You’re going to a November football game, so you wear an extra layer of clothes. For a formal dance, you slip on a gown that makes you feel like a princess. When you go to a job interview, you pick out your most professional ensemble.
It makes sense to choose your outfits according to weather or occasion. But do you find yourself choosing which version of yourself you’ll put on? As you pull up to youth group, or approach the lunch table, or walk into the locker room, do you find yourself rifling through your mental closet and selecting which you you’ll be?
Costumes are great for Halloween, but playing a different character for each group of friends can be exhausting. But it’s tempting though, right?
A rowdy group of sports friends get a kick out of one-upping each other on decidedly unladylike behavior, so you join in the fun to get some laughs. But you know that your church friends like to see you in virtuous-woman mode, so you play the role of prim and proper to the hilt. Around your crush du jour, you try to do what you’ve seen the most popular girl in school do, channeling your inner coy minx.
The apostle Peter had the same problem. He told Jesus he would lay his life down for him, and then later that same day, when Jesus became an enemy of the state, Peter denied even knowing Him. When Peter realized his betrayal, he wept.
But did Peter wake up after that? Unfortunately not. Even after Christ’s death, Peter still had trouble figuring out which Peter he wanted to be. He was the minister to the Jews, but he had been hanging out with Gentiles in Jerusalem, too. Of course, he had the right to do this, since the promise of salvation was now available to Gentiles as well as Jews. But when powerful Jews, who still thought only Jews were God’s chosen people, came to town, Peter drew back from the Gentiles. Peter’s example led others to do the same, probably leaving the Gentiles wondering what they’d done wrong, or if they were still God’s people (Galatians 2:12-13). Little did the Gentiles know, they weren’t the ones who’d messed up; it was Peter…again. That misstep got Peter publicly called out by Paul, and probably caused another major emotional episode.
Peter’s problem came down to courage. He was a grown man who had been with Christ–he certainly knew right from wrong.
When you’re a teenaged girl, it’s a little more complicated than that: you’re still trying to figure out who you are. Are you the fun-loving tomboy? The bookworm homework-aholic? Or a glamorous singer? The good news is, you can be all these things…in Christ. Your school, extracurricular, work, church, and family activities have you hanging out with lots of different people, but that’s no reason to change yourself to get the most laughs or acceptance. No matter what we’re doing, we can still do it to serve God, if we do it with our whole heart and soul, for God, not men (Col. 3:23).
Dress for the occasion, but don’t change what’s inside for anyone.