Train Not to Deny Him
In the New testament, Peter swore to Jesus, that he would never deny Him. Yet the Bible goes on to tell us how Peter denied being associated with Jesus three times before the rooster crowed, just as Jesus foretold.
But what if Peter had the advantage that we do now - one of hindsight? Or even another lesson that I often refer to in lessons on self-defense; learning from the mistakes of others?
See, Peter gave us the first example, of many to come, of mankind denying who Jesus said He was... or of people throughout history who somehow became ashamed of being associated with the name of Jesus, whether it be from guilt, or selfish ambition, or fear for personal safety, or whatever else.
Sure, Peter got the chance to walk and talk with Jesus when He was here on Earth, as a man. Definitely some advantages there; and he had the direct observation of many of Jesus's miracles, so he had plenty of reason to take Jesus at His word when it came to predicting the future. But some of that foretelling on Jesus's part was still a 'wait-and-see' for Peter and the other disciples.
We have seen what happened since.
Can't we use that - and learn from it?
Why do I pose this question, in a blog post, on Easter Sunday... and relate it to self-defense?
Let's take a look at what is happening in the world.
Just today, Easter Sunday, 2019 - churches in Sri Lanka are attacked with bombs, and death toll ranges 150-plus. People died for what they believed. Those same people, who already know they live amongst non-believers, and yes - Muslims - could easily decide not to attend those churches in these troubled times. But they went anyway, and many of them died.
This kind of activity is happening in various places around the world.
We now live in a time where people and entire organizations are shunned because they are challenged to deny the truth of the gospel. They are challenged on views of things relating to sexuality, and gender, and sexual preference, and marriage. Those who hold true to the spiritual TRUTH of these matters that are clearly stated in the Bible are shunned, and often told to deny the TRUTH or ELSE!
Students in schools are being discriminated against because they hold on to traditions, taught to them by their own families. Professionals from all career fields are challenged to put away their ideas of anything traditional if it goes against the social norms embraced by pop culture today, in the name of political correctness.
The obstacles are everywhere. If Peter were alive today to see this culture in which we live, he would probably say he'd be praying for that rooster to please hurry up and crow already, because of the overwhelming influences out there just shouting at us to deny His holy name.
So what do we do? What can we learn from Peter?
Part of preparing for a worst-case scenario is pre-planning. We must first acknowledge the possible things that can happen. We must first see what can go wrong. Can you visualize some of today's influences even effecting you, in just one moment, to deny what you believe? If so, good - that's part of it.
But then, you must form a planned response... and train yourself. Practice, practice, practice. It has taken me several lessons in my lifetime to learn this about spending time with God, but that is the essential ingredient here. You must spend time in God's word, surround yourself with like-minded individuals often, fellowship with them, learn to walk the walk and talk the talk. Have quiet times with the Lord. Pray. Love... love other people, and always be ready to give a reason why you do it. This spiritual training will enhance you, and who you are.
And perhaps, when the time comes, and you encounter that person who wants to doubt; who wants you to deny what you know because it makes them uncomfortable - or worst of all, wants to end your life because you disagree with them... you can hold true to your faith in Jesus, tell the doubters and naysayers what you believe, and refuse to deny Jesus Christ.
Just like an officer in a shooting, or a potential victim of an attack, you really don't know EXACTLY how you will act until the moment comes.
But wouldn't it be better to have some kind of plan, than no plan at all?
And if you train yourself, you might just be able to enact that plan.
Food for thought on this Easter Sunday; as usual, just my two cents.