Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “You can’t go with me now…” “But why can’t I come now, Lord? I’m ready to die for you.” Jesus answered, “Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter—before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
After Jesus’ arrest, Peter followed Him at a distance. Later, warming himself by the fire in the courtyard, 3 people accused him of being with Jesus. Denying each accusation, Peter finally swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” (Mark 14)
Impulsive and probably a bit controlling, Peter was chosen by Jesus, recognizing in Peter what he could not yet see. Still learning who he was, Peter needed to age a bit, like wine—and like me. I can relate to Peter on so many levels!
Despite the best intentions in Jesus’ presence, Peter could not live up to who he thought he was in Jesus’ absence—yet.
When abiding in Jesus, resting in His presence, power and peace, I feel unstoppable. But when circumstances obliterate my expectations, dashing my misplaced hopes in what Jesus should do instead of what He’s already done, I surprise myself by my reactions.
Why? I falter when attempting life apart from Him.
I couldn’t help notice, Peter followed at a distance. Is there any distance between me and Jesus?
So how do we do life with Jesus in the good, bad and ugly moments?
We seek wisdom and stay close.
Staying close affects every aspect of life, including how I relate with others. I relate and react best when guided by Jesus’ Spirit, filled with His wisdom, and worst when stressed or anxious, often because I’m attempting life without Him—the world’s way.
So how do I gain the wisdom to relate and respond well? Wisdom in relationships started with getting to know myself, listening for Jesus’ wisdom.
Peter’s journey to self-awareness began when he hit rock bottom. It was the same for me.
We discover wisdom, gaining clarity from God’s wisest teacher—humility—when life is hardest.
God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6
Humility begins by looking within, discerning our emotions, thoughts and behaviors—both how we’ve been molded by them and how they impact others. Neglecting this important step, we misjudge and misunderstand ourselves and others. We become suspicious, critical, even judgmental, and act based upon assumptions, not truth.
Our emotions, especially when heightened, are faulty filters through which to discern our most precious commodity—relationships.
For me, self-awareness meant understanding how I’m wired, how my past affects my present, and how others perceive me.
Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe. Proverbs 28:26
The bad news, only 15% of people are self-aware. The good news—Jesus helps us change that, as He did for Peter!
The research and engaging story-telling of Tasha Urich in her book, Insight, helped me understand myself and the way others perceive me.
Looking at a few questions* to begin the journey to wisdom, first ask Jesus for discernment, then ponder each question, journaling your answers. Don’t fall into the trap of responding how you think you should—be as honest with yourself as possible.
- Do I have clearly defined values?
- Can I clearly state my deepest desires?
- Can I predict how I will react in a given situation?
- Do I have well-defined goals?
- Can I discern themes in my decision-making and reactions?
- Can I discover the root of my emotions when angry, agitated or sad?
- Am I aware of the impact of my actions on those around me?
- Can I discern how others respond to me and why?
Honest introspection leads to accurate insight.
If you’re serious about self-awareness, give these questions to a loved one who knows you intimately and is willing to speak the truth in love, granting them permission to speak honestly, without fear of repercussion. Or better yet, take Tasha’s Insight Quiz together!
On the road to self-awareness with his resurrected Savior, Peter became the man Jesus knew before Peter even knew himself.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit is key to living each moment in Jesus’ presence, power and wisdom, as it was for Peter. (Acts 2)
Over the next several weeks, we’ll discover Jesus’ wisdom—multi-faceted and beautiful—and how it transforms us, revolutionizing our lives and relationships.
Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Proverbs 3:15
Jesus will transform every relationship—if we mine the treasures of His precious, often overlooked but abundantly free gift—wisdom.
Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth. Proverbs 17:24
*Questions adapted from Tasha’s Insight Quiz.