Over the last two posts, we’ve outlined two tactics to battle worry. They are
The last piece is the most critical. Let’s take a look at one of Jesus’ most passionate disciples to consider what it means to Know Him.
If I were to take any of the disciples into battle with me, it’d be Peter. Don’t get me wrong; the other disciples had a lot going for them…Luke was pretty smart, John sounds like a precious lovey dovey, James got to grow up with Jesus. But Peter…Peter was a burly kind of man. There’s a reason he’s called a zealot. He seems to be fearless. And if I’m battling against something, like worry, he would be the kind of guy I’d want around.
Or so it seems.
Peter had the privilege to be at the center of some key interactions with Jesus. Yet a handful of Peter’s reactions were centered in fear…and some were centered in worry…
He was with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. And Peter forgot who he was with. So out of fear that they were taking his Lord, he cut off a man’s ear. How sheepish Peter must have felt when Jesus turned to him and reminded him that he does not need defending. We see here a fearful Peter. But where’s the worrisome Peter?
We find him earlier in Jesus’ ministry when the fisherman were sailing while Jesus was praying. Jesus needed to get to his disciples but they were on the other side of the water. So Jesus being Jesus walked out on the water to meet them. Fear gripped the men as they mistook Jesus for a ghost. And Jesus being Jesus comforted his disciples and welcomed Peter onto the water.
Peter began boldly walking toward Jesus, but he began to worry as he saw the wind and waves of the sea. He took his eyes off of Jesus. He didn’t want to sink into the abyss and drown. Yet when he worried, he began to sink right into his worries. This tough guy worried! He worried with Jesus right there. Why?
Did he really know who Jesus was? If he knew who Jesus was, would he have worried?
After his zealous reaction in the Garden of Gethsemane we meet up with Peter in the courtyard in Matthew 26:69 – 74. Again, we see Peter worrying. He’s pegged as being a close compadre of Jesus. He denies it, and begins to worry. He’s worried that he’ll be arrested, humiliated, beaten, maybe even die. You can hear the fear and worry mounting in his voice as he escalates his responses of denial. Finally, he’s cursing and shouting,
I don’t know the man!
Could he be anymore ironic? I don’t know the man? This is a man he’s walked closely with for 3 years. Someone who has defied nature, and even death. Yet Peter doesn’t fully know Jesus. How can you trust a man you don’t know?
At the climax of Jesus’ ministry, Peter denies him. Why? Because he’s worried that he’ll be held accountable too. But if Peter really knew who Jesus was, he may have had a different response. If he knew the power Jesus wielded, his purpose on earth, his supremacy as God, he surely would he have owned that he was with Jesus.
When does Peter completely know Jesus? It’s after Jesus has risen, and appears to Peter. It’s fully revealed to him. Jesus appears to the disciples and in Luke 24:44 – 45, Jesus says
…everything must be fulfilled about me that was written in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
Peter’s eyes were fully opened to Jesus’ identity. There was no question who Jesus was. We see a different Peter after Jesus sends the helper Holy Spirit. He is a warrior for Christ. He doesn’t worry anymore about what men in a courtyard can do to him. He doesn’t worry about the government or leaders of his time arresting him. He keeps his eyes on Jesus. I would imagine this doesn’t mean Peter never worried again. But it shows us the power of knowing Him, knowing God.
I believe that when we know Him, God, we employ the greatest weapon against our worry. I’m talking about knowing God as He’s revealed in the whole of Scripture. God who walks with Adam and Eve. God who talks with Abraham and Moses. God who inspired the Psalms. God who spoke through the prophets. God who dwelt among men. God who died and rose. God who grew His church on earth. God who is coming again. God.
Do you know Him?
Know Him beyond vague generalizations. Beyond catchy phrases and thoughts. Beyond what someone has told you. Beyond 5 minute glimpses of His glory. Beyond a popular Christian pop song. Beyond simply speed dating Him.
It is powerful to know Him.
Why? Because then you know what He has done for you -and for countless others in Scripture – and what He continues to do in our lives through
- His promises
- His history of pursuing people
- His forgiveness
- His redemption
And you can begin to apply knowing Him in the moments of worry. For example,
- Recall his faithfulness to Joseph and others
- Recite His promise of presence
- Receive forgiveness when you’ve fallen into worry again – or when you’ve sinned in your worry
- Remember your eternal home, won for you through His redemptive acts
- And there are so many more ways that we will continue to explore at Cast Your Worries
I believe the more we get to know Him, the more we will trust him. As trust grows, worry shrinks. Isn’t that what we all want?
To read more on this topic, check out Just Trust God.