For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. [James 2:26]
I saw a good movie last night, “Do you believe?”, challenging the characters to prove their faith by taking action due to their uncomfortable circumstances or helping somebody else in the midst of their uncomfortable circumstances. In one scene, the EMT was faced with unemployment and litigation because he shared his faith with a dying man. We really do not know if we believe until we enter into The Uncomfortable.
Our human nature is to seek comfort and not voluntarily step into the uncomfortable. Christians are called to live in the uncomfortable. This forces us to release control over our lives and to trust God. This requires us to obey God because we are servants of the highest God. God will ask us to overcome the impossible not because we have the ability but because he wants us to trust his ability.
Peter and the disciples professed to Jesus that he could count on their loyalty to the death because they trusted him.
31 Then said Jesus to them, All you shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.
32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.
33 Peter answered and said to him, Though all men shall be offended because of you, yet will I never be offended.
34 Jesus said to him, Truly I say to you, That this night, before the cock crow, you shall deny me thrice.
35 Peter said to him, Though I should die with you, yet will I not deny you. Likewise also said all the disciples.
After Jesus was arrested, tortured and unfairly tried the true heart of Peter was revealed.
54 Then took they him [Jesus Christ], and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off.
55 And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.
56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked on him, and said, This man was also with him.
57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not.
This is Peter’s first denial of Jesus. There were severe consequences for being one of Jesus disciples.
58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, You are also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not.
This is Peter’s second denial.
59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean.
60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what you say. And immediately, while he yet spoke, the cock crew.
This is Peter’s third denial. A fulfillment of Jesus prophetic word that Peter would deny him three times before sunrise.
61 And the Lord turned, and looked on Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, Before the cock crow, you shall deny me thrice.
62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
Peter experiences a wrenching moment knowing that he had lied to Jesus. His intentions were good but when under pressure he focused on his own safety.
Wow. It’s a blessing to have friends that are loyal to their death. However, there was no cost for fulfilling their words. They were among friends. Whenever a man or woman is under pressure and there is a cost for adhering to their words then their true character is exposed. There are Christians overseas that under severe persecution and yet will confess Jesus to their deaths. I am not proposing that Christians risk their lives but until there is a cost to backing your words then you will not know. We do have various circumstances to prove our faith.
- When sick do you trust in God by believing his promises?
- When unemployed do you trust in God by believing his promises?
- When preparing for a test or a project do you trust in God by believing his promises?
- When spending time with somebody that is annoying or irritating do you trust in God by believing his promises?
- When in financial straits do you trust in God by believing his promises?
We demonstrate our trust by letting the peace of God be the umpire of our hearts (Colossians 3:15). An umpire determines if a base runner is safe or out, if a pitcher is throwing balls or strikes, and if a hit ball is in safe or foul territory. An unpeaceful heart is a good indicator of not trusting God. Make the decision to keep your heart in a safe (peaceful) territory and not foul (unpeaceful) territory. If you have doubt, worry, fear, or elevated human reasoning above God’s word then you are not trusting God. Trust God today.
The next time you are under pressure ask yourself “Do I believe?”. Then check the peace of your heart and if your clinging to your thoughts and ways or embracing God’s thoughts and ways.