The Danger in the DistanceMatthew 16:31-75
March Madness: Road to Calvary
March 18, 2018
Peter finds himself in a very dangerous position in Matthew 26:58 as he follows Jesus “at a distance” while his Master is being led to the high priest to stand trial. Only a few verses earlier, Peter had boldly proclaimed that though all might forsake Christ, he would follow Him even unto death. What led to Peter’s move to distance himself from His Lord?
The danger of prideful self-reliance: One contributing factor was the pride in Peter’s heart, resulting in an overconfidence in himself. On the Mount of Olives Jesus had told his disciples that they would all betray Him to which Peter confidently replied, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” It is when we refuse to acknowledge our tendency to fall that we are most likely to do so. Self-reliance is often manifested in isolation from the people of God and an attitude of spiritual elitism. It is rooted in pride, and it will hinder your nearness to God.
From distance to denial: What began as a casual distancing himself from Christ led to an outright denial of knowing Christ. Peter is found enjoying the company of those who had set themselves up against Christ when he denied knowing Jesus. Peter ultimately denies himself, changing how he acted and spoke (26:74) so that nobody would connect Him to Christ. A casual waning in your intimacy with Christ, if left unchecked, will give birth to denying Him—if not by the words you say, then by the life you live.
Draw near to God: There is grave danger in spiritual drift. The neglect of worship, prayer, and fellowship in your life are signs of dangerous seeds of pride in your heart. This pride will hinder your intimacy with Christ and will cause you to drift even further. We must wage war on pride in our lives. How? Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.
If you are discerning a waning of intimacy between you and God, acknowledge it today and begin drawing near to Him once again. Protect uninterrupted, unrushed times each day to be in His presence. Prioritize the corporate gathering to worship Him and fellowship with His people. Go to Him throughout the day in thanksgiving and intercession. There is danger in the distance, so draw near to God and He will draw near to you.