Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Highs, Lows...and Glory!

For my devotional this morning, I was in Matthew 16:13-17:5. An up and down passage for Peter...highs and lows...and highs.

First, Jesus pointed out Peter's "glory and honor" as a man blessed by God and as an image-bearer. Jesus greatly honored Peter for his confession of faith in Christ as the Son of God. Calling out or pointing out others' glory and honor gives people great encouragement and strength in life. Such encouragement reminds us who God longs for us to be and also reminds us that by grace we are being restored to the image of Christ.

But, Jesus also let Peter know when he was living as less of a man than he was meant to be. When Peter had a wrong view of the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus, Jesus rebukes him, even saying "Get behind Me, Satan!" Ouch! BUT, what Jesus was really wanting Peter to see, was that he was a better man than he was living and acting out at that moment! Jesus was saying, in effect, "Peter, you're a better man than this! Keep being and becoming the man you were meant to be in grace! Don't fall into the "smaller story" of living a lie! Trust Me and honor Me and expect more from My grace in you!" Jesus was calling forth even more "glory" from Peter.

Now, this is tricky, because, on the one hand, we need to encourage one another. We need to offer each other strength, and the opportunity for life and growth. We need to point out where we see the image of Christ in one another and how we see each other living as we were meant to live. On the other hand, we also need to let people face the possibility of DIScouragement from time to time, when they must realize they are thinking LESS of themselves than God means them to. When we are not living out of the "glory" God has given us in Christ, we need to encourage each other that we are "better men" or better people than how we are acting.

However, when it was all said and done, Jesus again "lifts Peter up" and encourages him once more by honoring Peter through inviting him to join Him on the Mount of Transfiguration.

Of course, the process of repentance and faith continues as Peter acts as less than his glory in Christ again, by saying something stupid about building tents for Jesus and Moses and Elijah! So now, God the Father speaks and says to Peter, in effect, "Shooosh! Be silent! Listen!"

God is ALWAYS calling us to a higher place...to live more and more out of the glory He has shared with us in Christ.

Encouragement. Failure. Rebuke. Repentance. Faith.
Encouragement. Failure. Rebuke. Repentance. Faith....etc

That IS the process of growth in grace.

Live out of your glory...and call others to do the same!

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