We all know the ending to the Gospel of John and oh, how we love the wonderful reinstatement of Peter. The three times Jesus commissions Peter to feed his sheep beautifully parallel the three times Peter denied Jesus. Nevertheless, have you pondered the next thing Peter says to Jesus?
Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” – John 21:20a, 21 NIV
Yep. Peter turned around, and said, (and I paraphrase), “OK, Jesus, I got it, you know I love you, I’ll feed your sheep, I’ll be led to a death I don’t want, I’ll follow you – but, what about John? What is his job, future, calling? What about him?”
Are we any different from Peter? How hard is it to follow Jesus when we are so busy looking at somebody else? It’s impossible. We have one set of eyes, and they only look in one direction at a time. Either our eyes are on Jesus, or they are not. There are not enough glasses in the world to allow us to see in more than one direction at a time.
If we are not looking to Jesus, where do we look? We look at the people around us. We compare ourselves, and rarely is it favorable. We let our misperceptions overtake us, then we turn our eyes inward and there begins the downward spiral of deception and depression that screws us into a pit of perceived worthlessness from which we can’t escape.
If only we could see ourselves as clearly as God sees us, but we can’t when we look through reality distorting distractions that prevent us from seeing truth. We can’t see truth when our vision is dulled by the lenses of hurtful words, unforgiveness, emotional baggage and deceptive comparisons.
To see ourselves as truthfully as possible, we must stop trying to define who we are based on the images others present of themselves. What we think we see in them is not necessarily the truth of their reality either. We need to look at ourselves through the Word of God if we want to see the truth of who we are.
When Peter turned and asked about John, what did Jesus say to Peter?
Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” – John 21:22 NI
What other people do — their circumstances, their gifts, their abilities, their success and failures — are between them and God. Our responsibility is to follow Jesus. Follow him in our actions, our will, and our thoughts about ourselves.
We are who God says we are; not necessarily who we think we are. Who does God say that we are? Grab your reading glasses so you don’t miss a word…
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. – 1 Peter 2:9 NIV
You are chosen by God – yes you. Read those words again. If anyone ever told you that would never amount to anything — if you failed others, or others failed you, compare that to the fact that God chose you as his own just as you are. You belong to God; you belong to the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.
You are a priest of God Most High – yes you. Compare that to the harsh words you might have heard as a child, the insults, or the abuse – you are a priest. A priest is someone who keeps his eyes on God and intercedes for others in the presence of God. You have this privilege because of the blood of Jesus shed for you.
You are one member of a holy nation – yes you. We all sin and fall short of God’s holy requirements, no one falls deeper or faster, there is nothing to compare. However, when you received Jesus as your savior, his perfect righteousness and your sins were exchanged at the cross and you have been set apart by God for his own purpose.
You are God’s special possession – yes you. Maybe other people gave up on you, or gave you away. Maybe you never felt like you belonged to anyone or anything. There is no comparison now because you belong to God. You were bought with the precious blood of Jesus, shed for you. You are his and he is yours.
You have been called out of darkness and into his wonderful light – yes you. There may be times when you feel surrounded by darkness, but you have a choice: stop looking at the darkness and gaze upon the light you are living in. You are living with Christ in God and there is no darkness in him.
Will you choose today, this year, to make it your goal to take your eyes off others, and look to Jesus. Will you follow him, and him alone. Will you read his Word to know exactly what he says about you, who you are, and to whom you belong.
Join us as we read and study God’s Word together in the New Year! Click here for more information on Marcia’s Devotional, 365 Days of Grace