By Luke French
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Peter followed Jesus for years. He walked with Jesus on water, saw him perform miracles, feed thousands with a small boy’s lunch and heal many who were sick. And yet, even after all of these events, Peter denies Jesus. In that moment, he was embarrassed by his faith.
It is no secret that we all struggle in similar moments. No matter how we met Jesus, how much we read the bible or pray for people in church, when we’re outside of our church bubble, it is all too easy to buckle under the pressure from the real world.
This is so evident in Peter’s story. He actually spoke to Jesus, ate meals with him, watched him, followed him and broke bread with him, yet as soon as he ventured out on his own, he was helpless. If a man who actually knew what it was to be in Jesus’ physical presence was embarrassed of his faith, and denied him, it’s only natural that we would struggle too.
Back at school
When I was at school, and the topic of God or Christianity came up, I would shy away and take the back seat. I’d be careful not to say too much that would stir up the conversation more or have my faith challenged. So, when someone would say “oh, Luke, you’re a Christian, right?” I would simply nod along, zipping up what I actually believed in case I caused any offense or had to answer hard questions.
The same God who brought the Jews out of exile is the God of our conversations with friends in school and at university.
But now, I regret not saying anything. I should’ve defended Jesus and expressed how he had changed my life and met me in an amazing way. It hurts to think of how many times I blew it because I was embarrassed of the gospel and instead steered the conversation in a direction that would glorify me.
God was, and is, so much bigger than those conversations. The same God who brought the Jews out of exile is the God of our conversations with friends in school and at university. When you begin to comprehend how awesome our God is, these conversations and embarrassing moments become small. And then, when you realise that it is HIS spirit that fills you when you do his work, you’re unstoppable.
Despite what I say, I want you to know that I believe that you can overcome your fears, stir conversations and be awesome because God says you can. God promises that when you do his works, he will fill you with his spirit. He will give you the right things to say. On the day of Pentecost, when the disciples were filled with the spirit, they poured out onto the streets speaking tongues of many nations (languages that they hadn’t ever spoken before). People came to know Christ because of this! Isn’t that exciting? God doesn’t break his promises, and he always delivers.
It’s not easy. Our friends will have tough questions and wrong ideas. But God is with us. I’ve been in situations where I’ve said ‘Yes’ to God’s prompting and gone over to and speak with strangers. I haven’t had a clue where the conversation would go but God has always given me the words to say that would encourage and uplift the person I was talking to.
Peter was embarrassed. He then became one of the most influential people in the church, and advanced the Kingdom. Be encouraged. You can do it, you can strike up that conversation that you’ve been dreading; because if Peter can, you too can. Be brave and take a step. Give God your service and let him break chains of fear and embarrassment. He will fill you up and bless what you do. Rejoice, and be glad.
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