Thursday, May 2, 2013

Not The First Time I Denied Jesus

Last fall, I remember sitting in my bedroom at the headboard of my cozy bed while my husband laid at the foot. Tears streaming down my face as I barely sputtered out the words, "I feel like Peter." Yes Peter, the disciple of Jesus, that Peter. Just hours before Peter denied Jesus three times as Jesus was being directed to the cross, he self assuredly announced to Jesus face that he would never deny Jesus. But Jesus knew better. Before it was even done, Jesus told his disciples "One of you will deny me three times" as he indicated Peter would be that one.

Denying Jesus is an easy thing to sort of accidentally do. In just minutes, I'm sure I can give dozens of  detailed moments in life where I said nothing of Him when there was an obvious open door to share Him, where I willingly sinned, not even remotely being "tricked" into it, where my faith laid low because that's what "they do" and they claim to be Christians. These are all forms of denial.  
But not this time, this time stood out among the others. This time, I wrote a blog post and I took it back. And I have been meaning to talk about it for months, but haven't been able to bring myself to it.
Mostly when I write, I either write from the deepest parts of me, yearning and searching for this LOVE of Jesus to overcome all failures and hurts and chaos in my life OR I write letters of hope of His love to you, my reader. Either way, I have never made any pretenses that I was not a follower of Jesus. I hope that this is obvious.

However, this time was different. This time I spoke up for righteousness. I spoke up in defense of not only the love of our God (which is easy to do because 'love' is accepted by most kinds of people), but instead I stood up for the holiness & the jealousy of our God that so many people want to pretend isn't a factor. I'm not a confrontational person, I hate rejection, but this is one time it was stirring inside me to say something bold. And I admit, I was scared.

Guess what happened? It won't shock you. It shouldn't have shocked me. But I lost readers. Several. Not hundreds.  Less than ten, even. But I watched throughout the day, my "followers" drop. 

And then I did it. I unpublished the post. I let them get to me. I let the people control my faith in God and who He is. People I don't even know.

I remember telling my dad about it and his response was "How many did you lose? Like 400?" 9 or 10. My cheeks flushed bright red.

And this is where the tears brimmed in my eyeballs. What had I done? I actually denied Jesus. Like really.
I wasn't faced with torture. I wasn't faced with a guillotine. I wasn't a marter. Just a blogger who had lost a few readers. And yet, I let people control me. I didn't even know who these people were. Yet they had power over me that day.

Since that day, I realize that now every time I convey God on this blog, my numbers drop one or two more. I don't let it get to me like I did that day. But I have realized how much people have an influence on me. As badly as I want to influence others, there are those painfully weak moments where they win. The people win.
My confidence in myself fails and I let my influence on others be shaken.

But then I am reminded of what Peter went on to accomplish, the example he set...even after He denied Jesus.

I have been hinting towards this throughout the past week or two. That I too often, let others have control over who I am. What I do and don't do. But I also said here, that it's after times like these, that I see there is room to adjust my sails and point myself in a new direction. I don't condemn myself, because I am confident in God's mercy,  but I judge myself and I look for opportunity to stretch...

To Be Continued...

Matthew 10:33 But whoever denies me before people, I too will deny before my father in Heaven.


Brooke @ Covered in Grace said...

Love that last pic!!
Julie.. I don't know that I have any awesome words to share right now. But I wanted to let you know that I read...and that I understand and know where you're coming from.
Praying for confidence and the stamina to be bold (for both of us.) Xo

Michelle Rodgers said...

Just so you know...your following of Jesus is what created this follower of your blog. I feel deeply in my heart that we all have our own walk and you have to walk out your own salvation. That may look different to each of us. I love reading others opinions of the Christian walk and what that looks like to them. DO NOT EVER DENY JESUS bc others may condemn. During the condemnation is when his love shows up! Keep writing what your HEART tells you to write no matter what :) xoxo, Michelle

Jenn said...

I may not be "religious" per se, but I wouldn't unfollow because l think its beautiful when you share what's on your heart. It takes a lot of courage to write a post like this. I think you're finding your opportunity to stretch :-)

Jana Faith said...

The fact you love Jesus makes me enjoy reading all that much more. I pray you find boldness and continue to shine bright.

Hanna said...

I can totally relate to this:) your a beautiful person Julie!

Cara Howard said...

Wow. I love this post SO MUCH, sister. SO proud of you. So thankful for your humility and willingness to admit this. I love it. PRAISE JESUS!

Room in the garden said...

I may not be "religious" per se, but I will not stop to follow, because I think it's beautiful when you share what is in your heart. It takes a lot of courage to write such a post. I think you find your chance to stretch :-)

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