Inspiration, Not Imitation

Imagine this.  You promise your best friend that you would never betray him.  Never lie to him.  You make these promises with all good intentions because you love your best friend with all your heart.  But then you do the exact thing you promised you never would.

Peter and Jesus were great friends.  He was another well-known name, just like the ones from Not Perfect, Still Worth It

 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.”  Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.”  Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

Matthew 26: 33-35

Peter. The great disciple, follower of Jesus, and close, personal friend of the Savior.

He denied his BFF three times after pledging to Jesus that he would never betray him. Peter lied and betrayed Jesus. If you’re familiar with Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion of the Christ, you can see a visual representation of that moment. Whether it happened or not, you can see the raw emotion on the actors portraying Jesus and Peter right after Peter denied him. When the rooster crows, Jesus looks at Peter and he realizes what he just did to his Lord and Savior. So heartbreaking…

 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.”  But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.”  And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”  And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.”  Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed.  And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

Matthew 26: 69-75

Even though Peter betrayed Jesus and lied, something good still came out of it.  Peter learned a lesson and became a preacher.  He went on to tell others about Jesus after Jesus died on the cross, rose again in three days before ascending into heaven.

Now there was another pretty popular name in the New Testament, who never claimed to be perfect and did not start off as friends with Jesus.

The Apostle Paul definitely wrote seven books in the New Testament of the Bible, and arguably six more. I believe he wrote all thirteen books, but scholars debate over this fact (not the point of this blog post but just a fun fact). He preached to Gentiles (any person who was not a Jew) and traveled a great deal to spread the news about Jesus and the gospel.

But Paul was not always a believer.  He did not believe that Jesus died on the cross to save everyone and that this was the new covenant God made with His people. Paul was a Jew which made him biologically part of God’s chosen group of people in the Old Testament. He knew the Jewish law like the back of his hand and refused to believe until God intervened on the road to Damascus. Before the intervention, Paul was so zealous for the law that he even went as far as to kill Christians.  Before he became a preacher for God, Paul was formerly known as Saul.  Check out Acts 9:1-22 to read Paul’s life changing testimony.

So, another murderer who became a changed man with his heart on fire for the Lord.  See the pattern yet?  God can turn a murderer of Christians into someone who spread the gospel over many miles.  Can you imagine what He could do with you?  You just have to be willing to listen and go where you are called.

I once sought advice from a woman that was in charge of a successful ministry.  I wanted advice on what to do with my blog or how to get started somewhere.  I told her I wanted to get involved more but just wasn’t sure where to go next.  Her response was discouraging.  She told me to stop reading devotions by other women and that I shouldn’t even be participating in ministry work if God wasn’t calling me.  She implied that I should give up.  What I thought was a display of God calling me by going to her, was more of a slap in the face.

I left the meeting in tears and cried for a good part of the day after that.  I even stopped writing for a couple of months.  I felt useless and unworthy.  My website allows me to see how many views I get on each post and I hardly ever see high numbers.  I convinced myself that I should give up, that no one was listening to me writing about God’s word.  I prayed and prayed to ask God what I should do and where I should go next.

Elections for officers in my Christian service sorority were coming up.  I was unsure of whether to run or not, and my heart felt heavy.  Part of me was worried about overcommitting myself and another part was being pushed to step up and do something.  I prayed to ask God on what I should run for, if that’s even what He wanted me to do.

I had been reading devotions written for specifically for women at the time and one day an idea struck me.  Chaplain.  Why shouldn’t I run for Chaplain?  My summer job had given me opportunities to lead groups in bible study so I had a little bit of experience.  However, the shy, anxious side of me started feeding doubts in my mind.

When I approached the President of our sorority about upcoming elections, I chickened out in telling her what I was thinking about running for.  I just told her that I was thinking about running for something but wasn’t sure yet.  Her response shocked me and gave me goosebumps. She said, “Well, me and some of the other officers were thinking you would me great for this one position.”  I was curious and I asked her what it was.

Do you know what she said?  Chaplain.  All my doubts were silenced in that moment and I felt that God answered my prayer.

I knew I wasn’t perfect, but I felt called to run for Chaplain.  I ran unopposed and I have loved being Chaplain for my sorority.  I felt like I have learned so much more about the Bible by preparing a devotion each week during the school year.  I’ll be sad when I no longer can do it.

I picked up writing again after I was elected.   Some of my sisters said they really enjoyed reading my posts, and people in my church had said the same thing.  It was encouragement to keep going, even though the numbers were low.  It was God using people I see frequently to keep me on the path He has laid out for me.  The woman that discouraged me from my writing was no longer stopping me.

I’m just a young girl who loves the Lord and who loves to write.  I’m not well known or even that great of a writer, but God can do amazing things through me.  I’m nothing without Him, but with Him I am strong and loved.  Just like Peter and Paul.

Paul was a better writer than he was a public speaker, and Peter wasn’t always the most spotless role model.

Leaders like Paul and Peter were inspirational, not perfect.  We know their stories not because they were sinners, but because they were servants of God who showed others their love for our Heavenly Father.  They encourage us to do the same.

 

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