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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Strength

It is difficult to navigate the Christian life without relational pain.  People whom you trust, people in whom you have invested much may turn on you for reasons that you do not understand.  They may behave in ways that breaks your heart.  How do we as believers walk through those tough times?  Perhaps the best way is to look at Christ.  All of this happened to Him.
When we are faced with a deep challenge it is not the time to start abiding in Christ, or walking in the Spirit.  We need to be in that posture before we are challenged.
Luke 22:54 – 61 relates the events surrounding Peter’s denial of Christ.  You know the story well.  Here is the man who declares Christ to be the Messiah at Caesarea Philippi, in the inner circle of the disciples, and the one who declares 30 verses earlier that he is willing to die for Christ denying that he even knows Him.  This would be like your closest ally abandoning you at the most critical time in your life.  How does Christ get through this?  He did this without sin, Hebrews 4:15, but when it happens to me, I am not so noble.  2 Peter 2:21 says that He left us an example to follow in His steps.  What is that example?

Thinking through this several passages came to mind.  1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that in any situation there is a way of escape.  That leads me to believe that in each situation I have a choice not to sin, but how?  Philippians 4:13 tells me I can do all things through Christ.  Similarly, John 15:5 tells us that apart from Him we can do nothing.  Lastly Galatians 5:16 tells us that if we walk by the Spirit we will not do the normal thing and follow our flesh.  That is the struggle that Paul shares in Romans 7.  So it seems that the way to follow Christ’s example when people He loved turned against Him is to abide in Him, deal with the situation in His strength, through the power of the Holy Spirit, while looking for the way not to sin.

That seems like a cliché formula.  It doesn’t seem to work.  There are vast differences between Christ and me – I know that is a shock.  One of the differences it that He was always plugged into His Father.  He only did what His Father was doing, John 5:19.  I am not that plugged in.  Stuff hits me when I am less than ready.  It seems that I want to be like Christ and respond the way He did, without doing what He said is necessary.