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The Holy Spirit’s Transformative Work in Peter

We are continuing our meditations on the side story in the Gospels about what God was doing in the life of Peter at Christ's arrest. As Peter followed at a distance, getting closer and closer to the high priest’s palace, what kind of thoughts occupied his mind, do you think? It is possible his thoughts were on his words to Jesus that he would not fall away and was ready to go to prison and death.

31"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." 33But he replied, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death." 34Jesus answered, "I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me" (Luke 22:31-34 Emphasis mine).

Simon Peter was not yet ready for the responsibility that God wanted to put upon his shoulders. He was too overconfident in himself. So, the question before us today is how does God bring change to our lives when we fall short of what the Lord is making us be? Our passage in Luke about Peter will help us to see how God works.

The Holy Spirit’s Transformative Work

When we are confident that we have it all together, we are vulnerable to attack by our enemy, Satan. Paul wrote about this when he said, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12). The Lord called Peter to be a leader and a model to those around him, so God dealt with his overconfidence by putting him through a trial, i.e., a test that would strengthen him when he was restored to dependence on Christ. After walking with Christ for more than forty years now, I have found that God is at work in our lives (Philippians 2:13) to transform us and make us more like Himself. Paul the apostle talked about this process as something that starts slowly and increases with time as we are obedient to the Spirit of God. As this happens, we reflect His glory, and our lives have a transforming effect on those around us as well.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).

The Greek word metamorphoō is translated into English using the word "transformed." It means "a change of place, condition, or form. To transform, transmute, to alter fundamentally. Used of spiritual transformation, it is an invisible process in Christians. This change takes place during our lives in this age."[1] Peter was still experiencing ongoing training in this situation just before the crucifixion. Henry Ward Beecher put it this way: "Happiness is not the end of life; character is." Once we become Christians, God is at work in our lives to make us into people of character, and our character is measured by our responses to life's trials and difficulties. God is determined that Peter will be fruitful, not in his abilities, but entirely reliant on His Lord. It is the same for all who follow Christ.

D.L. Moody once said, “Character is what a man is in the dark.” What kind of things is God using in your life to test and reveal and refine your character? May you be refined into everything God is making you be. Keith Thomas

Taken from study 61 in Luke: Peter, the Broken Disciple

[1] Key Word Study Bible, AMG Publishers, 3565 Metamorphoō, page 1651.


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