Friday, July 28, 2017

These Things

“‘I’m going out to fish,’ Simon Peter told them...they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish…When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?’” John 21:3, 6, 15.

To truly understand this beautiful passage, we must put it in prospective of the timeline of events.  This was post traumatic living after watching their best friend, mentor and teacher be brutally killed.  The painful crisis was over, and Jesus Christ had risen just as He told them.  No doubt they were completely worn out from the emotional rollercoaster of following Him…humbled that He was true to His word and lived in a resurrected body...grateful that the painful ordeal was over.  So, what did Peter and some of the disciples do?  They returned to what was comfortable after emotions had settled…hearts had accepted…and things calmed down.  Jesus had to formally ask Peter to express how much he loved Christ?  His question seems to pierce my heart…‘Do you truly love me more than these things?’

These things…haunting words.  How many times have we found ourselves in a crisis that left our minds reeling?  How many prayers have we lifted negotiating with God that if He will move in ‘this way or that way’ we will do ‘this or that’ for Him?  How many of us find ourselves returning to what is comfortable after the crisis is over?  It is human nature to return to the very same thing that keeps us bound in sin instead of making lasting and promised changes to God.  We return to our same habit…casting our nets in the same old areas…hauling in the same results…smelly fish that needs clean up.  Sometimes God allows seasons to enter our lives, setting up the question of devotion to Him.  He sets up circumstances where we must choose between our old life and the new life to which He is calling us.  He forms the question to us…Do you truly love me more than these things?

What are your ‘these things’ that He is asking you to leave behind?  What the ‘these things’ that keep you returning to the prayer of confession?  What are ‘these things’ that continue to over-promise and under-deliver?  We are told to set our hearts and minds on spiritual things and to seek His kingdom first and we will be given everything needed to live a full and abundant life.  We must recognize our old habits and lay them down with His help.  We must exchange our ‘these things’ for His ‘these things.’ A few weeks ago, we discovered that the translation ‘to seek’ is to ‘long for.’  He is the only thing that can satisfy our longings in this world. 

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’  Matthew 6:33.

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