Since the new shop at Kapitolyo opened after I entered my empty nest season, it has been like being a new mom all over again (my shop being the new baby) with the accoutrements a bundle of joy brings… the robe of excitement and laughter…along with that, sleep deprivation and multi-faceted challenges.
Therefore when I caught the flu last month, it was a time to guiltlessly enjoy rest and sleep and be the baby instead. It was my sweet appointment to reset, reflect, recalibrate, and recall my life purpose beyond the urgency and importance of the overwhelming excitement and ever-morphing daily tasks-at-hand to be accomplished.
My favorite devotion during my rest was from
Luke 22:31-33 (NIV)
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
In The Message Translation:
Luke 22:31-33 (MSG)
31-32 “Simon, stay on your toes. Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat. Simon, I’ve prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start.”
Jesus told Peter that Satan was going to do his thing (schemes and attacks) to make Jesus’s followers fall away but Jesus Himself prayed for Peter. Jesus knew that Peter would turn away temporarily but He also knew that Peter would come back. Jesus said, “WHEN”(not “if”), Peter turned back in faith, Peter’s purpose was to strengthen his brothers (fellow disciples or students or followers of Christ).
Jesus named Simon “Peter” (speaking of the new steadfast character Peter would have) back in Luke Chapter 6 but here in Chapter 22, this is one of the occasions when Jesus reverts to Peter’s old name, “Simon.” This always encourages me because it shows how Jesus knows we continue to struggle with our old nature even after coming to know Him and deciding to follow Him but Jesus Himself is there to continually intercede for us and mature us to the finish.
Peter was not helped by Jesus in order that Peter can lounge in glory or in self-serving activities or Peter, the human being, to become the new focus for all time of God’s divine plan. God pulled Peter through, strengthened him, made him see His power, faithfulness, and grace for the purpose of strengthening God’s people (“Feed my lambs, Take care of my sheep, Feed my sheep” in John 21) to see them to the finish, caring for their faith still in alignment with the unchanging single purpose of the Word from the Old Testament revealed in the New Testament fulfilled to point to Christ.
Simon indeed grew to live up to his new name, Peter, and unlike the time when he denied Jesus thrice, in the end, Peter was willing to be crucified rather than renounce Christ.
Even in the manner of his own death, Peter saw himself unworthy to be likened to Christ. Peter understood the point. The point was Christ.
…A perfect devotion for Christmas. Am I pointing people to Christ? Am I taking any glory that rightfully belongs only to Christ? Am I glorifying anything other than Christ? Am I dishonoring Christ by giving something or someone else the spot of supremacy that belongs to Christ? If Christ is continually interceding for us, am I displacing Him by not coming to Him and bumping Him off with someone else? Am I encouraging other people’s faith? Am I strengthening my fellow believers? When I have an opportunity to encourage or strengthen someone, do I point them to me or to Christ?
Christmas is all about Christ.
Dear Jesus, You are the One who died the horrific death to pay for the wages of my sin. Help me to honor You with my life and point people to You. In all the hullaballoo that goes on daily, with all the noises and voices, please give me Your Spirit of Wisdom and Discernment that I may not miss God’s whole point pointing to Christ.