Part of Matthew 16 really hit me this week. In this passage Peter is the first person to confess Jesus as the Christ (or the Messiah). Then just a few verses later he is being rebuked for trying to hold Jesus back from God’s plan. In Matthew 16:23 Jesus says some very direct truth to Peter that we all need to learn from. “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interest, but man’s.”
Stop and consider the depth of those words. Satan gets ahead of us, which leads to our stumbling, when we have our minds set on the interests of men and not of God. In reality we must all confess that we spend more time with our mind set on our interests than on God’s. Or perhaps the problem is that we make the interests of God into the interests of men in the way we approach them. Maybe sometimes our stumbling is the result of us seeing too much with our own eyes and not with his eyes. The problem is often the result of us seeing the answer in our power and not in his.
So this truth leads me to another passage I read this week. Moses speaks to the people of Israel while standing at the Red Sea fearing death as Pharoah and his army are bearing down to destroy them. Exodus 14:13 says “Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will accomplish for you today…” The salvation of the what? Who will accomplish today?
Yes, it is the Lord’s accomplishment and his salvation…it is not yours. Yet often life seems to fool us and trick us into thinking that it is all up to us. That leads me to the last truth I want to share with you today. I want to share an excerpt from the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan. In this passage you will see how God is tying all these things together to speak to me these days and hopefully it will speak to you, too. I will end this blog with the excerpt without commentary. I hope it encourages you to get the book. It is worth the read. (there is another quote from the book I will blog about later this week.)
“Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! (Phil 4:4) You’ll notice that it does not end with ‘…unless you are doing something of extreme importance.’ No, it’s a command for all of us, and it follows with the charge, Do not be anxious for about anything. (VS. 6)
That is a pretty staggering realization. But what I realized next was even more staggering.
When I am consumed with my problems – stressed about my life, my family, and my job – I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important than God’s command to always rejoice. In other words, that I have a “right” to disobey God because of the magnitude of my responsibilities.” (page 43)