If you grew up in church or have been studying the Bible for awhile now, you are probably familiar with the conversation Jesus and Peter had in John 21:15-19. This took place after Jesus had risen from the dead, and He was hanging out with His disciples on the beach. After eating breakfast together, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Peter got a little offended that Jesus kept asking him the same question, probably assuming Jesus wasn’t buying his answer. Most Bible teachers say the three questions corresponded to Peter denying Jesus three times after Jesus had been arrested. Perhaps that’s true, but I think there’s more to be gleaned from this story.
Archives for May 2014
We spend so much of our lives living in defeat, never remembering that Christ has already won the victory for us. We get tired of fighting the battles and give up without ever realizing that the battle was over before it even started. Imagine an army too tired to fight another battle. Suddenly they are informed the enemy has surrendered. Instead of marching in and securing the victory, they remain wallowing in their fatigue and let their opponent know that instead of declaring victory, they are going to concede defeat because they’re just too tired to go on. It’s a ridiculous scenario, but it is the way many followers of Jesus are living their lives every day.
In 1978, Alexander Solzhenitsyn addressed the graduating class at Harvard saying, “Many of you have already found out what others will find out in the course of their lives that truth eludes us as soon as our concentration begins to flag, all the while leaving the illusion that we are continuing to pursue it.” I believe this holds true for the Western Church today. Much like the Pharisees in Jesus’ day, we have heaped rules and regulations onto the teachings of Christ. In the centuries that have followed His death, Christianity has often looked little like its namesake. Instead of being an all-inclusive people loving and serving others in their desperation, we have become somewhat of a closed society, a secret handshake club that does our best to keep the world at bay. We have lost our concentration on the person of Jesus and have been lulled to sleep, convinced that we are still pursuing His truth.
The more time we spend concerning ourselves with selfish pursuits, the less time we have to live the life God created us to live. Most of us would not consider ourselves selfish, but the truth is we spend far more time focused on ourselves than on Christ or anyone else. Our modern society attempts to dictate how we should live, feeding subtle – and not so subtle – messages into our minds at a dizzying rate. Satan has masterfully disguised his undermining of God’s character by manipulating the societal forces that play into our psyches every day. The tricks of the devil are as old as creation. He tempted Eve by questioning the trustworthiness of God, implying He had an ulterior motive to keep her from eating of the forbidden fruit. Today He slyly convinces us that we need more “stuff” and to look out for ourselves first, clearly calling into question God’s ability to provide for our needs.
I don’t belong here and neither do you. You don’t have to get to know me very well before you see my distaste and discomfort with our world. More than anything I want to be in the presence of my Savior. I don’t waste much time on trivial things or small talk because I have a sense of the urgency of my time on this planet. Honestly, I’d give up my remaining days right now in order to be with Jesus. This doesn’t mean there aren’t things about this world I enjoy. I have a wife, dogs, family, and friends, and I love them all. But nothing compares to the love I have for Jesus.