Fear has left its mark on me.
It was how I did life. Most of my decisions were based on fear—not fear of God— but fear of everything. Will anyone be upset if I do this? Will so-and-so be mad at me if I do that? What will my neighbors/friends/relatives think if I do this? Worse yet, what will THEY think? THEY is a very powerful group. THEY have been making life miserable for the rest of us for many years. We need to vote THEY out of power. Why? Because THEY will keep us from following HIM.
Peter did it.
He finally beat THEY and took back his power.
I’ve been thinking about Peter.
How did he go from a three-Pete denier to the man who stood and preached like his heart was a-fire? Poured-out, filled-up, all-in man of God. I want that.
Let’s look at what happened to Peter in the book of Acts.
Jesus and Peter are having a conversation. Peter declares he is ready to go the mat for Jesus, but Jesus knows better.
31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33 Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me. […]
58 And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” 59 And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly. Luke 22
Peter was all talk and no walk. He couldn’t deliver. I have been Peter—fired up at the conference and fast burn on the drive home. But, Peter changed.
How did it happen? How did God wreck fear?
Let’s look at God’s Peter Transformation Plan: From Fearful to Fearless
- Spend time weeping. Go back and read Acts 3:62. Just admit it and be done with it. Tell God you have failed, and you need Him to break your heart and put it back together again so it beats only for Him. Ask Him to do whatever it takes so you will fear only Him.
- Spend time with Jesus. A lot of time. Peter spent 3 years doing daily life with Jesus. How many hours do we spend each day with Jesus? Perhaps the more accurate question is, How many minutes do we spend each day with Jesus? If you are serious about change, you’ll be spending serious time with Jesus. Luke 5:11
- Spend time in prayer. In the time between the Ascension and Pentecost, Peter and the rest of Jesus’ disciples spent their time in the Upper Room in prayer. God used extended prayer to change Peter’s heart. Acts 1:14, Acts 4:31
- Spend time in fellowship. Peter did not become fearless by hunkering down by himself in his house. Effective outspoken Christians are not loners. We need others to encourage, confront and hold us accountable as we walk with Jesus. Acts 1:14, Acts 4:31
- Spend time in Scripture. Start at Acts 2:14 and read Peter’s speech to the crowd. How did he know what to say? Hours in the word of God. An Acts 2:14 kind of witness requires time, effort, perseverance and faith.
I have added one more element to this list: fasting. For this Lenten season, I have given up my favorite: Jason’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. Yep. It hurts. But God honors my sacrifice. By the way, I don’t expect to not ever feel fear again. I want to act in faith despite the fear. That’s what I’m talking about.
There we have it. The perfect recipe to wreck fear: prayer, repentance, scripture, fellowship and Jesus. Join me on this journey to wreck fear. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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