"But Peter followed Him at a distance..."
It seems that there is a progression that takes place in the lives of too many believers. For whatever reason, there are many that once followed Christ closely that now only follow Him at a distance. There are many reasons that this happens. Often our trials and circumstances cause us to get discouraged and disheartened, and we quit walking with Christ with the fervency that we once did. Many times we get so wrapped up and busy with all of the cares of this world that we just simply don't make time for God like we once did. I personally believe that the main reason we stop following Christ closely is because we get complacent and think that it doesn't really matter.
Most Christians will never admit out loud that they are not as close to God as they once were. Although it is glaringly obvious that things have changed in our walk with Christ, our pride will not allow us to admit that there is a problem. This is so incredibly dangerous, because without honest confession of our faults we will just continue down that road. Peter was the only one that did not flee when Jesus was betrayed, but we notice that he did not adamantly follow Jesus. Instead, he lurked back in the shadows. He was still following the Lord, but it was not like how he had always followed Jesus before. Of course he could justify his actions for several reasons: the circumstances of Jesus' arrest; at least he didn't abandon Jesus like the rest; surely he didn't need to put his life on the line too. I find it amazing how people justify their decision to not follow Jesus with all of their heart. We find every reason in the world to live the mediocre Christian life. God promised us an abundant and full life, but that only occurs when we follow Him with all of our heart.
Peter never dreamed what following Jesus from a distance would lead to. Eventually this disciple of Christ was denying the very one who walked with him on the water. He has said that he doesn't even know the One who he had declared to be the Messiah. Stepping away from Christ places us on a very slippery slope. No one ever plans to abandon God, but it happens so often.
Are you as close to God as you once were? If not, why not? Some have asked me how closely they need to follow Jesus. I believe that answer is very simple, but I must admit also very difficult. You must take up your cross and follow Him. You cannot take a step back from following after God. There are no retreats in this spiritual battle. Every day you must follow the Lord with all of your heart, soul, and mind. You must do what you know is right and walk in His steps.
May you stay close to the Lord today!