Friday, April 28, 2017

Empty Promises!

Empty Promises! We like Peter deny Jesus out of fear. 

John 13:36-38 (GW)
36  Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “You can't follow me now to the place where I'm going. However, you will follow me later.”
37  Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, why can't I follow you now? I'll give my life for you.”
38  Jesus replied, “Will you give your life for me? I can guarantee this truth: No rooster will crow until you say three times that you don't know me.
(God’s Word, Copyright 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society,

Living daily by faith requires daily surrender. We cannot stand on our strength, trust in our ability, or faithfully serve God by sheer determination. No matter how sincere, how committed, or how strongly we desire to follow God and live for Him; we will fail if we try to live by our own power and might, human ambition, or desire to please others. The life of faith comes through the death of our sin-filled self-nature (our old Adam). However, that sin-filled self-nature does not die without a battle and self-preservation can cause us to deny even our closest friends.

If we were in Peter’s place would we have denied Jesus? Maybe we need to take a closer look into our lifestyle or our daily encounters with people; do we try to hide our light of faith to keep our friendships intact? Do we keep our mouths shut when we are given opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus with a neighbor, a relative, or a friend? Denial can take the form of silence just as easily as a verbal expression. Fear can cause us to keep our mouths shut or to say things we don’t really mean or believe just to avoid conflict and confrontation. 

Our human nature, that sin-filled self-nature, continues to fight for the control of our life. It fills us with fear and anxiety. It puts self-preservation ahead of friends, family, and even our faith. It needs to be put in its proper place, every day! It needs to be reminded that it has been rendered powerless by the power of God’s Spirit in the waters of our Baptism. Thank God for the gift of Baptism! It is God’s gift of grace. It serves as a constant reminder that the old Adam has been drowned.

Our life in Christ is a life of submission and surrender, the death of self and new life in Christ. We live by the power of God in us. We live for Him, through His strength, dependent upon Him, renewed by Him, by faith in Him – faith that was given as a gift from Him. Our old self is nothing and will only cause us to sin and fail. Our new self, living in submission and under the power and authority of Jesus Christ, has the power to resist sin, speak words of truth, and proclaim Jesus as Lord even if it causes us to face ridicule, persecution, or death.

This is our daily struggle. We fail, God forgives! We fail, God forgives! Again and again! And through this struggle God helps us to grow in our faith. He teaches us to depend on His strength and to trust in His provision instead of our old self-serving nature.

Dear Lord, Give me the courage to trust in your strength and to resist the self-preservation of my sinful self-serving nature. Humble me. Forgive me. Fill me with Your Spirit. Crush the fear of disbelief and allow me to rest in the peace of your authority over my life.