Some time ago I was out shopping at the local thrift shop when I discovered a true gem. It was a "Mr. Perfect" doll. Now I do not usually look for dolls, nor am I usually really excited about finding one, but this one "spoke" to me. Mainly because I was wearing the same outfit at the time, and it's plastic hair resembled mine!
I looked at it, and I was stunned beyond speech. This was a must have purchase because I was going to present my daughter with her very own "daddy" doll! Now I guess I had never really noticed these dolls before because when I grabbed it, it began to literally speak. When pressure was applied to this doll, he spoke.
It said things that were absolutely, though very unrealistically, PERFECT!
It said things like:
"Honey, why don't you sit back and just let me take care of the house for awhile."
"Hey I have an idea, why don't we go clothes shopping for you dear, I love spending time in the store with you."
"Of course I would love to drive you and your mother around to all the malls today!"
Yeah, like I said before...perfect stuff.
I was really not comfortable carrying around a doll that resembled me in the thrift store, but I could not resist the object lesson. When I got home and presented my daughter with her very own "Daddy doll", it was worth any embarrassment I had endured earlier.
Q:Now being the curious person I am had to ask myself what made this Mr. Perfect so perfect?
A:It was because when pressure was applied to Mr. Perfect, he would only say something that was perfect.
Q:Why did pressure that was applied to Mr. Perfect cause him to say only perfect things?
A:It was because Mr. Perfect had only perfect responses imprinted on his little electrical heart. His recordable memory was pre-programmed with a series of responses that were perfect.
In other words, when direct pressure was applied the contents of his heart would be revealed.
There is a very real example of this that we find over a very special dinner some time ago.
"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me."
At this particular supper a very interesting conversation is being shared. If you are not bothered by eavesdropping on someone else's conversation here then we can see something powerful.
Jesus is talking about his betrayal and He looks directly at Peter and tells him something about himself.
He (Jesus) tells Peter that he (Peter) will be put to the test. There is a house wide denial party that is coming in just a few hours and Peter would be hosting it. Peter is astonished by this and says so. Jesus goes on to say, "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."
Pressure was about to be applied to Peter. the pressure was necessary to reveal to Peter something about himself that could only be revealed through pressure.
"Many times we find our world being shaken apart and run to God only to find that it is God who is doing the shaking"
Peter did host the denial party, and when he heard the responses that came from his heart when pressure was applied, it was far from the Mr. Perfect that he thought he was.
"Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest's house. And Peter followed afar off. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly." ~Luke 22:54-62
This necessary pressure was allowed by God to reveal Peter's flesh walk to himself. Peter needed to surrender this territory to God, but how do you surrender something you cannot seem to see?
God had plans for Peter!
After the crucifixion and Peter's " confessional clean up on aisle five" we find the risen Jesus again with his disciples over another dinner's fire. This one is powerful! Jesus looks over at Peter and makes one of the most beautiful inserts into Peter's recordable memory box.
"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me." ~John 21:18-1
Jesus tells Peter that when he (Peter) was young he went wherever he wanted, but when he was old he was going to also be crucified for his Mr. Perfect responses to pressure. He would not run to his death, but he would not run away from it either. He would be recorded as demanding that his captors to crucify him upside down because he was unworthy to be crucified like his savior!
Here is the message today. Pressure is allowed and it is all around us. We do a lot to escape from the pressures of life, our job, our marriage, our families, and every other external pressure that we find. I would like to challenge you to stop trying to escape the pressure and find God in the pressure.
Like a tube of toothpaste, pressure causes what is inside to erupt. Our common excuse for ducking the pressure is that we don't like what kind of person that pressure makes us. This is a very wrong diagnosis. Pressure only reveals to us what we already are on the inside.
Check out what Peter had to say about pressure later in his life.
"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." ~1 Peter 4:12-13
Pressure had revealed to the younger Peter an area that needed to be surrendered to God. He saw just how far his own strength was taking him.
What pressure is being applied to your life today?
What is that pressure revealing to you about you?
What responses are coming out of the recordable memory box?
God is not trying to hurt you. He is allowing pressure to help you. Most Christian people try anything to escape pressure and they miss the powerful opportunity to grow in grace. God has given you every ability to surrender and correct anything that the Holy Spirit reveals to you through pressure.
Your Father loves you, and welcomes you to bring the all the recordings that years of hurt and frustrated failure have recorded on your memory and exchange them within you with His PERFECT responses. He wants you no matter what the pressure reveals about you because He has perfect plans for you.
You can never let God down, because you were never holding Him up. In the relationship it is always Him that holds you up!
Climbing with you,