Updated: Feb 17, 2022
We must take heed to throw away our spiritual rule books. We like having them because they give us a “cut and dry” picture of how we, and especially those around us, are to act. When a Christian brother or sister does things differently than we, we can turn to the rule book and find out exactly how they are supposed to be doing it. Then by golly, we can hold them to it! The only problem is, Jesus didn’t have a rule book and he didn’t give one to us.
There are many biblical accounts of Jesus doing things that were seemingly “against the rules.” He sat and ate with tax collectors, in that day the lowest of the low. He healed people on the Sabbath. He didn’t wash his hands before he ate. The list could go on and on.
“And John looked at Jesus as he walked.’” (John 1:36)
The longer we walk with Jesus the more we will learn and grow. The “growing” is often uncomfortable. Nevertheless, it is necessary.
As we walk with the Lord we should be like a horse wearing blinders, or blinkers. Many times a horse is given a pair of blinkers to prevent them from being distracted or anxious by what they would otherwise see. The blinkers block the horse’s peripheral vision on both their sides and back.
John walked with “spiritual blinders” on. He focused on Jesus and how he walked. He fashioned himself after Christ. He didn’t look at his fellow disciples, he kept his eyes on Jesus. From everything I’ve read about John, I see that he tends to be more on the quiet side. He followed Jesus quietly and obediently and he loved him deeply.
Now Peter is a different story. Peter loved the Lord too. But, Peter with his strong personality was boisterous, loud, exuberant, and often interfering. And wow! Do I ever relate to him! I think about the time that the soldiers came to the garden seeking to take Jesus. Before they could lay a hand on him, Peter drew his sword and cut off Malchus’, the high priest’s servant’s ear. But Jesus chastised Peter for his actions and healed the man’s ear.
We see when Peter questioned Jesus in John 21:21-22. “When Peter saw him, (John) he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” The bottom line here is that Jesus was politely telling Peter to mind his own business. Simply put, “you worry about yourself, and let me take care of John.”
In 1 Corinthians 11:1, we even see the Apostle Paul telling the Corinthians “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” In other words, Paul modeled or fashioned himself after Christ, therefore it was safe for him to tell others to follow him.
The Lord recently showed me something about myself. For quite a while I have been frustrated by a particular behavior in someone. Jesus has opened my eyes to the fact that I have been focusing on the wrong thing. Instead of keeping my focus, my vision, on Christ, and simply following him, my attention has been more on the “wrongdoing” of another and how it should/could be fixed. The more I looked at it the more frustrated I became. The alternative Jesus showed me is to keep my eyes on him, follow him, and I will become more and more like him. Then, like Paul, I can say, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Simply put, the Lord has shown me that I am to be a Godly example to others. By doing so, others will look at me and long to have what I have, which should be “Christ in me the hope of glory.”
In essence, when I recently asked Jesus about this wrong behavior in the other party, he said, “You worry about yourself, and let me take care of them.”
Whether or not their wrong behavior will change I do not know. But I know this… my heart must change. Jesus has shown me that it must. And I know that it is not in my power to change it. My part is to follow him, to give my heart to him in obedience and submission to his word and let him have his way with me. That is when the growing pains will stop and give way for deeper rest and peace in Christ.
“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart.” Psalm 24:3-4a