Several weeks ago I took a friend of mine to see the movie Son of God. A few days after, we were attending a meeting and the leader asked if anyone had anything to share from the past week. My friend spoke up and said the following. ” I went to see Son of God last week. There was this guy called Peter in it, I just can’t believe that after having lived with Jesus, being taught by Jesus, seeing all the miracles and everything else that Peter would deny Jesus in his greatest hour of need”. You could have heard a pin drop. My friend was in the midst of discovering who God is and what he did by sending his son to die for our sins. And in the middle of this journey he simply could not understand how Peter could have denied Jesus.
Often times we think that if we had more, learned more, saw more, or felt more that we would be more in our greatest hours of need. The story of Peter is clearly laid out to teach us that our relationship with God is based on faith. While experience is good and helps to grow our faith, in the beginning, the middle, and the end, all we have left to stand upon is our faith in God and his promises to us.
Examining this story of Peter many may say they would never deny Jesus if they had been in that position. Maybe not, but are there other ways that you deny him? Our actions of self reliance and self experience can speak volumes about our faith in God. Do we trust ourselves more than God? Do we deny God the opportunity to work in our lives?
Denial is meant to be a daily part of our lives, Self denial, the hardest denial there is. But also the most rewarding there is. We live in a world that has eroded the value of self denial, our culture sees it as weakness, not a strength. Self denial in the pursuit of a vibrant relationship with God is truly life giving. It involves brokenness, healing, humility, perseverance, and love. It is by denying ourselves that we learn to live our lives in a way in which we do not deny God.
As we approach this Easter weekend the questions I leave you with is what part does denial play in your life? Do you deny God in how you live and relate? Or do you seek to deny yourself in the pursuit of God? When God sent his son Jesus to die on the cross it was the greatest display of self denial by both God and his Son. They gave it all up that we might have life. If you don’t know the man Jesus that I am talking about, take some time this week to answer who he is and what he means to you. Have a wonderful, joy filled Easter weekend!