I love the Apostle Peter. There’s something inside me that relates to his quickness to act–and to overreact. He’s the first (and only) one out of the boat to walk on the water, the first to blurt out an answer to an important question, even the first to want to fight for justice by lopping off somebody’s ear.
We talk a lot about the Peter who walked with Jesus during his early ministry. We hear the story of Jesus returning to him after the Resurrection to draw him back in. We even read about his work in the early church.
But today, I heard from a much wiser Peter, one who’d seen God’s faithfulness and wrote letters to point the way for the exiles and also for us.
He tells us that we are being refined spiritually, that we should focus on the Day when Christ will return. He encourages us to “keep on believing.”
I’d think Peter knew my heart, if I didn’t know it was really the One who told Peter what to write. In 1 Peter 1:13 he says,”So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives. Don’t lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing.”
My mind can easily slip out of gear and return to autopilot, following habits of thinking that are already there. The problem is, we have an enemy who watches for us to stop paying attention so that he can work on manipulating us, upsetting us, and leading us on paths that are anything but righteous.
Peter tells us to be diligent, to keep on living the life we are called to through Christ. In chapter 2, verses 1-3, he says, “So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.”
From lopping off that ear and running away on the night of the Crucifixion to “drinking deep of God’s pure kindness” and “growing up mature and whole in God,” the changes God has brought about in Peter’s heart are evident in the words of his letter, and that’s the kind of change I’m praying for in my heart, a change that will show I’ve spent time drinking of God’s pure kindness.