"... Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?'" John 21:15a (NIV)
Do you ever wish God would appear in the flesh and tell you exactly what He wants you to do in a situation? I do.
Sometimes I wish He'd hand me a piece of paper with clear, step-by-step instructions written out and personalized for my specific circumstance. And then He'd stay for a little Q&A session where He'd tenderly answer all my questions with deep reassurances.
I guess some people would say that demonstrates my lack of faith. And maybe it does. Or maybe my heart just feels incredibly vulnerable with some decisions I have to make, and I desperately want to get it right.
I love the Lord so much.
I want to honor Him with my life.
But sometimes I feel Him stirring me to do something that's terrifyingly opposite of what I want to do. Left to my own choosing, I want to take the safe, certain and comfortable route. And then Scriptures march right up to my limited perspective and challenge me to walk a path I'd never choose on my own.
This question forces my eyes to glance toward that path: More than anything else, do you want to follow God and live His message?
Or even more deeply: Do you love Jesus and want Him more than anything else?
It's this question the resurrected Jesus asked Peter at a crucial crossroads in Peter's life. And gracious, do I ever relate to Peter.
He'd been following Jesus for years.
Then things got hard, just like Jesus told the disciples they would. Jesus gave them the clear hope to hold onto:
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world," (John 16:33, NIV).
But isn't it hard when what you see with your physical eyes seems contrary to what you believe in your heart?
Problems beg us to forget God's promises.
Peter denied Jesus because he feared the cost of following Him.
Then circumstances got really hard. Jesus was crucified and Peter took his eyes off that hard path of continuing in ministry. He went back to what felt safe, certain and comfortable ... fishing.
Then Peter got one of those visits from Jesus I wish I could have. Resurrected Jesus appeared in the flesh and could not have made it any clearer what He wanted Peter to ponder. With one question, He ruined Peter's justifications to stay safe.
"... Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?'" (John 21:15).
Do you love me more than these?
We've all got our own "these."
They are anything that make us look away from the less chosen path of following God with everything we've got.
So, back to my decision.
Last year, I wanted to quit ministry. Proverbs 31 Ministries had experienced tremendous growth and suddenly I felt enormous pressure that I wasn't smart enough, capable enough or resourced enough to lead this ministry.
Everything was bigger, which made me feel like everything was scarier.
The staffing needs.
Gathering up my fears, I presented a strong case to the Lord to give this assignment to someone else and let me quietly slip away. I set my sights on what felt more comfortable and safe and certain.
But Jesus' question ruined all my quitting plans: "Do you love me more than these ... more than your fears ... more than your desire to do something easier and less scary?"
So, here I stand, a girl with trembling hands wearing boots dusty from that uncommon path. I stand and proclaim, "Yes, Jesus, I love You more than these. I will live out the charge presented in Your Holy Word to, "Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching," (2 Timothy 4:2, HCSB).
I realize your struggles and decisions might not look like mine, but whatever they are, my team at Proverbs 31 Ministries and I are committed to meeting you at your point of need with the Truth that points you to God's best pathway for you.
I pray this devotion and all the others we send each day help you hold God's Truth close and more clearly discern God's direction for your day.
I'm determined to persevere. But I'm also determined to recognize I can't do this alone. Will you join us with your prayers and financial support?
This is so hard and honestly awkward for me to ask. But if I don't, you won't know Proverbs 31 Ministries depends on your support to do what we do each day.
I need your help and I thank you for letting me ask. Oh, how I wish we could have this conversation over coffee ... maybe one day. I would love that. But for now, if you can join us, please click here for more information. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Dear Lord, I want to declare today that I love You more than my "these." Thank You for reminding me to follow You even when it's difficult. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY: Deuteronomy 6:5, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND: What are your "these"? The things that keep you from following God with everything you've got? Once you've identified them, pray about handing them over to God.
© 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org