Hearts and Heads in Equilibrium
The Apostle Peter became a great leader of the early church. His epistles and testimony have continued to inspire, encourage, comfort and warn all believers after him. But Peter had his season of rashness. He was the first – and only – disciple to step out on the angry sea, his reflexes acting faster than his faith could follow. He blurted out the incongruous notion to build huts for the miraculous guests at the transfiguration. He thought he knew best by first refusing and then requesting more as Christ washed the disciples feet. He, in his rashness, denied his Christ in three instances of unanticipated consequence.
But Simon (the stone) became Peter (the rock) just as Jesus had seen in him upon their first meeting (John 1:42). Satan had desired to sift Peter, as he does all of us, but Jesus had prayed for him (Luke 22:31-32). He knew the man that Peter was to become.
And Jesus continues and prays on today, for us… for you… and for I (John 17:20; Heb. 7:25). We are all journeying home. We must not by our convictions on disputable things quarrel and toss others from the ship. We are all our Father’s Family… His Forever Family.
Rashness is a thing to be guarded against in the heart of every believer and it is best guarded by fostering a heart of prayer and love. As Peter learned, and warned,
“…with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you… The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply…” (1 Pet. 1:13; 4:7).
“Judge nothing before the appointed time,” Paul cautioned the rash and argumentative Corinthians (1 Cor. 4:5). Choose your battles wisely and when you must fight, fight not one another with the weapons of the flesh but fight that true enemy of the Church with the weapons of the Spirit, “mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds” (2 Cor. 10:4). Do so especially now as we face great challenge and transition.
In times like these I appreciate the words our now long-departed brother in Christ, Martin Luther, who, urging sobriety during the great plague of his day wrote,
“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.” – Martin Luther – On “Whether One May Flee from a Deadly Plague”
Pray, and Press on…