The Lord’s will is most often found in the mundane routines of life. Therefore missing His will also happens in the midst of the mundane things of life.
We must obey His will in the mundane before we can expect to be led in the big things in life. It includes loving your neighbor who is obnoxious and messy and so outside of your comfort zone you are repulsed when the Lord tugs at your heart to take them a plate of cookies. It includes things like inviting that back-biting co-worker to lunch, and keeping your mouth shut when someone rubs you so the wrong way you’d like to tear their head off, at least verbally, in response.
In Acts 9:10-19 the Lord appeared to Ananias and told him to go lay hands on Saul of Tarsus, but he objected, stating that Saul was arresting believers and the Lord was therefore asking Ananias to risk his life for the Lord. But he went. It was outside his comfort zone, but he obeyed. Ananias grew a little bit in the Lord that day.
This is how the call of God works on a day to day basis, small decisions that on the surface mean absolutely nothing.
How do we get that heart of love with no strings attached? Through a series of seemingly small and insignificant decisions…
We have the benefit of seeing many small decisions Peter made, and they relate so perfectly to decisions people make today when following the Lord – or missing Him.
The decision points were these:
1) Peter’s brother, Andrew, introduces Peter to Jesus, who prophesies his name will be changed to Peter, petros in Greek, a small stone. John 1:41-42
2) Jesus uses Peter’s boat to speak from, and in payment provides a catch of fish requiring 2 boats to handle. Jesus invites Peter to follow Him. Luke 5:1-11
3) Jesus stays at Andrew and Peter’s house, and heals Peter’s mother-in-law, then heals and delivers those who came to the door of the house. Mark 1:29-39
4) Jesus speaks a hard to understand parable to weed out those who were following Him for wrong motives, and many leave Him. Peter stays. John 6:22-69
5) Following #4 above, the feeding of the 5,000, Peter makes his 2nd statement that Jesus is the Son of God no matter what others say. Matthew 16:13-20
6) Peter is used by the devil, trying to persuade Jesus not to go to the cross, and is rebuked for it. Matthew 16:21-28
7) Peter denies the Lord the 3rd time and Jesus immediately turns and looks directly at Peter. Luke 22:60-62
There are certainly more than 7 events the gospels show us of Peter’s life, but these 7 each involved a small decisions Peter made at each crisis point that led him to becoming more deeply involved with Jesus. That is how it is for us as well. When Jesus told Peter he would be a fisher of men, He didn’t also reveal to him at that point that he would die a martyr’s death some 35 years later. He allowed Peter to grow into his destiny, giving him every opportunity to decide whether to go deeper, or to draw back.
1) Peter’s brother Andrew introduces Peter to Jesus.
This exchange is found in John 1:41-42 when Andrew says to his brother, “We have found the Messiah.” Andrew then brings Peter to Jesus, who merely says “You are Simon the son of Jonah, but you will be called Cephas (Greek; petros, a small stone).
That’s it – the key is Andrew’s claim ‘we have found the Messiah’. What did Peter do with his brother’s claim? What did you do when someone started talking to you about the Lord? Peter thought about it, that’s what. The Jewish culture believed the Messiah would defeat the Romans supernaturally and restore the greatness of Israel. Peter had to examine his expectations about the Messiah, and what finding Him might mean to his life.
You and I did the same thing – is this person crazy, needing a crutch in life by becoming religious? What would my life be if I believed in Jesus like they keep saying? Would He change my life, isn’t religion for weak people? Why would I want God…yes I want to go to heaven, but really, can I know that before? Don’t we all just sort of find out after we die? What if I did follow Him; how would that change my life? Would He make it better, or would I end up in the mental institution?
Peter didn’t recognize it at the time that his response to his brother’s claim would change the course of his life. According to Luke 5:1-11 Peter was a partner in a fishing business that had at least 3 boats – he was an up and coming entrepreneur.
2) Jesus borrows Peter’s boat to speak from, and repays with a load of fish. Luke 5:1-11
We don’t know exactly what Peter’s conclusions were about Jesus based on his brother’s claim He was the Messiah. But the next time we see Peter it is after witnessing the miracle catch after Jesus spoke, and in response Peter fell on his knees telling Jesus in v8; “Depart from me for I am a sinful man O Lord!” From these 2 points in his life we can surmise Peter needed to see a miracle, some evidence Jesus was who Andrew claimed He was. After all, he was a busy business owner and didn’t have time to wander the countryside listening to all this Man said. He worked hard and had a family and business.
At this point Peter realizes Jesus is the Messiah – just as at some point we also believed. When Peter repented Jesus’ response was to say in v10: “Don’t be afraid, from henceforth you will catch men.” Peter was suddenly aware of his sinfulness and acknowledged it – but Jesus’ answer was “Don’t be afraid.”
Don’t be afraid
This is the point where a believer becomes a disciple (learner) – seeing their sinfulness, their lack, their empty life and the horror of it all – and going through that fear. Much of the discipleship process continues to consist of going through fear: The fear of something new. The fear of what if I forgive them but they get angry. The fear of stepping out to share something I think is from God but if I’m wrong what will they say? The fear of walking in love makes me appear weak and spineless.
Being a disciple is a life of constant personal growth and internal change. We have no idea where each little decision through fear will lead us – that part is faith. Peter had no idea that tiny decision to believe what Andrew told him about Messiah would lead to Peter healing the lame or writing scripture – God’s will is in the mundane and rarely announces itself.
A person doesn’t make the decision to be a disciple just once in life, that decision is made repeatedly by each little decision to be more like Him.
We’ll close this out next week, until then, blessings,