One of the clearest pictures of identity transformation in the Bible is found in the life of the apostle Peter. Before Christ, Peter found his sense of security in his own competence and self-reliance. His occupation as an expert fisherman of the Sea of Galilee and his courage were the sources of his confidence—his very identity. So Jesus made sure to sanctify Peter in these two areas of his life.

Read Luke 5:1-11. In this passage, Jesus humbled Peter with a miraculous catch that demonstrated His lordship, obliterating any boast Peter might have had in his expertise as a fisherman. Jesus’ actions were not malicious; rather, He was preparing Peter, as He is preparing you, to do great and mighty things for Him. He humbled Peter on the Sea of Galilee—the source of his false security—in order that he would find his eternal security as a child of the King.

Over time, Peter began to trust in Christ’s sufficiency instead of his own. When Jesus called Peter out of the boat and onto the water, Peter believed that if the Lord had commanded him, he could do it. Even though he lost his focus on Christ and began to sink, this moment demonstrated how much Peter’s faith and confidence in Jesus had already grown.

Jesus knew that Peter’s courage would fail a final time. He knew, so He told Peter, “[T]his very night, . . . you will deny me three times” (Matthew 26:34). But even after this betrayal, Jesus restored Peter. Sitting by the very Sea of Galilee in which Peter had once found his identity, Jesus asked him, “Peter, do you truly love Me?” The old Peter would have said, “Oh Lord, I love You. I will die for You!” But the new, transformed Peter humbly replied, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you” (John 21:17, emphasis added).

Jesus will strip us of our earthly identity so that He can replace it with something greater. Many of us may be in the middle of our own stories of transformation. Be encouraged! By the end of his story, Peter had exchanged independence for dependence, false courage for trust, and self-confidence for reliance on Christ. And on the Day of Pentecost, it was a transformed Peter that preached to the multitudes and saw 3,000 people give their lives to Christ.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your patient work of transformation in my life. Help me overcome my unbelief that prevents me from trusting in You completely. Make my life a testimony to Your love as I build my life on Your faithful promises. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“And we all, . . . are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon series Identity Transformation: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW

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About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.


Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.


The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.


He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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