Great Motives, No Follow Through!

250px-Pope-peter_pprubens Good old Peter!  When I think of Peter I think of a phrase an old friend of mine used to say, “That guy has a size 30 chest and a size 3 head.”  Peter is a guy that jumps before he thinks.  He has “foot-in-mouth” disease.  He has great intentions but not a lot of follow through, at least not at first. 

Peter-  the guy that made Jesus play Life Guard.  (Matthew 14:22-34)

Peter- the man that goes from being called “Blessed” by Jesus to being called “enemy” by Jesus in just six verses.  (Matthew 16:13-23)

Peter- the only disciple with a foot fetish.  (John 13:4-9)

Peter- quick with a sword, slow with understanding.  (John 18:10-11)

Peter- big statement, no courage.  (Matthew 26:31-35)

My man Peter.  We all know a “Peter”.  A “Peter” is the the type of person that makes big statements, attempts great things and boldly takes a stand- right or wrong.  There is no middle ground for a “Peter”.  The main problem with most “Peters” is that while they have great zeal for God and dream big they tend to not follow through.  They are leaders, but others must see their ideas through to the end.  Not all “Peters” are this way and the original Peter matured in his later years to become one of the main leaders of the Jewish Church. 

Tradition says that he was eventually crucified upside down by the ruler Nero because he felt unworthy to be crucified like Jesus was, this is unproven and may not have happened. 417px-The_Tortoise_and_the_Hare_-_Project_Gutenberg_etext_19994

Peter saw life as a series of sprints.  Go full bore for a hundred meters and then stop, full bore, stop, full bore, stop.  He reminds me of the story of the Tortoise and the Hare.  Remember that story?  If not, you can read it HERE!    That’s Peter, the hare.  Run hard, rest.  Run hard, rest.  And then theirs the tortoise, “Slow and steady wins the race.” 

A lot of us are like Peter and the hare.  We start strong.  “I’m going to read my Bible an hour a day!”  “I want to start a new ministry to homeless people in my church.”  “I am going to pray every hour, every day.” 

We start off strong for a few days, maybe weeks, but then “stuff” gets in our way.  Life happens.  Suddenly we realize it’s been a long time since we read our Bible, worked on our ministry, prayed.  We are then consumed with guilt and boldly proclaim to God we will start again and off we go.  A few weeks later, back to the same spot.  We yo-yo.  Strong-weak-strong-weak! 

The problem is that our relationship with God was never meant to be a series of sprints.  It was meant to be a marathon. 

And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  Hebrews 12:1b  (NLT)

The word endurance in the Greek means “patiently, and steadfastly”. 

The same word is used earlier in Hebrews.

36 Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.  Hebrews 10:36  (NLT)

  We must pace ourselves.  As Christ-Followers we are not to focus on accomplishments but on our relationship with God.  That is our purpose.  That is the race Paul was talking about in Hebrews.  It’s the Journey that is important.  And just like every relationship, it takes patience, perseverance and time spent with each other to develop into an intimate relationship. 

A young lady asked me the other day how to get more time with God.  Here is her question;

We seem to like leaving God at church and living our lives w/o Him except on Sunday or when we attend church. I have been bad about doing this in the past and I am trying harder but not hard enough it seems. I even have a hard time just sitting down and reading the Bible. I am usually tempted to either fall asleep, zone out, or not really understand what I’m reading. Don’t get me wrong though, I love God with every part of my being but every time I pick up the Bible, there’s this voice telling me about how "boring" the Bible is to read. Any suggestions of overcoming that evil voice in my head so I can focus on God when I read my Bible?

Here was my response to her;

What a great question. I’ll be honest with you, it is hard for just about everyone. There is not a Christian in the world that has read their Bible every day. I myself will wake up from time to time and think, I haven’t spent time with God in three days. It comes down to a couple of reasons and tips. #1- We have an enemy and he does not like us to grow closer to God. #2- We have within ourselves an enemy called self.  Put an "ish" on the end-selfish. #3- Our generation has been taught to live for commercials. What I mean by that is that we can only handle about 15 minutes of thought before we want to go to commercial. We have no spiritual, or just about any, discipline anymore.

If we want something but can’t afford it we charge it. etc… This life of following Christ is about discipline. The discipline to sit and talk with God, read His word and spend time with Him.

Try a few of these tips, instead of spending an hour with God, break it up into 15 minute "Time Outs With God" throughout the day. As that get’s easier add a few minutes until you are up to what you feel is the right amount of time. Second, get a different version of the Bible. A lot of people love one kind of Bible more than others and some will say that all Bibles are wrong accept for the one they choose to read. I do not believe this way. I think different translations bring a spark to your time with God. I frequently move between the Holman Christian Standard Bible, The New International Version, The New Living Translation and The Message. The Message is one of my favorites, and while it is not as technically accurate a translation as say the New American Standard or The King James Version, it has a refreshing way of phrasing things that will make you read something you have read hundreds of times and all of a sudden it just jumps out at you. While I don’t recommend The Message as a main Bible, it is great as a comparison Bible.

See if either of those ideas help. Let me know what you find. The important thing to remember though is that this is not about a system of rules and regulations but it is about relationship, and just as your relationship with your husband will be very close one day and somewhat distant the next, so is our relationship with God. One day it’s amazing and the next you forget to pray.
Don’t give up, God NEVER stops loving us. No matter how many days we miss spending time with Him. He is always right there waiting for us to return.

Run the race with patient endurance.  Don’t get bogged down by a list of successes and failures, instead be caught up in the excitement of relationship, a relationship with an amazing God.

Did you like this post? Did you hate it? Please share it with your friends and leave a comment. I would love to read your thoughts and opinions.

Questions? Don’t forget to visit the Questions??Questions?? page and let me know. I will try to answer it the best I can. No Quantum Physics or Time Travel questions please!

I’m not Einstein! BigSmile2


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4 Responses

  1. Peter is my FAVORITE disciple!! He made mistakes (which is why I love him) but also did good. He was the first to acknowledge who Jesus was and was part of Jesus’ “inner circle” of best friends. He’s your dependable-friend kinda guy, nothing extreme. He wasn’t a big bad tax collector, but neither was he a religious person. He was average-Joe. Just a fisherman earning a decent living, sticking to his values. He may have been rash w/ the whole sword-drawing stunt he pulled in Gethsemane, but it tells you a lot about his character, that he was willing to die in defense of his Friend. That was very obviously a suicide move. He didn’t have faith to walk on water….but he tried when no one else would. He denied Christ, but followed Him to the trial when the other disciples had fled. He took risks, which is why we still talk so often about him when many other disciples are ignored. The others didn’t fail, but neither did they try. Ya, Peter’s pretty much awesome. 🙂

    As for time with God…I used to do the whole “spend time w/ God daily for x-amount of time” thing. I’m no longer a fan. I got sick of feeling guilty if I missed a day of devotions and then I realized that penciling God into my mental daily-planner was keeping me in a mindset of “dating” God and never moving any deeper in our relationship.

    I think your next post should be on Quantum Physics, just for the heck of it. (You can make it up, most people won’t even know.) 🙂

  2. I love Peter. You’re right Em. He was ‘da man when it came to the no guts/no glory stuff. There are aspects of Peter’s personality in all of us. I used to be a lot like Peter, the early years. Start strong but never finish. But just as Peter matured and leveled out so have I. I still get the occasional Peter mentality though. But I have learned to temper that with a Paul thought process. Paul was a little more cerebral. He planned and thought through stuff. Don’t get me wrong, that can be just as bad as jumping before you think too.

    Do I sense a strong bond between Peter and you??? =)

    To you comments on your time with God- Most excellent! I don’t put an emphasis on the timing of when I spent time with Him, but I do on the amount of time I spend with Him. I want it to be ever increasing. I don’t set an egg timer or anything, but I do try to keep an internal accounting of how often I have one-on-one time with Him.

  3. Eh, I’m not much of a “Paul-ite”. Don’t get me wrong–I appreciate what he did. I have to; wouldn’t be saved if he hadn’t taken the gospel around the world. But his letters always annoyed me. He’s always talking about himself and bragging about how he makes the best decisions in every situation and how he’s so humble (obviously he’s not–humble ppl don’t need to brag about their humility.) When he’s writing about marriage and whether or not its good, he outright says “But I wish you all could be like me” LOL The first time I read that, I laughed out loud! Of course, now that I’m older, I realized he just meant that he wished people didn’t have to marry, and could remain single (like him), but suffice it to say, his legalistic letters (you can tell he had a pharisee-background) didn’t translate into English very tactfully. Don’t get me wrong–the Bible is the inspired word of God, profitable for correction, reproof, doctrine, etc. etc. whatever the rest of the verse is. (tho, it was Paul who wrote that. Maybe he was protecting himself and his writings…) Also, I realize that he was arrested and in jail for ages, and lack of community and contact w/ people would probably make me somewhat introverted and selfish, as well. I just think it would have been easier on us all if the man chosen to write most of the New Testament could have emulated the humility and grace of Jesus a bit more.
    So there is my heretical sacrilege of the day…

  4. @ Em- Touché! BUT……………………………Paul Still Rocks!

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