Double-Minded, Part I
As I’m reading Matthew’s account of Jesus’ last hours, I see Peter and imagine what it was like to be him. He’d been bold . . . stepping out of the boat when nobody else did, climbing the Mount of Transfiguration and seeing ancient Biblical characters appear in a mysterious vision. He healed people, saw the dead raised, walked side-by-side with the Messiah for three and a half years. From all that experience and with total confidence, Peter swears to Jesus, “I’ll be there with you, even if it means dying.”
Then, reality bites and a switch gets flipped. Jesus is carried off and put before the authorities . . . flanked by soldiers brandishing weapons of torture and death. All the disciples except Peter scatter like rats to the dark. Peter sticks around. He wants to stand up but he’s torn. Double-minded. ‘All in’ for Jesus one moment, but faithless the next. Why? What would you and I have done?
I believe we’re all double-minded. There’s two "processors" constantly running in the mind and heart of the Jesus-follower. The flesh and the Spirit. I believe God "wired" us this way. The flesh is looking out for physical needs . . . it’s got the heart beating, the "fight or flight" mechanism going on, it points to food when we’re hungry, sex when were needy and warm when we’re cold. It’s where ego resides. It’s where we process what people think . . . where we’re constantly asking ourselves, “Do I have what it takes?” “Am I lovable?” It’s where self-doubt hangs out. And jealousy, fear and envy. It’s where we hear, “God isn’t real. You’re crazy. You’re gonna die and look like a fool!” When evil thoughts come from the enemy, this is where they land. When you say something in anger and then think in amazement, “I can’t believe those words came out of my mouth,” it was from this "flesh processor."
The other "Processor" running in there is the Holy Spirit . . . Jesus living in you and me. He’s a "still small voice" that guides, corrects, comforts and affirms. God rarely over-speaks our flesh’s voice because that would take away our free will and make us puppets. We get to choose to respond in the Spirit or respond "in the flesh." We can "flip the switch" either way. Our flesh will speak lightning-fast . . . from our brains to our tongues . . . sometimes routed through the pits of hell. Or, we can pause and respond from the truth and wisdom and love of Jesus in our hearts via this high-speed connection between our "Holy Spirit processor" and the heart of God.
When the pressure comes, which way will you "flip your switch?" Will you decide to be Holy Spirit-led regardless of the consequences?
Prayer – Father, none of us knows what we’d do confronted with Roman soldiers and almost-certain death. It was so easy for Peter to "flip his switch" and chicken out. It’s so easy for us to do the same thing today . . . in "life and death" situations for sure, but also in everyday conversations at work, at home and in our neighborhoods. We back down from opportunities to reference our Savior Jesus and His beautiful name. Help us, Lord. Give us steeled courage to stand tall in our faith today, even if it’s just in a small way. Amen.
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