“My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, LORD, I will seek.” Psalm 27:8 (NIV)
As you look at your journey with Jesus, is there a closeness you crave that you don’t often feel? Are you sometimes bothered by the inconsistent intimacy you see there?
In my day-to-day walk with Jesus, I wonder why sometimes there seems to be a block in my relationship with Him or times when we don’t seem as close. If I slow down and ponder why that might be, I see that seasons of busyness, grieving, choices not to obey His nudges, or even numbness in my heart have all impacted my relationship with Him at times.
While it is normal to have a relationship that is dynamic and looks different from day to day, I don’t want to pull away from Jesus with each new obstacle in my life or have a faith that disintegrates when I need it most.
So I’ve been seeking the Lord through His Word, and I’ve found hope — in the life of the not-so-perfect disciple Peter.
Hope in the Life of Peter
In Matthew 16, Jesus asked His disciples a question: “‘Who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God’” (Matthew 16:15b-16, NIV). Jesus confirmed to Peter that he was right; this revelation was straight from God Himself (Matthew 16:17)! This interaction must have made Peter feel closer than ever to Jesus.
But later, Jesus was preparing His disciples for His death and resurrection, revealing that He would suffer, die, and be raised again on the third day. This time, Peter completely missed the truth. “Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’” (Matthew 16:22, NIV).
In fact, Peter was actually the one who needed rebuking. Jesus said to him, “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Matthew 16:23b, NIV).
I can only imagine how Peter felt after his big mistake.
Even though Jesus was physically present with him, Peter still experienced an up-and-down relationship with his Savior. Though Jesus was constant, Peter was not.
Peter’s perception of Jesus ebbed and flowed — sometimes he had an accurate picture of the Savior and other times he lacked discernment — yet Jesus’ pursuit of Peter never waned.
His Pursuit of Us
This is who Jesus is …
- Jesus is the Good Shepherd who comes after us when we’ve strayed.
- God is the running Father, who comes running toward us on the road.
- The Trinity is like the woman with the lost coin, looking for us until we are found.
Because of His great love for Peter, Jesus kept coming after him.
Because of Jesus’ constancy, their relationship continued to deepen despite the hard and trying times, even surviving Peter’s betrayal of Jesus when He went to the cross (Luke 22:54-62).
As Peter continued walking with Jesus day by day, eventually his faith matured. In the letters he wrote to the early Church (1 and 2 Peter), we see a mature disciple — a man who no longer strayed so often from his Savior.
Being with Us Each & Every Day
Jesus desires intimacy with each of us each day. We can return this pursuit of that intimacy by doing as Psalm 27:8 says: “‘Seek his face!’ Your face, LORD, I will seek.” As God is consistent in His pursuit of us, our return of that pursuit, developing constancy in our lives, brings us to spiritual maturity.
When I am not experiencing the closeness of Jesus that I desire, it sometimes helps to ask myself a few questions:
- Am I treating Bible reading and prayer like boxes I am simply checking each day?
- Am I intentionally listening for God’s voice and responding back to Him?
Asking questions like these can help us as we look for the abundant life Jesus promises and wants for us. In pursuing God as He pursues us, we can live out the words of James 4:8a: “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (ESV).
A Prayer for Today
Jesus, You are inviting me into a depth of relationship with You that my heart is truly craving. Empower me, Holy Spirit, to set other things aside so I can experience closeness with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Resources for Our Journey
Many of Peter’s responses came out of the strong emotions he felt. My devotional for kids, Managing Your Emojis, teaches kids that God loves them no matter their feelings and that Scripture can empower them to manage their emotions.
Right now, Church Source has Managing Your Emojis on sale for Order a copy for a child in your life here!
In fact, ALL of my books are 50 – 60% off at Church Source! That includes my Bible studies for women (perfect for your fall study!) Esther: Seeing Our Invisible God in an Uncertain World and Fearless Women of the Bible.
FOR DEEPER STUDYING TODAY:
Matthew 18:12, “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?” (NIV).
1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (NIV).
God made us with deep emotions. How do you see your emotions coming into play in your relationship with Him? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
© 2023 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.