How Far or Near
One of the great lessons one can gather about Christian living we learn from the apostle Peter in Mark chapter fourteen. We know that while Peter was near Jesus he was strong, brave, and faithful. He promised to not ever be offended even if all others were (v. 29). His fervent insistence that even if he had to die he would never deny influenced the others to say likewise (v. 31). In the Garden of Gethsemane, standing next to the Lord, he was ready to fight and give his life (v. 47).
But in one of the saddest passages in all of Scripture we read that after Jesus was led away Peter followed “afar off” (v. 54). When one of the maids of the high priest sees Peter warming himself by the fire she says, “you were also with Jesus.” But he denied (vs. 66 – 68). Another maid sees him and declares to the crowd, “This is one of them.” Again, he denied (vs. 69 – 70). A third time he denies, this time with cursing, after the crowd declares that his speech gave him away (vs. 70 – 71). Upon hearing the rooster crow he remembered what Jesus had said and he went out and wept bitterly (v. 72). Because of the distance he put between himself and the Lord he went from willing to die to denying Jesus three times, just as Jesus had said.
How closely are you walking with Jesus? How far off have you followed? The Hebrew writer said, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22). To draw near to Jesus one must first be willing to come to him (Matthew 11:28 – 30). We must be willing to obey him (Hebrews 5:8 – 9). And we must be faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2).
Hear are a few suggestions that will transform your life and help you stay close to the Lord:
Study God’s word every day! Make time for him in your life, He’s made time for you. One day we will be judged by the word (John 12:48). We live by the light of the word, it guides and directs our steps. Study to show yourself approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15).
Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Attend worship and Bible Study regularly (Matthew 6:33; Hebrews 10:25). The fellowship, learning, and praise offered to God will help keep you on track, enthused, and close to Him.
Do good unto others (Matthew 25:31 – 46). Eternity hangs in the balance.
Forgive those who trespass against you (Matthew 6:14).
After Jesus had appeared to the disciples on several occasions following His resurrection He appeared to them once more on the sea shore. When Peter hears that it is Jesus calling to them he dives into the water and swims to meet his Lord on the shore. I know some folks who need to dive into the water, be cleansed, and come to Jesus. I know some Christians who desperately need to have the same repentant heart that Peter had. What about you?