From that time on Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. “Far be it from You, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to You!”…Mathew 16:21-22
From that time on Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. “Far be it from You, Lord! he said. “This shall never happen to You!” But Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me. For you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”For you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Mathew 16:21-25
During lent season, many of us are denying our appetites whether it’s our palettes or our favorite past times; we’ve opted to sacrifice for an entire forty days. With it comes temptations, urges and near turn-backs, but all of these emotions stem from our senses, (flesh,) but we must press towards purpose, knowing that when it’s all done, we can exclaim, “it is finished”
Do you ever wonder why people actually do it? In all honesty, I started doing it out of tradition, but over time it has become one of my personal time of self-reflection and renewal.
Each day is walk of faith; We walk in His word as it perfect our walk, but we have to be intentional in keeping our flesh at bay, so that it won’t have dominion over our spirit man. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires, Galatians 5:24.
Some have surrendered their desires for coffee, sweets, social media, phone etc., you know the things we all love. The things that makes our flesh go hmmm, hmmm good!
Speaking of flesh, you do know that it always wants to have its own way all the time, right? Do you know, If it is not your own flesh that wants to be satisfied, it is someone else’s? Yes, do you know other people’s flesh wants to be comfortable with our decisions as well, which leaves us not only dealing with our own appetites, emotions and will, but theirs as well? Some folk expect us to be Burger King, “have it your way.”
During the lent season, we are most humbled by His crucifixion, burial and resurrection and reign. We hear a lot about His infamous “Seven Last Words” while we plan to expound on them. We are reminded of His rejections, betrayals and denials, but have you ever wondered what He was actually dealing with from day-to-day. You know the unspoken thoughts. Yes we have all heard of His plea written in the gospels. ” Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me. Yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Then an angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. And in His anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground,” Luke 22: 42-44.
Do you think that was the only time? How many times do you think His flesh has cried out? How many wars if any, He had going on in His mind? I venture to say in my unscholarly opinion, probably a few, but bless be unto God that He didn’t allow His flesh to trump the love that He has for us. Bless be unto God, though He came in the form of man, He was empowered to endure His cross, a cross for us all. Yes true love will deny flesh, even if it means some of its closest friends, love ones and self. Jesus pledged His allegiance to His Father, when He submitted His will unto His Father.
As much as we love the people we walk with daily, we can only have one Lord. Do you know whom we yield our members, has become our lord, whether it’s family, friends or even we, ourselves. Yes, that’s right it’s in the word, “have ye not known that to whom ye present yourselves servants for obedience, servants ye are to him to whom ye obey, whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness, Roman 6:16.
In the beginning of the post, I shared two occurrences where Jesus had to rebuke Peter for interfering with His assignment, but we know that everything happened according to God’s plans. Poor Peter, I don’t believe it was deliberate, he just didn’t understand. I believe Peter had Jesus’ interest in mind and some of his own? Do you think Peter was thinking of losing a good friend?
This is a faith walk and there will be times when we must continue walking even when things makes absolutely no sense. It will be scary but we have to remain in faith. Peter and the disciples had Jesus there the entire time. Everything the disciples needed was at hand. They could see Him and touch Him because He was tangible; now Jesus is telling them of His crucifixion, burial and resurrection. They just couldn’t understand. I guess it just didn’t make sense to them. So in defense of Peter, one could probably understand how he was feeling. They never had to exercise faith because the all-sufficient One was with them the entire time.
Ok here is what I have experienced the last few weeks. It’s easy for us to accept what others have to do as long as it doesn’t cost us any discomforts. It is easy as long as there is no change that would affect us. Just like a child, as long as I am happy and it’s what I desire, all is well. As long as my emotions is satisfied because I don’t want to be uncomfortable. As long as it’s done according to “my will,” just like Burger King! I am fine with it.
Like the disciples with Jesus, we don’t always stop to think about others and how they must be feeling. I am certain we all have had to make choices that didn’t please at least one person and yes we had to experience the wrath. There will be times in our walk when our assignments won’t be the most appetizing, happy or desirable for the people closest to us, but we have to remain in His will.
We are forever learning in our walk, a walk that disciplines and causes us to bear the fruit of the spirit. Where we once bore fruits of the flesh, we will know quite well how to endure, how to exercise patience, how to love, so that we can be to our brothers and sisters what they need. Although I am free from everyone’s expectations, I have made myself a servant to all of them to win more people, 1 Corinthians 9:19.
Like a child that may have grown up without a mother, he knows what it’s like to be void of a nurturing hand. I could only imagine the hurt and disappointment, because I was nurtured by my mother. The paths we take in life sometimes is not for us but it’s for others. The cross Jesus bore was not for Him but for us. His disciples couldn’t understand and so it will be for us as well.
It is not easy trying explain and they can’t seem to understand. It’s not easy looking in each direction for understanding and prayers at your most darkest hour, but it is just you.
We all have been called to die, while yet living in the natural, so that others can live. It won’t be comfortable. We will feel it in our flesh but it is a necessary death. It is inevitable in the spirit, but we will reign if we “finish.”
There will be times as much as we want to think about ourselves we have to be mindful of others and what they have been called to do. There will be things that God will have the people closest doing that won’t be appeasing to us, but we can’t think about ourselves. It is then that they will need us the most, because they will feel some of the same emotions we do. It’s easy for us to think of ourselves, but how is it that we want to guard our feelings at their expense? Is it fair to put what we want first? Shouldn’t we stop to consider how they might be feeling? At some point shouldn’t we stop and celebrate their obedience unto God, regardless of how it may appear, because remember our thoughts and ways pale in comparison to His? Shouldn’t we pray for them just as Jesus expected His disciples to do, after all they walked close with them.
I am learning selflessness, though not perfect but He’s perfecting. Self doesn’t want to be left out. Self wants a say in everything. Self doesn’t like discomfort. Just when Jesus needed His disciples most, they were caught in comfort. He was agonizing the closer He got to the cross, but they were comfortably asleep more than once.
Let me leave this with you:
Looking at spiritual things with our natural senses “makes no sense” at lease not from that view. A person who isn’t spiritual doesn’t accept the things of God’s Spirit, for they are nonsense to him. He can’t understand them because they are spiritually evaluated. 1 Corinthians 2:14