Aug 7, 2012

Who Do You Say I Am?

feet-water-jesusThis has been quite a summer. It has been one of the busiest I have faced in quite a while, and I find myself wondering where it has all gone.

Sure, there was lots of visits with family and friends, my parents 50th anniversary, catching a stomach bug, starting a new job, and doing my best to stay cool in the summer heat.

Politics is in full swing as is the Olympics and of course there is always controversy to some fashion in both of those, but about a week ago there was an event that took place across our nation in response to one man’s comment about his support of marriage between one man and one woman.  Liberals were immediately in arms against this man and his restaurant chain and ‘how dare he define what was right and wrong.’ Surely, you heard about Chick-Fil-A?

On the other hand the supporters, and I would assume believers of the Biblical principles of what constitutes a marriage, came out in full support. Record numbers showed up to purchase chicken sandwiches and drinks from this place to show that they supported the rights of this man. Some said it was bigoted hate coming out; some said it was the Christian thing to do; and still others said it was about civil rights.

Integrity And Character

A video surfaced on YouTube, where a man showed up and called the server at the window hateful, and how could she sleep knowing she was involved with supporting a hate group. It went viral, made most news broadcasts, and in the end the man was fired from his own job for his behavior toward her.

Today, I saw an interview with this girl and she said she had accepted an online apology from the man who was so rude and hateful, but also she was sorry he lost his job and that his family was subjected to so much criticism in the media. She showed amazing patience, integrity, and a great depth of character.

I found myself wondering how would I have reacted in the same circumstance? Would I have been as kind and patient? Would my human nature taken over and I would have spewed out the same type of anger toward him that he was giving to  me? Most probably the latter.

As Christians, we like to think of ourselves many times as above the fray, and that we would react differently if faced with accusations and anger, but let’s face it, most of us can get riled up and ready to fight back with just a couple of words.

The Bible says in the last days there will be wars and rumors of wars, but it also states that brother shall rise against brother, even unto the death. I must admit, even at my age, when my brothers get me riled up instead of walking away, or turning the other cheek, it is much easier to get angry and attack back. Words can hurt and being betrayed by your own brother in a moment that should be happy, can drop the strongest of us to our knees.

While on our knees, we should reflect on the one who is really able to deliver, but usually the anger, the hurt, the flesh takes over and we rise back up to fight with full battle gear. We are human; we don’t like being hurt or accused and generally it is those close to us who tend to give us the most problems. But when we blow our temper, chances are our integrity and character will vanish in the midst of it.

Who Do You Say I Am?

Peter was asked this question by Jesus. He had walked with Jesus, seen many miracles, joined Christ walking on the water; he was one of Jesus’ closest followers.  At first it seems an easy question. 

If we were asked we would probably say God, the son of God, Saviour, healer, or a multitude of other attributes we give to Jesus.

Peter was asked three times and by the last one, he was actually upset because Jesus questioned him. And instead of explaining why he asked three times, Jesus simply told him to feed his sheep and lambs.  The question I believe wasn’t really about did Peter believe in Jesus, but He was searching to see where Peter’s character was at. What did he really believe down deep inside? Was he trustworthy? Could he be counted on?

Jesus essentially was saying, ‘Peter, who are you?’

What About Us?

Most of us like to profess our Christianity. We might even brag to some degree. We have habits of discussing what we believe, and sometimes arguing the finer points of what the Bible really means and at times we can get in heated discussions about it.

This has its place, but I wonder sometimes if we are the same person we were when we first came to Jesus. That moment when we gave Him our all, when He filled us with His presence. Are we still that person?

Now some might say we should grow from where we started and we should, but do you still believe the same values with as much vigor as we did that first moment when we spoke in other tongues? Most of us at that time are quick to tell everyone. We want everybody to have what we have and we are unafraid to share it.

We do our best to get rid of the old man; the lying, drinking, swearing, or whatever bad behaviors we had in our life. We seem to hold our head higher, dress nicer for service, do our best to live a life that would be pleasing in God’s sight. But how long does it last? Or does it? Are we still serving God with the same tenacity we did then?

We know how it was when we began. You would find us reading the word, establishing a daily prayer life, doing our best to encourage and uplift others, and in as much ability as we have, being a witness for Christ.

If someone we knew saw us they might even call us a holy roller, and instead of being upset about it, we wore the tag with pride. We were a child of God. How much better could it be.

Living The Life

In time, though, most of us tend to slip back in some of our behaviors. We aren’t as open about what we believe, unless we are discussing it with someone else who believes. Some of the areas that we had overcame slip back in a little. We don’t pray quite as much because we get so busy, and well for many of us, our Bible gets picked up as we head out the door for church.

What we consider Christian, and even Apostolic,  changes some too. Maybe some of those things that we were so on fire about in the beginning was just our judgmental attitude or maybe it was just zeal at the time. Before long, the church we used to attend very faithfully, the tithe we used to pay, doesn’t seem to matter quite so much, and if our children don’t quite act the way they should, well we give them the benefit of the doubt as we remember them in prayers from time to time.

Please understand, I am not saying that everything we were taught was exactly right. Nor am I saying that we should judge those who do change their way of life. But I wonder if Jesus changed the way we do, would we still treat Him the same?


Lately, most of us have reacted in sheer horror at the shootings in Colorado, and other events that destroyed lives and we feel for those who lost loved ones. 

We wonder how could they do it? What happened to make that man pull out a gun and shoot all those people. We think to ourselves, ‘if it was me I would…’  But the reality is, that except for the grace of God, we could be in the same situation, or perhaps our child might be.

I feel sorry for those who have lost their loved ones, but I do find myself wondering what must have happened in that persons life to change them so much? And then I look around at those who I grew up with, those who I attended church with. The ones who I saw with my own eyes slain in the spirit, or speaking in that heavenly language, and now the life they live would not be pleasing in God’s sight.

I realize to some extent that makes me a judge, but mostly my heart breaks for them. They don’t even seem to realize where they are in relationship to where they used to be. I want to scream to them, ‘get back to God. Don’t live that life!’ But its not up to me.

Maybe there was a change in how their mom or dad lived. Maybe they went through some adversity and instead of finding the encouragement they needed, they felt lost and alone. No one showed up to help carry their burden. The scripture says we are to help out.

‘Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.' Galatians 6:2

It is our duty to help restore our brothers and sisters, but instead many times we find ourselves whispering behind their backs. We still go to church. We still might even look the same and pay our tithes on time, but in the depths of our character, who are we?

Do we still believe it like we used to? Are we still committed to our walk with God, no matter what? Do we love our brother and sister?

What would He say if we asked Jesus, ‘who do you say I am?’