“I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. Matthew 26:74
While in college, I spent a couple of summers as a counselor at a Christian camp. There, in that environment, I was genuinely interested in living the life of faith and discipleship. I noticed on the weekends though, when I returned to a non-camp environment, my interest in the spiritual waned dramatically. My inconsistency and reliance on my circumstances exposed the immaturity of my faith. This frustrated me, but I didn’t allow that to change much. The depth of my faith was painfully dependent on my surroundings and circumstances. I was two-faced.
Peter too, seemed to suffer from this condition. In today’s passage, his faith was revealed to depend heavily on circumstance. While with Christ, he boldly took up a sword, attacking those who tried to arrest him. Once Jesus was hauled off to be tried before the high priest and elders though, Peter’s confidence faded. As he began to consider the possibility that this was the end of Jesus’ ministry, Peter became concerned with his own fate. Just like when he walked on the water, Peter took his eyes off Christ and focused on the storm. In doing so, he again failed dramatically.
Christ had predicted this failure. This very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times (Matthew 26:34). Peter didn’t believe it, claiming he would die for Jesus. When the storm came though, he abandoned his commitment and denied even knowing Christ. I do not know the man!
Our faith too, is often painfully dependent on our circumstances. We are two-faced, pretending to be different things with different crowds. We follow God when it works for us, singing his praises in church on Sunday, but returning to the pursuit of our own interests the rest of the week. When we need God, we pray, but when things are good, he doesn’t hear from us.
Authentic faith though, isn’t two-faced, and it isn’t blown by the wind of circumstance. True faith keeps its eyes on Christ no matter what the storms of life bring. This isn’t easy because life is hard. Like Peter, we may vow that we won’t falter, but we say that in the calm. When the weather changes, do we change with it, or do we keep our eyes on the one who made the storm?