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The disciples once asked the Lord Jesus to increase their faith. No doubt they desired to achieve greater things for God, but I wonder if they forgot the value of the greatest thing of all — to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength,” (Mark 12:30 NIV). Perhaps they thought they already did.
Peter assumed he already loved the Lord with all his heart, soul, and mind — until he discovered he didn’t. He denied he knew the Lord three times. In a moment of profound weakness, Peter discovered his fear of man was stronger than his love for the Lord. But on the positive end, it brought him to the end of himself. Only then could he face the truth and be transformed into the likeness of Jesus. Remember what Jesus asked him along the seashore following His resurrection? It was only then Peter was able to honestly look at himself and answer the burning question “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?” (John 21:17 NKJV).
It’s a question worth asking ourselves as we face our own unsettling fears. How much do we really love the Lord? Are we ready to ‘walk through the fire’ with Him?
In the Old Testament book of Daniel, three Hebrew captives named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego literally walked through a furnace of fire with a figure of a man who mysteriously appeared among them “like a son of the gods” in the words of the Babylonian king. Many believe the mysterious figure was Jesus, for the three men had informed the king, “If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and he can rescue us from the power of you, the king. But even if He does not rescue us we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18 CSB). Here was a faith that increased through the power of love.
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