When A Change of Scenery Isn’t The Answer

“When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant girl saw him, and said to those who were there, ‘This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.’ And again he denied it with an oath, ‘I do not know the man.”” (Matthew 26:71-72)

Peter had been sitting outside in the courtyard of the high priest, when he was identified by a servant-girl as being a follower of Jesus. He denied it. Evidently he became uncomfortable sitting where he was (if you can imagine that!) so he decided to move out to the gateway instead. But there was no escaping it; in just a few moments he was asked basically the same question by another servant-girl, and he responded with yet another denial: “I do not know the man.” Changing his location didn’t help Peter any — because his problem was not in his geography!

There is a good lesson for us here: a change of scenery doesn’t automatically change your spirituality. The problem most of us face is not our location or our outward circumstances — though sometimes they can help or hinder somewhat one way or another. It can indeed be benefical to remove bad influences from one’s life.

But our greatest problem is not usually our location; it is our HEART. In Matthew 15:19 Jesus said “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.” Merely changing your physical location is not going to change the fact that these things are in your heart, and will continue to proceed out of your heart until it is changed. If you were lustful, or bitter, or fearful, or apathetic, or selfish in one physical location, just changing your scenery isn’t necessarily going to help. You need to ask the Lord to transform your heart; to save you and change you from the inside. It is your heart that must be dealt with, not just your geography. Because you carry your heart with you no matter where you might go!

About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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