“Even if it gets me convicted I’ll be on my knees with my hands lifted… I want to be guilty.” –
“GUILTY” by Newsboys
The other day as I was preparing for my devotional time this song began playing in my mind. Now, songs in my devotional times are not uncommon because I am one of those people that can give you a song for every phrase out of your mouth. But this time was different. This time the LORD led me to scripture based off the song.
In Luke 22:54-62, Peter was called out by a servant girl for being a follower of Christ. At this point, Peter had already been warned by Jesus that by the time the rooster would crow Peter would deny Him three times. As the people arrest Jesus, Peter finds his way to the outskirts of the crowd to follow at a safe distance. This servant girl spots him over by the fire and calls him out for being a follower of Christ. Peter denies Jesus and being a follower of His three times, just as Jesus predicted. And this is where most leave the story at: the denial of Christ. However, what is still left here is a powerful lesson that God used to speak to me.
Picked from Among the crowd
Imagine being in the midst of an angry mob. You are trying to hide away and blend in so that no one spots you. Yet, one person is able to spot you and starts screaming your name loudly. The crowd around you stops. They all turn to look at you. Immediately, you know that your cover is blown. That is what happened here with Peter. However, he wasn’t picked out because someone knew his name. No, Peter was picked out solely because they had seen him with Jesus before. Instantly, I knew exactly what God was trying to show me. Here was Peter being called out by simple association. That is major. This says that there was enough of Jesus on him, even though separated from Christ, to still associate Peter as one of His followers.
Could I Be Convicted of Following Christ?
Thinking upon Peter, I began asking myself, “Could I be called out as a follower of Christ by a stranger on the street?” I mean Peter didn’t have on a “WWJD” bracelet. He wasn’t cruising around town with a “Jesus Follower” bumper sticker. Nor was Peter rocking a big gold cross around his neck. Peter was simply picked out because he had spent enough time in the presence of Christ that strangers knew he was a follower of Christ.
That is powerful to me. My husband and I are usually together when you see us at church, unless I have to sit with the other ministers. One lady even calls my husband “shadow” because my husband is always towering over me (he’s 6’3″) as my protector. Yet, there are still people in that church that do not know I who my husband is, or if I am married at all. Yet, here you have Peter, standing off by himself, being called out by a servant girl for being follower of Christ.
You Know them By My Fruit
Now, if you know me, then you know I have respect for the law and try to do right. BUT this is one time where I WANT TO BE GUILTY. I want to be Peter. I want someone to call me out for being a follower of Christ. I love my husband, but I am good if the people don’t realize I am his wife every time. (He is quick to tell them about me.) However, I am not okay if a stranger does not know I belong to Christ. How could they possibly know Peter was a follower of Christ? All I could come up with was that she had seen him with Christ at least once. But what about me… How can I, the woman who cannot even be associated easily with her husband who is always around, be called out like Peter? Strangers cannot visibly see my God. How, then, can I become PETER?
The answer God gave me was so simple. People will know about God through me based on the fruit I produce. Matthew 7:18 teaches that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit. Therefore, the only way people will know I belong to Christ like Peter is if my actions align with the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. See, our ability to produce fruits is a litmus test to the world that I belong to Christ. The more good fruit we bear, the better. It is how a dying world knows about the God we serve. Therefore, if we, a visible example, cannot display any characteristics of Christ, then how can we show that we have spent enough time with Him to know He is real? Therefore, we should all want to be GUILTY of following Christ, just like Peter.
If you, like me, are unsure if you are able to accused of being a follower Christ, then you need to determine the fruit your bear. The following is an exercise I created for myself to determine the quality of the fruit I was producing.
Complete the following:
On scale of 1 to 10, how ripe (good) is the fruit I bear?
For each of the areas you scored 5 and below, what do you think limits the Holy Spirit’s ability to work in you to produce good fruit in this area?