Is life coming at you fast? Do you feel like you never have enough time to get done what you want to accomplish each day? If so, you are like many of us.
As I was reading my Bible I came across Matthew 16:21-24. In these verses Jesus is telling His disciples He will have to suffer, die and be raised again. Peter was quick to jump to Jesus defense. He loved Jesus and was going to do all in his power to protect Jesus from pain and suffering. His motives were good – how could he stand by and watch the one he love suffer?
Jesus says in verse 23 “But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Now, obviously Peter isn’t Satan. Jesus was rebuking Peter’s errant thinking. The enemy’s temptations can come in seemingly good packages.
What was Peter’s error? He was focusing on the things of man and not the things of God. I have read, thought about and tried to practice the verse that follows this conversation. Verse 24 “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
When I read it this time with the context of Peter’s desire to protect and keep Jesus safe and comfortable, it came alive to me. Am I focusing what God has for me to do today or am I trying to do what I think is the right thing to do? At first glance it sounds like I asked the same question twice in the above sentence. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Often I tumble through my day doing good things, things that I feel need to be done. But, at the end of the day I come away overwhelmed, stressed out and grumpy. I don’t think that’s the kind of life God wants us to live.
When verse 24 encourages us to take up our cross daily it’s not talking about an actual cross. Rather, we are to deny what we deeply desire and do the will of God. So when I deeply desire to do something good, but I haven’t taken those moments in the beginning of my day to reflect on a few verses, ask God to direct my thoughts, steps and word, I may just be doing something good because I really want to do it. It may not be what He has in mind for my day at all. When I’ve walked my day following God’s plans and not my own I find I feel contentment at what I did or did not accomplish because I know at the end of the day I did what God had for that day.
Thank you God for being good. Thank you for wanting to be involved in every aspect of my life. I pray I would not spin my wheels trying to accomplish what I think is good but pause and hear what you would have for me to do today. Thank you for your Word, for your letter that you have left us. Thank you that it is living and active and imparts wisdom and knowledge. I choose to follow you today.