Sunday, April 17, 2011

What Goes Up Must Come Down

By Allen White

Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:
“‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same. Matthew 26:31-35

Before we look down our noses glibly at Peter, let’s put ourselves in his shoes. See how well they fit? When we have attended a weekend conference like Promise Keepers or a marriage retreat or any other kind of retreat we leave feeling like we could conquer the world. Nothing could get in the way of being the godly man/woman, husband/wife, father/mother, brother/sister, employer/employee that God called us to be. Nothing.

As we stood there hand in hand, swaying to the music, we wanted everything that we just promised to be true. “I will read my Bible every day. I will be kinder (or more assertive). I will be the man/woman that God made me to be.” In the magic of the moment, we desired some sort of spiritual zap that would make all of this happen. Shazam! Then, we get stuck in traffic in the parking lot leaving the event.

Our newfound sanctification unravels so quickly. I’m not saying don’t trust God for big things. We should expect God to work in our lives. We should expect God to transform us. We should also expect that this won’t happen on our timetable.

Our transformation starts with a promise that leads to a process. If we want to improve in our roles and relationships, who have we invited to coach us along the way? The role of the coach is to refocus the player. Sooner or later, we will run out of steam. Promise keepers soon become promise breakers. Peter wasn’t so different from us.

If you notice, Peter said it, but all of the other disciples gave it a hardy “Amen!” It feels a bit like the last night of summer camp. If we could run our cars off of that kind of energy, we would never need to fill our tank again. But, this energy is less like perpetual motion and more like a rocket ride: there’s an explosion at the end.

What goes up must come down.

What do you wish could magically disappear from your life? What character quality would you like to have just appear? Take away the magic and the illusion, and you’ve got the project to work on. Now, who can help you? Not your spouse. Are you in a small group? Have you visited Celebrate Recovery? (Oh, I don’t need that. As they say, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.) If you’re stumped, then ask God to send someone to help.

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