“Questioning God’s plan and purposes in the lives of others is a road that leads to spiritual death.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – July 20, 2023
Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” John 21:22, ESV
Rarely does a day pass in my home that I don’t hear the words “That’s not fair!” come out of one of my children’s mouths. From dessert quantities to screen time, my children are remarkably attentive to the habits and practices of their siblings, and nothing slips by their watchful gaze. As I think about my life as an adult, more often than I care to admit, I see similar patterns of behavior that threaten to rear their heads and set up shop in the dark corners of my heart.
Though you and I may be less concerned about a larger slice of cake or later bedtime, we are still far too often keeping a close eye on those around us. When a friend begins a home expansion or renovation, does it sow a seed of unrest in your heart? Does another friend’s brand-new car elevate your discontentment with your aging vehicle? Are you left frustrated or confused by the good health and long life of some people, while someone you love has suffered for years or even met an untimely end?
The list could go on and on, yet to each of these situations and countless others like them, our Lord Jesus looks at us today and says, “What is that to you?” These words may sound harsh or even patronizing, but nothing could be further from the truth! Jesus is not callous or indifferent to our pain or concerns, but like a good shepherd, he is trying to guide us away from danger and into places of safety.
Questioning God’s plan and purposes in the lives of others is a road that leads to spiritual death. It keeps our gaze set upon things that are entirely out of our control and not ours to fix, while at the same time ignoring that which lies directly in our paths: an invitation to take up our own crosses and follow Jesus. The work of self-surrender, daily dying to our distorted desires and returning to Christ, can and should be a full-time pursuit. Let’s keep our heads down, not worrying about others, but focusing on our response to Jesus’ invitation: “You follow me!”
Father, quiet my heart and steady my spirit, teaching me today to follow you, not looking to the left or right, but keeping my eyes set upon Christ and my ears attentive to his call. Amen.
In what ways has your concern over the behavior of others, or God’s work in their lives, distracted you from the way of discipleship upon which he is asking you to walk?
Vertical Worship: I Will Follow
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