, hiding our faith and making no attempts to grow. A person who tries to do right but often fails is not a hypocrite. Neither are those who fulfill their duty even when they do not feel like doing it. It is not hypocrisy to be weak in faith.
Psalm 25:21 – May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you.
Uprightness makes us learn God’s requirements and strive to fulfill them. Integrity, being what we say we are, keeps us from claiming to be upright while living as if we do not know God. Uprightness says, “This is the Shepherd’s way,” and integrity says, “I will walk consistently in it.”