Nebuchadnezzar was one of the greatest conquerors in the history of our world. He came to dominate the people of many nations. He possessed power, fame, and wealth. At one point, he even considered himself to be a god. But, like so many others, he lacked the one thing he needed the most: peace. His insecurities wouldn’t allow him to be at peace with himself. So how could he be at peace with others? He was a man who was unhappy with himself and hostile toward the people around him. Can you relate?
Nubuchadnezzar never truly discovered the peace that could’ve been found had he surrendered his life to God. He did everything he could to maintain his power over others. Remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? When they walked out of the fiery furnace unscathed, Nebuchadnezzar realized that he’d been thwarted by God. He also saw that the three who surrendered their lives to God had far greater power at their disposal than even he had. Despite his recognition of God’s power, however, the king’s pride continued to get the best of him.
Nebuchadnezzar continued to brag about his greatness and claimed that he alone was responsible for the great city of Babylon. He refused to recognize that all power’even his power’was granted by God. Subsequently he never understood the blessing of peace that comes with surrendering to God. Do you know this blessing of peace?
Simon the fisherman was reckless, vacillating, and often thoughtless. He friends could probably think of some apt nicknames for him, but I doubt any of them came close to what Jesus called him: Peter, which means ‘Rock.’ What greater evidence could there be that Jesus accepted Simon as he was but also had a vision for the man he’d become? And what an amazing transformation took place in that burly fisherman!
Most men can readily identify with Simon Peter. His intentions were usually good, but he was impetuous in speech and impulsive in action. When Jesus revealed that his divine mission would involve a painful death, Peter rashly told Jesus to stop talking that way. At the last supper he brazenly objected to Jesus washing his feet. When Jesus was arrested he cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant. And we all know how he denied knowing Jesus three times.
Later in Simon Peter’s life, however, we see what Jesus saw when he called him ‘Rock.’ He was used by God to perform miracles, he preached publicly about Jesus despite opposition, and exhibited strong leadership in the early church.
In Simon Peter’s life we see hope for our spiritual renewal and transformation. He wasn’t perfect, but he grew in his life in Christ and God used him to have a profound effect on the world.
Jesus has the power to transform even the most unlikely people. Keep this in mind for yourself and for others.
Spiritual growth is all about being transformed into the person God envisions you to be. Confessing your sin and shortcomings is a part of this process of transformation. Whenever you confess your sin and shortcomings’your anger, lust, addiction, selfishness’whatever it is’you can have full confidence that God will forgive you, give you the power to change, and transform your life.
The apostle Paul wrote, ‘Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes’ (Ephesians 1:4). God desires to make you holy’that is, to form his character in you. Looking through the eyes of love, he already sees you as you will look when his work is done. Spiritual renewal is the process of correcting your life to match what God envisions it to be. The Bible tells us God’s discipline is always right and good because it means we will share in his holiness. It is God’s will for you to be made holy.
When you ask God to develop such holiness in you, he eagerly responds to your request. The apostle John wrote, ‘And we can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will. And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for’ (1 John 5:14-15).