I’m really excited to have a really great guy write a post for my blog! Super thankful for his encouraging heart, and his realness, always. His article has blessed me already, and I’m excited to share it with you. I am praying it is a blessing to you also. Love, thefulltimegirl
First of all, I’d like to say that I am honored and humbled to have been asked to write a guest post for thefulltimegirl. I’ve certainly enjoyed reading the stuff Lauren posts just like her other readers. With all of the garbage that is thrown in people’s faces on the internet, it’s pretty refreshing to be able to sit down and read something encouraging, challenging, and uplifting from an awesome Christian writer. So again, I’m honored, humbled, and for lack of a better term, pretty stoked to be able to do this!
With that being said, I’ll tell you guys a little about myself and then proceed from there. My name is Ben Sebrell. I’m 24 years old. I am currently in college for Web Development. I’ll be graduating in May, then going into Bible college to prepare for ministry.
I grew up in a Christian home (my Pop is a pastor), and got saved when I was 13 years of age. Literally the best day of my life. The only way I know how to describe it is to say it was like breathing air for the first time. And that’s pretty serious for me because I have asthma .
9 years later at the age of 22, I finally surrendered to preach after fighting it for several years. Second most liberating experience of my life. When I finally gave in to God’s will for my life, I found a sense of direction that I had been lacking for some time.
Since then, I’ve been learning a lot of different things about a lot of different things. I won’t say it’s all been easy peazy lemon squeezies, but it I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. God’s been good to me. In fact, He’s the only thing good IN me, and I’m thoroughly convinced that He’s all the good anyone could ever need.
Looking back over my life, it’s amazing to see how God orchestrated everything in a way that only He could. Every struggle, trial, test, and even temptation has served a purpose. He knew me before there WAS a me, and had specific plans for me. Just like the prophet Jeremiah, I believe He has plans for all of His children. He has a purpose just for you.
“And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.” John 1:42: KJV
Now, you might be thinking…”Uuuuuuuuh…did this dude just through a random Bible verse into the middle of this post?”. Let me assure, I have been known to be pretty random at times, but this verse ties directly into what I’ve been writing about. Let’s break it down, and open it up a little, shall we?
This verse is taken from John’s account of the calling of the first disciples of Christ. More specifically, this verse tells of Jesus’ being introduced to Simon by his brother, Andrew. Now, this verse seems pretty minute in terms of theological quantity at first glance, but there is SO MUCH to be seen here.
1. “..And when Jesus behled him, he said, Thou art Simon…”.
How amazing is it that Jesus knew EXACTLY who Simon was? Think with me for a minute. A lot of times, people read Bible stories and forget that these were REAL people. These things ACTUALLY happened! So put yourself in Simon’s shoes…or sandals rather.
You see your brother walking up the street with a man you’ve never met before. The man looks at your for a second, and calls you by name. Chances are, one of two things is going through your mind. Either your brother told this man about you on the way over, or this guy makes a lucky guess. Either way, he knows who you are upon seeing you.
It’s so encouraging to know that we have a God who knows each and every one of us. He never gets us confused with one another. He takes time to be good to all of us even though none of us will ever deserve that goodness. God knows your name, and the day He met you, He called you…by name…into a new a glorious life– a new reality.
I can’t speak for anybody else, but when I look at me, and then look at what God has revealed to me about Himself through His Word, I know I could never even dream of earning or deserving His company or companionship. And yet, He tells me in His Word that He’ll never leave me or forsake me. He calls me his friend. He calls me His child. He knows me. He loves me, and there’s nothing that could ever change that.
Just like Christ knows me, He knew Simon…but it didn’t stop there…
2. “…the son of Jona…”
Now, again. Think with me. This man you’ve never met not only calls you by your name. He goes on to call your dad’s name. This tells me that Jesus not only knew who Simon WAS, but He also knew where Simon CAME FROM.
The day God met you and saved you, He didn’t just know who you were at the moment in time, He knew everything about you BEFORE that moment in time. He didn’t just know the here and now. He knew the there and then. He knew the good, the bad, the ugly, and the everything in between.
Again, I can only speak for me here, but to think that God, in His Sovereign Holiness, could look at me and know not just the sin that was in my life presently, but EVERY sin I had ever committed, and STILL love me enough to want to hold me in His arms blows my mind…every time. The amazing grace of God wrecks me, and it ought to wreck you too!
Who among us has anything to boast about? The Bible tells us that even what we perceive to be our own righteousness is nothing but filthy rags at the feet our our King. To think that God could look at us, see our filthy rags, both past and present, and still offer to us salvation through His Son– the greatest expression of love mankind has ever known, ought to literally bring us to our knees and faces in humble awe and adoration.
Christ knew who Simon was, and where he came from, but it keeps going…
3. “…Thou shalt be called Cephas…”
So you meet this man who somehow knows who you are. On top of that, he knows where you came from and what you’ve been through. But then…he tells you that he’s basically going to give you a new name! Seriously…think about it! What would be going through your mind at this point.
Now, I don’t know what all Simon was thinking by now. The Bible doesn’t really record much about it. However, I do know this. The beginning of John 1:42 tells us that before Jesus ever spoke a word to Simon, He beheld him. He saw him. And again, the Bible does not record this, but I believe with all of my heart that when Jesus and Simon locked eyes, Simon saw a love that he had never seen before. I believe Jesus looked at Simon with the same compassion He did when He saw the multitudes in Matthew 9:36.
I mean, we know how the rest of the story goes, right? Simon and the other disciples literally dropped everything and followed Christ. These were real men with real jobs. And yet, when Christ saw and spoke to them, nothing in that moment was able to keep away from the compelling love of the Savior. Imagine how it must have been to physically and literally see the arms and eyes of love! Wow!
Getting back to the main point, Jesus basically tells Simon that He’s going to be called Cephas from now on. This tells me that Jesus not only knew who SImon was, and where he came from, but He also saw what Simon COULD and WOULD be! Now here’s where I start to lose my composure a little bit (in a good way)!
God knows me, and where I’ve come from, what I’ve been through, and everything I’ve done. And someway…somehow He looks at me says, “I can use you if you are willing to follow me.” Not only does good love each of us and know each of us, but He can USE each of us as instruments and tools to carry His plan! I have NO clue how or why a perfect God would want to use an imperfect me, but (pardon my vernacular)…I’m down with that!
Look, I don’t have all of the answers. I’m the farthest thing from perfect I can think of. I’ve failed Him more times that I will ever care to try and remember, but I know that He who begat a good work in me will be faithful to complete it if I stay faithful to Him. I’m not sure what God sees in me, but I know He sees something, and that motivates me to keep pressing forward no matter what. He sees and knows what I can be, and if He can see it, I want Him to have it. It’s that simple!
You know, a lot of time, people come down on Simon Peter pretty hard. I mean, we always hear about the time where he practically put his foot– toes heels and ankles in his mouth on the Mount of Transfiguration. Then there’s the the time when he cut off a man’s ear trying to “defend” Jesus. Everybody knows that one, and personally, I think he was aiming for that dude’s neck and the guy saw it and dodged it. And THEN there’s the time where he claimed he would be willing to die for Christ only to turn around and deny him three times in one night.
When you look at stories like these, it’s easy to be think Simon Peter was kind of a hot-headed loser. However, that’s not all there is to Simon Peter. Yea, he made some mistakes, but we can’t forget about what happened in Acts chapter 2. Simon preached on the Day of Pentecost and 3,000 souls were saved! And if you think that’s worth a shout, look over in the very next chapter and read about how 5,000 came to know Christ after the lame man at the temple gates was healed! That’s a total of at least 8,000 souls that came to salvation as a result of Simon Peter’s boldness for Christ. That same hot-headed passion that got him in trouble so often was the very thing God used to draw 8,000 people to Himself! How awesome is it to think that God can even use our FLAWS for His honor and glory? Only God can pull something that incredible off!
::another praise break::
There is a God who knows you inside and out. He knows the whole story. He WROTE the whole story. And He wants to use you. He has a purpose–a specific plan for your life. It doesn’t matter how far gone you think you are, or how hopeless you feel like your situation is. He desires nothing more than for you to put your heart and life into His hands and give Him complete control. He knows who you are. He knows where you come from and what you’ve been through. And He sees and knows what you can be for furtherance of the Gospel. Are you willing to follow Him like Simon and the disciples did? Are you willing to pursue the Face of He who pursued you with His love?