There are so many stories in the Bible about Peter, the disciple, friend and apostle of Jesus Christ that paint a portrait of who he was as a man. Peter was strong-willed. (Mark 16:18) Peter was fiercely loyal. (Matthew 26:35) Peter was passionate. (John 18:10) Peter struggled with his humanity. (Luke 22:61-62) Peter was willing to take risks in his faith. (Matthew 14:28-29) Peter even got tired when he was trying to pray! (Mark 14:37-38) Peter was a real man, with a background and a family and a story and struggles and triumphs like any one of us, but there is something very important that he would also want you to know about him: Peter was a worshipper.
When Jesus said, “…on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it,” (Matthew 16:13-19) He was making an incredibly deliberate and profound statement not about Peter as a person, but about what the body of Christ would look like because of Peter. This means that Peter’s example would set the precedents for the operations, the authorities, the spiritual composition and the movements of the church that Jesus knew would form following His death and resurrection. Wow! And while that’s all very well and good, if you know how God works at all, you know this: God would not have chosen Peter for such a monumental honor if Peter had not already had the foundational experiences upon which such mighty things could be built. Translation: Jesus saw it a long way off, but Peter still had yet to walk through it – the beatings, the imprisonments, the rejection, the pressing on, the trials and pain, the loneliness living apart from his family, the pressures of ministry – and his victories marked out the path to victory for every disciple of Jesus Christ in the Kingdom for the rest of history going forward: WORSHIP. How can we know this?
Only a worshipper who has walked through the worst of the worst and has used worship as a weapon, closing into the presence of God, to minister to Him and saw that testimony of victory through to the other side has the spiritual chops to encourage those in exile to worship.
Peter wrote about the power of worship. Worship was part of every, single experience he’d had in his journey of faith. There is no way any man could walk through Peter’s experiences as an apostle of Christ without a lifestyle of worship. “To those who are elect exiles…” Peter wrote. “…greatly rejoice, even though now, if for a little while, you have had to suffer various trials, in order that the genuineness of your faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tried by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6-7) Only a worshipper writes a note like that! Only a worshipper who has walked through the worst of the worst and has used worship as a weapon, closing into the presence of God, to minister to Him and saw that testimony of victory through to the other side has the spiritual chops to encourage those in exile to WORSHIP. There’s is no way you could advise someone to worship – of all things! – in the worst, darkest, most painful seasons of their lives unless you had done the same yourself and had seen God do miracles as a result.
Thought for today
Why? Because you love Jesus, Peter wrote. That’s it! Not because you feel like it. Not because things are good. Not because you’re in a season of peace or joy or prosperity. Worship, as Peter was fully aware, is an action of faith, not a feeling, because, “though you do not see Him now, you believe and you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, receiving as the result of your faith the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9) Peter was a real person and he had his struggles, but “upon this rock” Jesus said He would build the spiritual heritage we walk in today- and the worship of Jesus Christ, the cornerstone, was where Peter started building.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may declare the goodness of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light,” Peter wrote. (1 Peter 2:9) Praise is your high calling. Worship is your lifeline, whether or not you use it. Worship wins wars in you, through you and around you. How? Worship is ministry to the Lord, not ministry to you, and as you enter His gates with thanksgiving (Psalm 100:4) and minister to Him, He is faithful to minister back to you (Genesis 22:17) and your position in His presence changes you, inspires you, strengthens you, empowers you and makes a way. (Psalm 50:23)