The dictionary defines the word stunt as: to hinder the growth of. A lot of people are stunted in their spiritual growth. Why? Because we hold back… there are areas of our lives that we fail to fully surrender to God.
Pastor Paul Shepherd has a plaque that reads, “My ship came in…but I was in the Airport.” In commenting on this thought provoking little plaque, Paul Shepherd said, “A lot of people are trying to find God’s blessing on their lives in the wrong location…God’s blessing can only be found on the dock of obedience.”
A lot of people, and I’m talking Christians, fail to sense God’s presence or secure God’s power in their lives. Again…why? Because we hold back…we hold onto stuff in our hearts that we won’t surrender to God, because we are scared. It’s scary to give up control. It is hard to start doing things Gods way, when we are so used to doing things our way or our culture’s way. It’s hard to trust. It’s even hard to trust God at times, especially when we have been hurt by people that we have put our trust in. So we find ourselves in a quandary. We want to live a, fully surrendered life, Holy Spirit led life, but we don’t want to trust God with some of the hurt, some of the hard stuff that we have learned to bury and hide away for so long.
It is like we are saying…God…I will only trust you this far…and it is like God is answering…well, then, I can only empower you this much…
We have a person in scripture much like us, a person who had chosen to follow Jesus. Yet, prior to the resurrection of Jesus, he had not fully surrendered his heart to God. He had insecurities that he attempted to compensate for, in his own strength. He still had trust issues and he was afraid to fully relinquish control. His name was Peter. But, Peter wasn’t the only one. Jesus revealed earlier in Mark Chapter 14, that although His small group of disciples had decided to follow Him, none of them had completely surrendered to Him.
14:27 - Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away…”
And after Jesus was arrested, indeed, they all did, including Peter…even after vigorously protesting, just a few verses later in verse 31.
14:31 - “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.”
But as Peter attempted to be a godly man under his own power and failed, we see the result.
14:53-54 (After Jesus was arrested) - They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, elders and teachers of the law came together (to falsely accuse him). Peter followed at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire…
Two life application points we can apply to our lives:
1. Peter followed Jesus at a distance-
If we do not surrender our whole hearts to Jesus, our faith will falter and we will begin following Jesus at a distance. We will be saved, but we will feel ashamed. Plus, we will not secure the power we need to accomplish God’s purpose and realize the potential of the call in our lives.
2. Peter began warming himself at the fire of those who do not follow Jesus-
He felt so ashamed that he began trying to blend in with the non-believers. Once we begin following Jesus at a distance, we will fail to see his unconditional acceptance and began seeking the acceptance of those who would so easily forsake us.