Daily Devotional – Wednesday, August 31, 2022
“Then Jesus asked his disciples, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:15-16, NLT)
Peter provides us with a window into the ups and downs of faith for one who is impetuous by nature. While seen by some to be a character flaw, Jesus recognized Peter’s impetuous personality as invaluable. Peter was his chosen man to lead the disciples in continuing the work of growing God’s Kingdom that Jesus had begun and would soon be entrusting to his followers.
Peter was one to react to situations on the spot from the place of his emotions. On a character assessment scale, he is far more a ‘feeler’ than a ‘thinker’…and most definitely given to reacting over pondering a response. Of all the Apostles, it is Peter that we find making the most ‘foibles’…sinking beneath the waves when he allowed the storm to take his eyes off of Jesus…providing temptation in the path of Jesus’ determination to fulfill his mission…slicing off the ear of another when Jesus was being arrested…denying even knowing Jesus three times during his trial…returning to fishing even after being a witness to Jesus’ resurrection rather than assuming his new role. Believe me, there are many more…
But in Peter, we also see greater determination and willingness to take risks than any of the other Apostles. Yes, Peter began to sink beneath the waves, but he was the only one brave enough to jump out of the boat. Yes, Jesus rebuked him for trying to deter him from the way of the cross, but also commended him for being the first to acknowledge him as the Messiah. Yes, he wielded the sword Jesus had asked them to bring, but his actions prove he was willing to die with Jesus in the Garden if necessary. Yes, he later denied even knowing Jesus three times in a move that was surely prompted by self-preservation, but he is only one of two Apostles who braved the danger of staying present during Jesus’ trial. Yes, he went back to fishing and a group of the Apostles joined him, but when Jesus met them on shore to confirm Peter’s purpose moving forward, Peter was the first one out of the boat to receive directions.
Jesus knew that Peter’s character flaw could also be transformed into his greatest asset. At Pentecost, Peter seized the opportunity to preach to the gathered crowd and 3000 people believed that day. When he saw an individual in need of healing, he didn’t hesitate. When arrested by the religious leaders and told to stop teaching in the name of Jesus, he adamantly refused to disobey God. When asked to pray for a woman who had died, he allowed God to work the impossible miracle through him. How many of us would be so ‘impetuous’ as to allow God to work through us in such incredible ways?
We, like Peter, have particular character traits that can be expressed both negatively and positively. Our challenge is to allow the Holy Spirit to transform us so that the positive wins over the negative more than the other way around. Rather than simply rejecting part of the personality that God has created you with, maybe the better thing is to find the ways he would have you use your unique character for the good work he has planned for you to do.
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!