Week 12: Denied

FRIDAY

On a day like today we are reminded of the cost of our sin. We remember Good Friday today and the only reason we call it good is because of what Christ accomplished on our behalf. On this day we remember that Christ did not deny us. Think about it. He had so many chances to back out. There were so many opportunities when He could have said, “No, the pain is not worth it. They will just have to figure out something themselves.” We have hope because He did not deny His love for us nor the plan to save us. How grateful are you today that Jesus did not deny you?

John proclaims in his first epistle, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (I John 4:9-10) God loved us and showed that by sending His Son. He did not deny us, even though he had every right to. Love made a way for us to be brought back to Him. Are you thankful that Christ did not deny you today? Remember how He demonstrated that love and consider how you can respond. See you Sunday when we celebrate the victory that Christ won on our behalf. Friday may indeed be here, but Sunday is not far away!

THURSDAY

Have you ever gone out in public somewhere and had someone come up to and tell you that you had forgotten something? Maybe you forget to zip up your zipper on your pants. For men, maybe the paper towel is still on your face from where you cut yourself shaving. For women, maybe you forgot to change shirts after a child spilled something on you. Whatever it might be, don’t we appreciate the person who in love comes up to us and lets us know there is something wrong that we are not realizing. The Holy Spirit plays a similar role. Sometimes we can become so focused on one thing that we may not even realize we are denying the Lord or doing something that displeases Him. It happens.

The Bible teaches us, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26) That is why it is important for us to be faithful in reading God’s Word and faithful in prayer. The Holy Spirit speaks to us in those times. There have been many times when I have been going through life and then God speaks to me through His Word and I realize that I am forgetting to do something I should have been doing. Maybe it is trusting God, maybe it is walking in love towards my neighbor. Whatever it may be the Holy Spirit comes along and says, “Hey, you might not realize but you forgot about this. You may not have realized it but you are denying the Lord in this way.” In that moment I have the opportunity to respond to what the Holy Spirit is saying. How many embarrassing or regretful situations could we avoid if we would listen to what the Helper is telling us?

WEDNESDAY

I often will talk about the pink elephant and the white rhino. If I tell you, “do not think about a pink elephant.” “Don’t picture its long pink trunk. Don’t consider how pink the elephant is compared to those flowers you saw the other day. Don’t even think about how funny that pink elephant would look in the zoo.” Were you able to not think about a pink elephant? My guess is probably not. But, if instead I told you to picture a white rhino, all of its characteristics, and what you imagine it to look like, are you still thinking about the pink elephant? Sometimes we are so focused on what we should not be doing that that is all we think about. I should not keep doing this sin or I should not keep denying God. Inevitably, the more we continue to think about it the more we end up doing it. What if instead of focusing on what we should not do we began to focus on what we should be doing.

Ephesians says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16) Indeed we can make the best use of our time by focusing more on the things that God is calling us to do and less on the things he is not calling us to do. There is wisdom in identifying the sin in our lives and making a decision to not do those things. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Experience has shown me that the more I think about doing the things I do not want to do. The more the desire to do it grows and the harder it becomes to resist that temptation. If we make a conscious decision to think and focus on something else that temptation does not continue to grow. When you feel tempted to do what you do not want to do instead of fixing your eyes on that, fix your eyes on Jesus as Hebrews 12:2 teaches us to do. Lay aside the things that hinder and focus on doing what God is asking you to do.

TUESDAY

What things are causing you to deny Christ today? Is there anything that continually causes you to stumble? The author to the Hebrews writes, “let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us”. (Hebrews 12:1b) What obstacles need to be removed in your life and set aside today? Rest assured that if you keep holding on to them they will keep causing you to stumble and disobey or deny God. Ask yourself; is that thing worth all of the pain that it causes?

Looking back many of us could have spared ourselves a great deal of pain, frustration, and difficulties had we made the decision to do what we were supposed to do and leave behind the things that cause us to stumble. We cannot change what has been. We can only lay those things at the foot of the cross and ask for forgiveness. But we can do something about the present. We will need God’s help to leave those things behind. Yet we need to make a choice whether we want to accept the help He offers and walk in obedience to what His Word teaches. We will not regret one moment of obedience to His Will but we can have a lifetime of regrets if we choose disobedience and denial.

MONDAY

Have you ever thought about what leads us to the position where  we deny Jesus and His Word? Most of us would never have imagined that we would end up getting caught up in some of the things we have done. “I will never get that bad” “I will never let this area of my life get too out of control” Then it does and you do something that you never thought you would do. How did you get to that point? I am reminded by the lyrics of a song by Casting Crowns called slow fade. “It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away. It’s a slow fade when black and white turn to gray.” In our passage this week Peter could relate very well to those words. He thought he would never deny His Lord and then all of the sudden he did.

But there is hope for those who have denied Jesus in one way or another. We see it in the life of Peter. His life was not defined by this moment of denial. That was covered by Jesus sacrifice. His life would be defined by following Christ and his sins would be forgiven. The important part for us to remember though is that Peter did not continue in His denial. He stopped living in that sin and at the end of his life he did not deny who Jesus was. The only person he denied was himself, saying I am not worthy to die in the same way as my Lord. Turn my cross upside down. It might have been a slow fade to where you are now. But you do not have to stay there. Choose today to leave your sin at the cross and continue to follow Christ and be the person that God is calling you to be. Hear the words of Peter in the Book of Acts, “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…” (Acts 3:19-20a)