Monday, September 9, 2013

I am Peter

Right now, all the Sunday School classes at our church are reading a book called “The 3 Colors of Ministry” by Christian A. Schwarz-NCD Discipleship Resources.  This is my  kind of book.  Why?  Because it has lots of quizzes that tell you about yourself!  Within the first chapter, you have to take a quiz that tells you which Bible character you are most like and that person’s strengths and deficiencies when it comes to the ministry.  Let me give a little bit of background.

The three colors of ministry are:

  • Green – represents wisdom (The Creator)
  • Red – represents commitment (Jesus)
  • Blue – represents power (The Spirit)

Overall, the diagram associated with these looks like this:

photo (8) 

Then you take a quick little quiz that looks like this:

photo (10)

Based on the number of points you accumulate in each column, you have to draw a circle within the above diagram.  Mine looked like this:

photo (12)

Which was the most similar to this character:

photo (11) 

The above character wheel is for Peter.  Everyone knows Peter and the things he did and said during Jesus’ reign.  As I was reading about Peter and what his strengths and weaknesses are, I realized that I am SO much like him.  Let me give you some tid bits:

  • When Jesus walked on water during the storm while the disciples were scared in the boat, Peter was the only one that walked on water towards Jesus (even though he did eventually fall through the water).
  • Peter was famous for denouncing Jesus three times, but he was also the only disciple that followed Jesus into the courtyard, while all the others disappeared.
  • When the Roman soldiers came to arrest Jesus in the garden, Peter jumped to Jesus’ defense and cut off the Roman’s ear to protect his Lord, but what he didn’t realize was that wasn’t what Jesus wanted.

Peter is a risk-taker.  He is passionate.  He is willing to die for the cause because he is so faithful.  He jumps into the deep end (literally) based on his faith.  His faith gives him the power, the strength, to be a risk-taker.  Because of all these things, Jesus said to him “On this rock, I will build my church.” – Matthew 16:18.  Peter had both power (moved by the Spirit) and commitment (moved by his faith in Christ), but what he lacked was wisdom.

Peter was too rash.  Too quick to defend something and didn’t take a minute to think things through.  He cut off the Roman’s ear without really thinking.  I mean, Jesus had been preaching for some time now about how his life would end.  He’d even told them at the last supper that very night that he would die.  Peter knew that Jesus needed to die for our salvation.  But that’s not what he was thinking about when he got all sword-happy and chopped off an ear.  He wasn’t rational, he jumped too quickly. 

Peter could be considered one of Jesus’ overzealous followers.  And sometimes, his overzealous followers can be more damaging to his cause than non-Christians.  So what does that mean for us Peter’s out there?  What can we do to keep this from happening?

In the book of Acts, Peter began to grow in his wisdom.  So it’s possible for us to grow too.  Growing means knowing what you need to work on and praying for God to work on you in that area.  Lately, I have been praying for wisdom, like our ole buddy Solomon.  See, what’s weird about this whole thing, is that after reading 1 Kings, the book where Solomon asks for wisdom, I realized that I needed to be praying for wisdom.  I can’t remember how long ago it was that I was in 1 Kings, if I had to guess, I’d say it was back towards the beginning of the year.  But when reading about Solomon, it just hit me that I also should be praying for wisdom.  It’s weird that I knew that this was my weak spot before ever taking this test.  So of course once I took the test and read what it meant that I was Peter, I knew it was dead on (and I could also see God up in Heaven looking down on me saying “told ya”.  He does have a sense of humor you know!)  I have truly felt God deliver in this area in several ways.  Part of the reason I began my journey of reading the Bible front to back was because I realized I lacked wisdom of scripture.  I knew the big Bible stories you learn about when you’re a kid in youth group, but I had never sat down to read the things that happened in between those big Bible stories.  I truly believe that reading the Bible has helped with my lack of wisdom and it’s part of my prayer every day. 

I am a huge believer in “ask and you shall receive”.  If you ask God to reveal to you what you need to work on, he will!  And he will tell you how to work on it.  But you have to ask first…and you have to be open to his signs.  He isn’t going to make a hand appear and write a message on a wall (the book of Daniel) for you to see.  He will tell you in other ways.  He may use someone else to tell you what you need to work on.  So if you do ask God for a sign, you have to keep your eyes open!

Chapter 1 ends with a pretty spectacular quote:  “God loves to use imperfect people”.  Ain’t that the truth!!!  Peter didn’t have wisdom, but he was used to build God’s church.  Moses didn’t have power (Moses wasn’t a great speaker-God gave him his brother Aaron for that) but God used him to free his people.  Jonah didn’t have commitment (he resisted God’s will) but he was used to save the people of Nineveh. This is a recurring theme in the Bible.  God has always used imperfect people to accomplish his will!