Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Call Me on It

I was buzzing along planning for upcoming meetings and teaching and experienced a bit of anxiety when I realized some responsibilities that were falling my way. As I began praying over these ministry challenges, God drew me up short. “Why are you so fearful? Who are you trying to please?” And in that flash I realized my fear was because I was thinking about having to impress certain people and being afraid that I would come up short. And I glimpsed in that moment how easy it is to please God – just do what he says!!! He has no hidden agendas, just simple instructions to obey. Without the added pressure of also having to please others, ministry is simple. Ministry is a light burden just as Jesus said.

Now I’m really good at teaching about fearing God and not man. Invite me to teach and I’ll give you an hour just on this subject. But, I just found myself trapped in the fear of man! The fact is I continue to need my faithful teacher to point out when my thinking and behavior don’t line up with truth I know. We see Jesus doing this with the disciples.

Jesus had taught the disciples that they needed to take up their cross to follow him (Matt 10:39). Great teaching. But when Jesus talked to the disciples about going up to Jerusalem to be crucified, he was rebuked by Peter, “Never, Lord. This shall never happen to you” (Matt 16:22). Jesus’ teaching on the cross was great teaching, but not just words. Jesus really meant them. Peter’s response revealed that his own thinking was very far away from taking up his cross. How could Peter take up his cross when he didn’t even think Jesus should take up his cross! So Jesus called him on it in front of all the disciples! And He repeated the cross teaching in this context closer to the impending reality of the cross.

I’m no different from the disciples. I love Jesus’ teaching. I sacrificially follow him and share his teaching with others. But I still need his regular input and correction. Jesus, I invite your loving instruction and rebuke. I really do want to walk in your ways and live your Word. So I’m saying today, “Call me on it, Lord.”

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