November 2, 2012

Do You Deny Jesus?


Reader Beware: Today's post may contain questions that are not appropriate for the weak or immature. Please do not read any further if you are not prepared to be challenged, even questioned, about your loyalty to Jesus. If you are one that doesn’t think you can deny Jesus, then be warned. Don’t complain later to me that you were tricked into reading this post. I won’t hear of it!

Peter’s Big Mistake

The basis for today’s post comes from the passage in Matthew 26 when Peter is found to deny Jesus three times. We are likely all familiar with this passage (if not, read Matthew 26:31-75). In fact, it is just as likely we have all judged Peter as being weak in this passage.

I know we usually look to the future after Peter is restored. We see his boldness and we “forgive” him for this cowardly act. We still feel that for him to deny Jesus was almost criminal, but we see how God uses him later and we accept him. If you have never had these thoughts, then congratulations. More likely, you have never admitted having these thoughts!

What About Us?

So if this is true – if we call it cowardice to deny Jesus – what does that say about us?

What does it say when we go from Monday to Saturday every week without actively acknowledging our allegiance to Jesus?

What does it say when we look exactly like everyone else as we go through our normal work day, when there is no recognizable difference between us and the guy next to us at the soccer field or in the school or at the office?

What does it say when so few of our daily decisions clearly reflect our allegiance to Jesus?

Active vs. Passive?

Do you see a difference between a decision (like Peter’s) to “actively” deny Jesus and our daily decision to “passively” deny Jesus?

I have to say that I do not see a difference. I do not see Peter’s public decision to verbally deny Jesus when asked about his association with Him to be any different than our decision to go quietly about our daily work or other duties without a clear acknowledgement that He is our Lord.

In case there is confusion as to what I am saying, let me try to clarify.

Actively Deny Jesus

A decision to “actively” deny Jesus is usually pretty easy to recognize. In the most extreme cases, we picture one of the students at Columbine High School in 2000 being asked if she is a Christian. As the story goes, she answered that she was a Christian and it cost her her life. For her to answer otherwise would have been to deny Jesus.

In a less extreme example, maybe we are asked a simple question about why we choose not to drink alcohol or participate in other activities that others see as the norm. “Are you a Christian? Is that why you don’t drink? Are you a goody-two-shoes?”

Maybe it does not get asked exactly like that, but you get the drift. The idea is that we are put in a position where it is uncomfortable to acknowledge Jesus as our reason for our behavior. If we answer “No” to their question, then that is a decision to deny Jesus.

Passively Deny Jesus

For most of us, this type of opportunity to “actively” deny Jesus is not our problem. In most cases, we have a problem with the “passive” denial of Jesus.

Most of us would argue that this decision to “passively” deny Jesus is not as clear to most people, but I believe that is really just an excuse.

See, I believe it is our culture that has conditioned us to believe that an overt, bold statement about our allegiance to Jesus, whether through our work or through our family decisions, is taboo. It is not politically correct to be an active Christian in our society today.

Obviously, this is more true in some areas of the world and less so in others. But even right here in the “Bible belt” of the southeastern United States, this kind of behavior is not popular. Just as obvious is the fact that there are many reasons for this to be the case.

But my point is not about the reasons why it is like this.

Conformity = Deny Jesus?

My main point is to question whether we realize that when we accept society to be like this and we simply go with the flow, we are making the decision to deny Jesus. I don’t care whether this is an active or passive denial, in my mind it is a denial all the same! What do you think?

I want to talk more in my next post or two about HOW we deny Jesus, WHY we do it, and how we can turn from that behavior.

Your Homework!

In the meantime, I encourage you to mentally replay your last week. Think about all of your activities, decisions, and thoughts. Pray that God will first clear you heart and mind of all distractions. Then pray He would search your heart and show you where you are denying the very Son that bought your salvation with His life.

As I said at the beginning of the post, this is not for the faint of heart. This is tough discipleship and no one will know if you bypass this post and keep going on the path you were on before. At least no one else will know – outside of you and God.

Unfortunately, that is exactly what we are talking about here.

Do you think I am off my rocker or do you agree? If you agree, are you guilty of the decision to deny Jesus? Why are we so slow to call it a denial?

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