Thursday, April 22, 2010

Peter's Perspective- Following At A Distance

Last month I wrote a post about Peter following Jesus from a distance after he was arrested in the garden. I haven't been able to get the thought off of my mind and felt that God was leading me to wrap up the "Perspectives" series with it. This is very similar to some of the things that I spoke on during the "Crazy Love" series looking at a lukewarm person and serving leftovers to God, or serving Him half-heartedly. What I've learned is that when God leads us to something repeatedly then it is definitely something we need to hear.

All four gospels point out this fact that Peter followed Jesus at a distance and we looked at the account in Luke 22:54. Luke uses the equivalent of the word "followed" meaning he was following Jesus as a disciple, but the phrase "at a distance" meaning from far away. Sometimes Christians can do a good job of this and in turn blend into their surroundings. The people around them may never know they are a Christian. I believe we do this because we want to be close enough to Jesus to receive the benefit, but not close enough to be required to do something for God. Here is a list of characteristics of someone who follows Jesus at a distance:
-Someone who follows Jesus at a distance comes to church but does not listen to the message.
-Someone who follows Jesus at a distance hears the message but does not apply it in their lives. James 1:22 tells us to be "Doers of the Word, and not hearers only". We don't need to fill our minds with more information, we need to apply this information. I read a quote yesterday that said "I don't need more information to grow my faith- I need to surrender control".
-Someone who follows Jesus at a distance depends on the church for their relationship with God. Your relationship with God is a daily thing, not Sunday and Wednesday only.
-Someone who follows Jesus at a distance does more complaining than praising. Probably because they are not content with what God has given them whether it be possessions, people in their lives, etc.
-Someone who follows Jesus at a distance does not want anyone to know that they are a follower of Jesus. Matthew 10:32-33 is a pretty clear warning from Jesus to those who deny Him.
-Someone who follows Jesus at a distance will go to prom this Friday night, do things they know they shouldn't such as gossip, talk about others and either how bad they look or lust over how good they look, drink, have sex, etc. but come to church on Sunday like they did nothing wrong.

So what's the solution? If you find that you are following Jesus at a distance then draw near to God because He will draw near to you- James 4:7-8. Make the effort to spend time with Him. Because someone who follows Jesus closely instead of at a distance will be transformed and changed and will no longer blend in the crowd.

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