Life is simply, in it’s most reduced form the sum of many moments. Each moment is different and yet each moment is ordered and held in the hands of God. There are moments of weakness and moments of strength; moments of unsurety and moments of clarity; moments of failure and moments of victory and there are moments that we have always hoped for as well as moments that we never saw coming. We have a tendency to value certain moments over others and I believe that this is where we lose focus. We look into the lives of others and see a moment that we would like to have for ourselves and yet we have not seen all the moments that led them to this point. We look at our own lives and we look over the moments of the past and can not figure out how they will ever amount to anything. We look ahead to the moments we have been promised and pray that they would hurry up and get here. All of this is natural, but much of it is not useful, in fact, a lot of it is detrimental. Each moment has use, each moment has grace, each moment has hope because God has each moment.
Acts 2 shines a light on a moment of greatness in Peter‘s life. When Jesus baptized the believers with the Holy Spirit, Peter was led to step forward and utter the first words of anointing and power for a new season. Peter spoke with power and with authority, he spoke with faith and with confidence and he spoke with results. In reading this sermon it is hard to believe that just 50 days earlier this same man refused to admit that he even knew Jesus. On the night of Jesus’ arrest He told the disciples all that was about to happen. He told them He would be betrayed and arrested and that they would all scatter and leave Him. At that point Peter jumped in, he announced that even if he died he would never leave Jesus. Just a few hours later Peter denied Jesus three times. In his fear and shame he ran away and wept, probably convinced that he had ruined his friendship with Jesus.
When Peter failed he came to a conclusion that many of us have also come to, that we lost our opportunity and were now ruined. This thought could not be farther from the truth. When Jesus rose from the dead the angel told Mary to go and tell the disciples and Peter that Jesus was alive. I don’t believe that this instruction was given because Jesus had removed Peter from being a disciple, I believe it was said this way because Peter had assumed he was no longer accepted. Somehow our worst moments are followed by shame and fear that tries to convince us that that one moment had undone all the others. We are left not remembering the moments of faith, not the moments of love and peace but the moment of fear, the moment of shame and the moment of sin. God is not bound by time and He does not judge you and I by the most recent moment. He judges us by eternity and by our hearts. He knows the plans that He has for us and He is not easily swayed or shaken. When we have moments of failure we can not allow them to snowball into days, weeks, months and years of failure, we must see them as they are, just a moment, a moment that can be redeemed. Remember, when Jesus prophesied Peter’s denial He also announced his redemption: “when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
God is not merely in the moment, He is in every moment. God was as present when Peter denied Him as He was when Peter preached Him. The same is true for us, the Holy Spirit dwells within us, He is always near and He is always working. God is not moved by our moments and we need to stop being easily moved. Every moment is a moment to build a moment to grow, a moment to listen and a moment to obey. Peter is not simply the man who denied or the man who preached at Pentecost, he is the sum of all of his moments because he yielded to God’s work in each one. He is the man that first confessed Jesus as the Christ as well as the only one that Jesus rebuked by saying “Get behind me Satan.” He is the man that walked on water with Jesus as well as the man that sunk because he was afraid. He is the man that denied Jesus three times and the man that was restored by Jesus on the beach. Peter is the man that preached at Pentecost, He is the man that God chose, loved, forgave and redeemed.
God is the Great Redeemer, He desires to redeem every moment of our lives. It is His desire to be trusted and loved in such a way that He is followed, every moment. There are moments that we regret, we must repent and believe that God is redeeming those moments, not to have us forget them but to have Him glorified through them. There are moments that we are hoping for, we must not be found looking forward so intently that we are not listening today. I don’t believe that Peter preaches at Pentecost without all of his other moments. God doesn’t impart character He builds it. He builds it moment by moment. With each moment of obedience we hear God’s voice more clearly, we let go of our flesh a bit more and we become more like Jesus. With each moment of failure God steps in to offer His love, His grace, His mercy and an opportunity to repent. A moment does not make us and it also does not destroy us. We are made by the constant molding of God and we are destroyed only by rejecting His Truth. The Truth is Jesus takes the broken and makes them whole, He takes the proud and makes them humble, He takes the rebellious and makes them yielded and He takes failures and makes them abundantly successful. If Jesus can take a denier and make him the chosen preacher for the birth of the church He can certainly take you and me and make us into His image, into His purpose and into His children. Let this be the moment in which you embrace the love of God, believe in the mercy of God and enjoy the presence of God. You are not what you were, you are not what you will be but you are exactly what you are supposed to be right now, at this moment.