Transformation!

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
Acts 4:13

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.’
He denied it again, with an oath: ‘I don’t know the man!’
After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, ‘Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.’
Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know the man!’
Immediately a cock crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: ‘Before the cock crows, you will disown me three times.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Matthew 26:71-75

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:3-6

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and for evermore! Amen
Jude 24-25
There is no doubt that the transformation of Peter and John was remarkable. Acts 4 presents them as men of great compassion, faith, and boldness as they stopped to show tender mercy to a beggar, performed a mighty miracle and then stood up fearlessly to powerful men who could have done them great harm.

Just a few weeks earlier Peter had crumbled in fear before a servant girl, denying that he even knew Jesus. And rather than being a man of compassion, John had been known for his quick temper (Mark3:17). Jesus even had to rebuke him for wanting to call fire down on an unwelcoming town (Luke 9:54-55)!

By grace, Jesus takes us as we are with all our weakness and failings. As an old worship song says, “We can come no other way”. Jesus supplies his own righteousness as the gift that makes us right with God. But then, a wonderful work of sanctification begins so that the family likeness of Jesus becomes more and more evident in our character. It is a work that is entirely dependent on God’s Holy Spirit within us and the powerful effect of God’s word upon us. But it is also a work with which we must choose to cooperate.

We will talk more about this in the next few days, but for now be encouraged! If you, like many others, are only too aware of how far short you often fall from living as Jesus wants you to, then let Peter and John’s example give you new hope. Jesus is in the business of changing lives and he is very good at it!
  1. In what ways do you think your character has changed most since you became a Christian? Sometimes it is helpful to ask others who know you well what changes they have seen in you.   
  2. What areas of your character do you feel that the Holy Spirit is particularly working on right now? (e.g Perhaps your temper, critical tongue or timidity). How is he calling you to cooperate in that work?
  3. Spend some time thanking Jesus for what he has already done and asking him to carry on working in you even through today.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank you for your grace and mercy in taking me as I am. By faith, I receive your forgiveness afresh today as free gift for which I am so thankful. I confess that my attitudes, words and actions often don’t match my status as a child of God. I am truly sorry for this and ask that you continue to work in my life to make me more and more like you. I declare with confidence that you are able to complete the good work that you have begun in me and I choose to submit to your work in my life today. Amen.
Today’s Everyday Devotions were written by David Featherstone, who leads our Sutton venue.

If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.

Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.

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