“But Peter followed Jesus at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.”
As a professional baseball scout driving 35-40,000 miles a year on the highways and interstates of Georgia and South Carolina, I have experienced first-hand, drivers following to close on my bumper. If I had to abruptly stop, their front grill would be in my back seat. So how dangerous is it to follow another vehicle too closely? It is the fifth leading cause of auto collisions according to the U.S. Department of Public Safety. The fact is you reduce the risk of a rear end crash by always keeping a safe following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Keeping a safe following distance means that you must give yourself enough time and distance to stop safely should the vehicle ahead you stop short or suddenly hit something. Using the “three second rule” is an effective method of keeping a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you.
While this example is important for vehicles on the highway, it should not be for our “spiritual highway.” It happened to the Apostle Peter and it happens in our life today. Peter spent three years following Jesus, not from a distance, but up close and personal. He walked with Him. He did life with Him. He watched Him perform miracle after miracle. He ate with Him. He slept next to Him. He learned from Him. He was one of three in the inner circle with Jesus. However, when the pressure of life was on, and people began identifying him with Jesus, Peter cut and ran. He denied that he even knew Jesus. Not once, not twice, but three separate times. Peter distanced himself from the very One who loved him unconditionally. Read it for yourself.
“Then Peter went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.” Then Peter denied it again a third time, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!” Matthew 26:71-72
While distancing yourself from people in a social setting might be important, or keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you on the highway might keep you from an accident—distancing yourself from God isn’t a wise choice or good decision. As a matter of fact, God desires a deep, intimate, personal relationship with you. He deeply desires that you walk with Him and talk with Him every single day. He wants to spend time with you because He loves you unconditionally. Regardless of what you’ve done, how many times you’ve denied Him or followed Him from a distance, Jesus loves you and He stands ready to forgive you and restore you, just as He did for Peter.
I’m reminded of a quote I heard many years ago: “If you don’t feel close to God, guess who moved?”
Draw near and close to God today. Read His word (the Bible) and talk to Him in prayer. He hasn’t moved. He is simply waiting just for you. Remember, it’s never about perfection, but always about making progress.
Be Worth Being,
Kevin Burrell has worked in professional baseball as both a player and MLB scout for the past 40 years, and currently serves as an area scouting supervisor. Kevin was drafted in the 1st round of the 1981 free agent amateur draft (25th selection overall), and played ten years of professional baseball with four different organizations. He and his wife, Valerie, live in Sharpsburg, Ga.
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