Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Transformation Tuesday: Peter

Transformation Tuesday!

I’m starting a new blog series called Transformation Tuesday. One Tuesday per month you will find stories of transformation on Bird In A Tree. I’ll talk about all kinds of transformation, relational, spiritual, physical—really anything is up for grabs! For this first installment I wanted to feature Peter…as in Peter: apostle of Jesus Christ. I love Peter and I think he is perfect for the first TT post because he is so radically transformed!
 My impression of Peter when he was traveling with, serving and learning from Jesus is that he was so endearing. This is a guy with a lot of passion, but he just doesn’t always know what to do with it. Sometimes you find yourself being so touched at his love for Christ that you just want to sigh and say “Aw, Peter.” Other times he misuses his zeal, or acts cowardly or just doesn’t get it and you just want to raise your eyes brows and vent “Aw…Peter!” It’s obvious he loves Jesus, it’s obvious that he has a big personality, it’s obvious that he has some insecurities—Peter is one of a kind, but still pretty relatable through his flawed devotion to Jesus. Until recently I always saw Peter as runner up to Paul. Paul is a bible stud, and talk about transformation. Paul is that guy that no one wants to go after at small group. If he isn’t sharing his INSANE testimony, then he’s preaching the best sermon ever (second to Jesus, duh). Maybe I’m just too “mainstream” but Paul has always stolen my attention. But recently since going through the book of John and now Acts, I’ve seen how much I have in common with Peter.

Peter declares to Jesus “I will lay down my life for you.”(John 13:37) But Jesus has a sobering reaction to that declaration of devotion, he answers Peter by saying “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, Isay to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.” What a shock of cold water. But that’s the deal, Jesus loved Peter so much even though he KNEW that Peter would act cowardly. Jesus knew that Peter rode the high highs and the low lows better than anyone, he knew Peter was fearful and easily broken…and he loved Peter. This is a moment I’ve always had kind of an “Aw shucks Peter” attitude toward. I mean, I get that he’s scared, but come on man you were even forewarned about this behavior! But a few weeks ago I had a similar moment myself; a moment that reminded that me when left to my own devices I’m going to fail—just like Peter. All week I’d been preparing myself to worship for all God had done and celebrate with new songs together with our church. But a few hours before I was all set to go to the night of worship and album release one of our kids got sick and my plans were ruined. In a moment I was a victim who deserved more. I deserved more help, more health, more free time, more accolades, more privileges, more love, more more more more. How come nothing ever works out for me me me? Hadn’t I sacrificed, hadn’t I worked hard? And I mean, all I wanted to was to go to this worship night and worship God and be a part of my husband’s ministry. Wasn’t that a deserving reason for all to go well for me? Like Peter, I had switched back to carnal survival and self serving attitudes.


And then in an instant God showed me grace by allowing the weight of my selfishness to break me. Like I Peter, I wept. God’s told me countless times that my treasures aren’t here, that all I need is Him, that what I deserve is far far uglier than what I’ve gotten, that life isn’t about me; but like Peter—I proudly denounced my short comings and marched on toward my failure. Fail I did, but His grace picked me up and showed me that when I’m broken and weak—God prevails. Like Peter, I felt ashamed of my behavior. Like Peter, I found that God wasn’t surprised; he loves me and was just waiting for me to come to the table of mercy and take my fill. My hope is that through the power of the Holy Spirit in me, like Peter, I will continue to grow and be transformed. The Holy Spirit took Peter’s unrefined passion and refined it. Peter began to act boldly and move in wisdom. Peter was a radical force and instrument used by God to plant the first ever Church. God didn’t strip Peter of his personality; He used it and transformed it. He took Peter’s fear and pride and gave him humility and discernment. Peter changed from well meaning bull-in-a-china-shop to an oak of righteousness, a transformation that no one saw coming.

He's not done transforming us, He's got great plans far past all our failures.

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