And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. Matthew 16:18
I blurted out a quick, fearful cry that echoed into the cave-like cutout at the site of the waterfall where I was hiking with a friend.
“What happened?” my friend, who was ahead of me, called back to me.
The large, flat rock I had stepped on shifted as I put my full weight on it and teetered slightly. Its size and position among the other rocks belied the fact that it was stable, causing me to more carefully examine the surfaces upon which I placed each of my steps.
Sometimes things look sturdy and strong, until you look more closely and find that they are not.
My little hiking episode brought to mind the story of biblical Peter, the one upon whom a whole religion has placed the weight of the church with the words “on this rock I will build my church.” That’s a lot of weight and noble responsibility for a man to carry , because if you knew Peter like I know Peter … And how do I know him so well? I hate to admit it, but it’s because I share in having some of the same character traits.
When we examine Peter’s behaviors, we learn that he is a compulsive, boisterous, cowardly, denying man. A very flawed, ordinary man.
And me … well, I am a very flawed, ordinary woman.
Like the rock I had stepped on during my hike, Peter was capable of giving way to human pressure and shifted from follower of Jesus to knife-wielding foe. The one who struggled to stand watch as Jesus sweat drops of blood, then fearfully denied being one of Jesus’ companions. There he is in the midst of the most crucial events of Jesus life, spouting off to Jesus that he would never deny Him, and yet … You know the rest of the story. What did Jesus see in him?
The same thing He sees in you and I. The epitome of a forgiven sinner.
Just like the shifting rock I stepped on, we are all fallible. God is not caught unaware of this. Just as His Son foretold His betrayal by Judas, He forewarned Peter of his denial.
Did the character flaws disqualify Peter as a leader of the church? Absolutely not! And neither do our flaws disqualify us to serve and do mighty things for the Kingdom. As a matter of fact, our imperfections prove all the more the need for a savior; they are further proof that if God can use a sinner like Peter — like me — He can use anyone. Our imperfections form the platform on which we proclaim the Good News of Christ himself!
There is nothing about me which He does not already know. And though I have forsaken Him just as Peter, what humbles me is that He still finds me acceptable to use within His Church despite my many character flaws.
Inferior, imperfect, ill-equipped, insufficient … yet loved, grace-bought, redeemed, and empowered, God will be the foundation as we work through Him to build the church.
We love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.
Help us spread the word about Breath on Paper by sharing this post on FB, Pinterest, Twitter.
Make Breath on Paper a part of your daily devotion. (We will never share your email.)
Pam Freitag Weyant traded the harsh Midwestern winters for the sunny South. Her best friends are her steno machine (she works as a freelance court reporter), her aged but adorable cocker spaniel Jake, and books. She is grateful for time spent traveling, writing creative nonfiction, and working out. Her goal is to share her story with others so they may also find freedom in a redemptive Savior. Read more of Pam’s Breath on Paper bio here.