It’s Personal

 Peter turned around and saw the disciple Jesus loved following them — the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who among us will betray you?”  Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?”  Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You follow me.”   —John 21:20-22

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God’s plan is personally designed for each of us.  Although we all travel life’s journey according to the roadmap God has personally planned for each of us, our experiences will be different; for some the road may seem easy and for others it may be rough and less traveled.   Yet, there is a natural tendency to want to know God’s plan for others in your inner circle and the road to destiny they must travel. Many even go as far as to speculate, evaluate, and assess someone else’s qualifications and anointing to carry out their Kingdom assignment. For example, you can probably relate to Peter’s concern in the above scripture. Imagine the scene.  It’s time for Peter’s restoration due to his denial of  being in relationship with Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75).  During the process of restoration Jesus quizzes Peter about his love for Him and gives him specific instructions, “Feed my sheep.”

After being asked the third time, Peter obviously grieved and disturbed by Jesus’ persistence and responds emphatically by noting Jesus’ omniscience.  (The third time signified his restoration, which eradicated his three-time denial of Jesus).   Jesus continued by revealing to Peter his death, and how he would die as a martyr for the glory of God.  Really!  You can imagine that was not the most exciting news to receive after being affirmed and restored for ministry!    However, it should remind us that Kingdom assignment is not always THAT glamorous—there is a cost!  More important, it reminds us of God’s grace when we fail in our faithfulness to Him.  He is a God of restoration.

After receiving “in part” his revealed destiny,  and God’s will for him, naturally, Peter wanted to know if he was going to be the only one to encounter such unpleasantness, to say the least.  Since the beloved disciple was nearby, Peter asked, “What about him?”  In other words, what is your plan for John? What’s going to happen to him? How is he going to die?   It was no secret that John was referred to the “beloved” disciple.  We had a name for it back in the day: “Teacher’s pet.”

Beloved, this is the perfect example of childish and immature behavior when it comes to Kingdom assignment and God’s agenda.  Jesus’ perfects everything that concerns us individually while orchestrating life events to bring His plan and purposes to pass.  He wants us to focus on our own personal relationship and obedience to Him. Basically, (paraphrased) Jesus was saying to Peter,  this is not about John. This is about my will for you. My will for John is none of your business. YOU follow me. I’ve given you your assignment and revealed my plan for you.  So don’t worry about him. What I have and want for John is between him and Me.  You just stay focus on what I’ve assigned to you, and follow my plan for you, Peter. (Italic is my paraphrase). Wow! Talk about a slap on the wrist (rebuke).

In today’s Christian culture  some church leaders would have been highly offended if the senior elder (pastor, bishop) had rebuked them like that.  Many would have gotten so upset that they would have moved their membership.  Ha! You know it’s the truth!

Although it’s the natural human instinct to be inquisitive about God’s plan and purpose for others, it’s not what God wants.  We are too easily distracted from our personal relationship with God, or what He has destined for our life when we focus on His will and plan for others within our circle.

Knowing the details of God’s plan or will for others stimulates the fleshy appetite for covetousness, jealousy, envy and even strife.  We should never compare personal ministry gifts or assignments to others. Looking at others and questioning God’s will and plan for their lives distracts us from what God has destined for us individually. You’ve heard the cliché, “It enough work for everybody.”  The truth is we should all be about God’s business— working together to advance His Kingdom, all for the glory of God.  There is a song, “What God has for me is for me.”  This is true, but do we really believe it?

Perhaps Peter’s curiosity about John was out of genuine love and concern since Jesus assigned him leadership responsibility for the church.  Yet, leadership responsibility does not justify questioning  God’s will and plan for someone else in comparison to yours.   Think about Jesus’ reply to Peter, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”  YOU follow me.” 

This lessons teaches that it’s about your personal relationship with the Lord.   Your primary focus should be doing His will…carrying out your assignment, and fulfilling your purpose and destiny regardless of what it is, or how painful it may be.  And the good news is that He will never leave you nor forsake you.  However, you must trust Him; follow His lead, and obey His commands.

Consequently, Peter carried out his assignment.  He preached with power and authority; he wrote with inspired conviction about suffering for the glory of God. It’s obvious in his epistles ( 1 & 2 Peter) that he accepted God’s plan and will for his life.  Also, John carried out his assignment (Gospel of John, the epistles: 1, 2 & 3 John, and Book of Revelation), being the “beloved” disciple qualified him to convey the message of love.  As a matter of fact, the other disciples, even Judas Iscariot carried out their mission.  And now, we can all benefit and learn from them through the inspired Word of God.

Although it is a natural tendency to be concerned about God’s plan for someone else’s, I encourage you to stay focused on what God has planned for you.   It is my prayer that God’s plan for YOUR life is revealed, and that YOU complete YOUR personal assignment in the Kingdom to the glory of God alone.

Shalom.

(c)2010. Originally posted, “Not your business”

Revised post (c) 2013. All rights reserved.

There is Light!

ImageWhen we don’t, or can’t see how things will “work out” the inclination is to say, “Forget it! What’s the use.” We think our only option is to give up.  Often others try to persuade us to see things from their viewpoint, or look at the brighter side, they tell us. But sometimes when all around you is darkness, you feel there’s no brighter side…there is no light at the end of the tunnel, it’s only a cliche. But there is! There’s a Light shining brightly. But you can’t always see it with the natural eye.  Sure, this life brings unexpected challenges, unbelievable conditions, and unimaginable calamities…. But is it really the time to give up?  Or could it be a time to step up and look up— a time to stop, reflect within and ask, “What am I to learn from this? What direction should I take that will lead me on the right path to purpose?  After you ask these questions, then listen for the answers to come from within, and watch for the answers to be revealed from without in the many ways the Great Power of the Universe chooses to speak.    But giving up…? Perhaps not.  Coming from another perspective—a more spiritual one, we can’t be so quick to give up   Think about this. It’s a perspective from Pamela McQuade that I agree wholeheartedly with:

When we are facing dire troubles, God never deserts us.  As life ebbs away, He does not step back from our need.  No, the Eternal One guides us every step of the way, whether life is joyous or discouraging.  God never gives up on you and never fails you.  So don’t give up on yourself.

Be encouraged!  There is a Light!  I pray that you will see it so that it will dispel the darkness that surrounds you, and that you will experience true happiness, and peace.  You deserve it. Don’t give up on yourself, and don’t give up on Life and Truth.