Following Christ in His terms
Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being... Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. Matthew 16:15-17, 24-25
When you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have to live your life in His terms. This means that you have to follow Him and be involved in His activity. You are not to create your own activity and ask Him to join you. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). After He called on His disciples to remain in Him and follow His will for their lives, Jesus said this: “You didn’t choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). Following Jesus requires that you follow Him in His terms. This is what Peter missed after he made a declaration as to who Jesus is. “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Then when Jesus explained to them what the Father’s plan for His life and that it will include suffering on the cross, death and burial, Peter took him aside. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” (Matthew 16:22). Jesus strongly rebuked him. “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s” (Matthew 16:23). Jesus has no other agenda but to fulfill what the Father has called Him to do. In his reprove to Peter, it showed that He does not seek his counsel or opinion about which direction He thinks is proper as He shows His obedience to the Father. This is an example that every believer should follow. God already knows what is best for your life without ever having to consult with you. When you are obedient following Jesus, He will lead you to see those who were formerly spiritually blind and now have the joy of coming to see God for the first time. He will let you see lives that were broken, made whole and those who grieve, comforted. You will feel the compassion of Jesus as He weeps over those imprisoned in sin. As you grow following Him, there will be moments that you will find it easy to follow Jesus. But there will be times that you will be tempted to take the route seemed to be easy to take rather than the one He set for you. Following Jesus includes going through difficult situations, a storm or standing on a precipice. When you find yourself in such circumstances, there is a temptation to bail out. When this happens you are following Jesus on your terms not on His terms. Return to Him, it should be strictly under His conditions for He is God and you are not. That is the only way you can follow Him because He alone can give you that will satisfy your life not only in this world but in the life to come. “But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 16:26).
Noel De Guzman Westside Baptist Church Los Angeles, CA