By Michael Youssef, Ph D. 07/25/20
One of the clearest pictures of identity transformation in the Bible is found in the life of the apostle Peter. Before Christ, Peter found his sense of security in his own competence and self-reliance. His occupation as an expert fisherman of the Sea of Galilee and his courage were the sources of his confidence—his very identity. So Jesus made sure to sanctify Peter in these two areas of his life.
Read Luke 5:1-11. In this passage, Jesus humbled Peter with a miraculous catch that demonstrated His lordship, obliterating any boast Peter might have had in his expertise as a fisherman. Jesus’ actions were not malicious; rather, He was preparing Peter, as He is preparing you, to do great and mighty things for Him. He humbled Peter on the Sea of Galilee—the source of his false security—in order that he would find his eternal security as a child of the King.
Over time, Peter began to trust in Christ’s sufficiency instead of his own. When Jesus called Peter out of the boat and onto the water, Peter believed that if the Lord had commanded him, he could do it. Even though he lost his focus on Christ and began to sink, this moment demonstrated how much Peter’s faith and confidence in Jesus had already grown.
Jesus knew that Peter’s courage would fail a final time. He knew, so He told Peter, “[T]his very night, . . . you will deny me three times” (Matthew 26:34). But even after this betrayal, Jesus restored Peter. Sitting by the very Sea of Galilee in which Peter had once found his identity, Jesus asked him, “Peter, do you truly love Me?” The old Peter would have said, “Oh Lord, I love You. I will die for You!” But the new, transformed Peter humbly replied, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you” (John 21:17, emphasis added).
Jesus will strip us of our earthly identity so that He can replace it with something greater. Many of us may be in the middle of our own stories of transformation. Be encouraged! By the end of his story, Peter had exchanged independence for dependence, false courage for trust, and self-confidence for reliance on Christ. And on the Day of Pentecost, it was a transformed Peter that preached to the multitudes and saw 3,000 people give their lives to Christ.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your patient work of transformation in my life. Help me overcome my unbelief that prevents me from trusting in You completely. Make my life a testimony to Your love as I build my life on Your faithful promises. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“And we all, . . . are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).