January 25, 2023

Not Ready Yet

Written by Boyd Bailey

Learn the Lord’s lessons where you are…and the fruit of your faithfulness will be exponential.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 25, 2023

Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” John 13:37

Sometimes we think we are ready to do something spectacular for God, but we are not ready yet, we still need the Lord to do something deeper in us. A pastor and his wife came to the office a few years ago to discuss their plan to move from leading a church to leading a new start-up missions ministry. I could tell the wife was not nearly as enthusiastic as her husband about their potential transition. Her pain point was credit card debt that amounted to a year’s worth of salary. He played the God card, while her desire was to pay off the credit cards. He was spiritualizing their situation, while she was being very practical. There was a timing issue. The Lord was leading, but not now. Maturity was needed…preparation…debt paid off and relational healing. Wisdom in God’s “when” is necessary to assure His “what” is set up for success and not failure.

Peter faced a similar scenario. Enthusiastic to the point of saying he was willing to lay down his life for Jesus, but he soon discovered he was not ready…Jesus was right. The still immature disciple was ahead of himself…not yet truly emptied of self or filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit. He romanticized the idea of dying for Jesus, but when the reality of following His Master’s fate sunk in…Peter sunk back into the darkness denying Jesus three times, just as Jesus had predicted. The Lord knew His maturing disciple, full of potential, was not yet ready to follow fully surrendered. When Peter met His resurrected Savior and Lord, and Jesus breathed on Him the fullness of the Spirit…the former denier of the faith became a bold proclaimer of the faith. 

“Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22).

Oswald Chambers develops further the idea of Peter needing to wait on God and not run ahead of his capabilities, “Peter did not wait for God. He predicted in his own mind where the test would come, and it came where he did not expect it. “I will lay down my life for Your sake.” Peter’s statement was honest but ignorant. “Jesus answered him, ‘…the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times’ ” (John 13:38). This was said with a deeper knowledge of Peter than Peter had of himself. He could not follow Jesus because he did not know himself or his own capabilities well enough. Natural devotion may be enough to attract us to Jesus, to make us feel His irresistible charm, but it will never make us disciples. Natural devotion will deny Jesus, always falling short of what it means to truly follow Him.” Wisdom waits on God’s best.

Wisdom takes the time to process desires in a manner that filters out fleshly yearnings…and replaces them with the Spirit’s affections. Certainly, prayer and seeking godly counsel are key components to waiting on the Lord to bring clarity to His vision for you…and for you to be confident that you are compelled by His calling. God’s will for you will not be derailed when you are on track to trust that He is doing even greater work in you in preparation for greater works through you. Stay disciplined in your devotion, so your zeal does not launch out too early. Learn the Lord’s lessons where you are…and the fruit of your faithfulness will be exponential. Your humility will help you discern when you are ready and, in the meantime, grow and learn.

“Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4).


Heavenly Father, grow me more like Jesus as I wait on how to best follow Jesus, through Christ’s love, and in Jesus’ name, amen.


What work is God needing to do in you, before He launches you out to work through you?

Related Reading

Exodus 23:20; Job 13:18; 2 Timothy 2:21; Jude 1:21

Worship Resource

Austin French: Rest For Your Soul


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