Do I Have To?

“But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Mark 8:33, NIV

Who invented the one-legged burpee?  Or better yet, the one-legged, TRX burpee which  involves placing your foot in a TRX band while balancing on one leg then executing a burpee (squat thrust) with your legs hovering in the air (all weight on the arms) before hopping back up on your lone, free leg?  What?!!!  The better question is why?  Why on earth would you ever design such a thing? As you can tell by my sarcasm, it didn’t go so well for me.  With lots of wobbling, I fumbled through the exercise with one goal–trying not to injure my pride.

Unfortunately, this is how the Christian life feels at times. I can imagine that’s exactly how Peter felt when Jesus “began to teach them [the disciples] that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31, New International Version).  Mark 8:32 says, “He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him” (NIV).  If I could guess, the questions swirling around inside Peter’s head at that moment were something like, “I’m not sure you know what You’re doing, LORD.” and “Why on earth would You ever consider setting up Your Kingdom in such an awful way?”

Regrettably, Peter must not have heard the “rise again” part — or he didn’t believe it. Apparently, Peter lacked faith and desired an easier way. He knew Jesus was the Messiah because he declared this fact in verse twenty-nine.  It is fair to say that Peter did not understand the big picture. Even after spending so much time with Jesus, Peter focused on what was seen and not on what was unseen.  He fixated on what he thought he had control over and not on surrendering everything to His LORD. Nevertheless, Jesus’ own response shines a light on Peter’s motivation.  According to Jesus, Peter was putting man’s concerns before God’s and Jesus called that sin. This was not easy for Peter to hear or understand.  I believe that’s why, right after this interaction with Peter, Jesus summoned the crowd together and said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me” (Mark 8:34, NIV).

For you, trusting God may look like a move across the country, leaving everything you know, or an investment in something that doesn’t make sense.  It may be in the form of sacrificial giving or taking someone into your home.  Whatever the case, I am willing to wager Jesus has rocked your world in some way or another and trust has been a struggle in your own walk with the LORD.  My prayer is that you will stop asking “Do I have to?” and instead, say “Yes, LORD.”

Providentially, like the one-legged burbee, God’s ways are not easy, or even understandable. He knows that difficult things are good for us, teaching us to balance our lives in accord to His will and His ways as we surrender by faith. But, we know our God. We know He is good, faithful, loving, all powerful, gracious, sacrificial and holy. Fortunately, God is not confined by our ability nor are His plans thwarted by our objections.  He may use you as an object lesson for others, as in Peter’s case, but He will never leave you or forsake you.

Trust & Obey

“When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.”

Trust and Obey by John H. Sammis, 1887


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