You Can Do It-or can you?

Posted: March 10, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Be positive, you’re a winner! Ok, just kidding. I was once given the opportunity to speak in front of a large group of kids that had been the victims of tragic accidents. The speaker that spoke right before me poured his heart out telling them that he sympathized with their pain and how important it was for them to spend the rest of their lives with a positive attitude, positive thinking, and using positive speech. It was ok, from a worldly viewpoint. However, when I took the stage, I basically said, “What you just heard might get you limited results, but if you want to see real results and live a life of fulfillment, joy, and peace, you need to meet Jesus.” I shot a quick glance at the guy who just spoke, and he just glared at me. I figured, what’s he gonna do? I weigh 230 pounds, and I came here to break bricks and snap baseball bats!  Ha ha it was funny. You could say I had confidence on two fronts: confidence in who I was in the flesh, and confidence in who I was in the spirit. I understand that placing confidence in who you are in the flesh is not a good thing, but let’s face it- we’ve all done it. We can see a very good example of these two kinds of “confidences” in the life of Peter.

The way I see it, Peter was a man’s man- a man of action. He was bold, outspoken, and a natural leader- although a little rough around the edges. He was a fisherman, tough, and not highly or formally educated. I love it how God uses the simple to confound the wise. If people ever feel disqualified for ministry they should read 1 Cor 1:26-29: “For you see our calling , brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” I love that passage of scripture – it is the great qualifier. Simply put, the simple don’t have a lot going on for them(in the natural), and confidence in self is not going to get in the way of God’s plan! The more we decrease and let Him increase; the more we yield, the more He can use us. Now let’s get back to Peter. Before Jesus’ crucifixion, He said to His disciples, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:” (He then quotes Zech. to verify). But Peter exclaimed, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble” (Matt 26:33). Jesus replied, “Assuredly…before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”

So what did Peter do? He puffed up- he manned up, and boldly declared, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!”  So, was he all talk, or was he serious? You better believe he was serious – a man of action. In fact, he tried to lop off the High Priest’s servant’s head, but luckily he ducked, losing only an ear. He had confidence, but it was misplaced, it was a confidence in the flesh – not the spirit. I believe that either Peter was ready to go out in a blaze of glory, or he was expecting the mighty right hand of the God to save them against all odds- much like all the stories in the Old Testament. Or perhaps, he believed that now was the time for Jesus to restore the Kingdom of Israel, and he was going to help move things along! It must have been confusing and embarrassing to watch as Jesus reattached his handiwork. “For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God”(James 1:20). That killed his confidence, and he went on to deny Him three times. The problem was that Peter’s confidence in the flesh was greater than his confidence in the spirit or Word. He couldn’t/didn’t know how to stand with Jesus spiritually partly because he wasn’t praying with Jesus in the garden as he was instructed. How many times do we automatically look to a natural solution instead allowing the Holy Spirit lead us into the spiritual solution? In Peter’s defense, his “bible” only contained Old Covenant: eye for an eye- tooth for a tooth- ear for a Messiah -principals. However, he should have taken Jesus at his words- which are Spirit and Life. Plus Peter had experienced the power of the Holy Spirit, but had not yet been baptized, or endued with that power. He did not yet have that still small voice that would bring to remembrance the words Jesus spoke to him.

In Conclusion: Peter was reminded of the power of God’s spoken word. Jesus said it; it came to pass. Later Peter learned of a new kind of confidence. After receiving the baptism of the HS, he boldly stood up and preached to the very people he was so afraid of. He went from totally denying jesus to: “nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved”(Acts 4:12). When we decide to lay all of our gifts and talent at the feet of Jesus, and realize that it’s not by might, or by power, but by His Spirit working through us, we will get awesome results. We should place all of our confidence in who we are in our born-again spirits. We should identify completely with who we are in Christ. Let’s quit talking about our shortcomings and failures, and start seeing ourselves the way God sees us – in the spirit.  Are we not holy, righteous, justified, blameless, and above reproach in God’s eyes? Are we not joint-heirs with Christ? Do we not have the same Spirit inside of us that raised Jesus from the dead? If that doesn’t inspire confidence, nothing will. Now go out and be a believing believer!

  1. Greg Riether says:

    Hi Brother,
    Love your blogs! I see your heart of love and compassion for people. Awesome.
    It would be so great to sit down over lunch one of these days and get to know one another better; though I feel a kinship in Jesus with you already.

    I am excited that you were open to teaching at one of our Wednesday gatherings at my home. I have April 6th and April 13th available. Would either of those work for you? Just let me know.

    Looking forward to seeing you again!
    Pastor Greg

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