Stephen and I have been going through a one-year Bible, and today I read the end of the book of John, when Jesus asks Peter if he loves him and then tells Peter to feed his sheep. I really love this passage and blogged about it before, and I was reminded again of how like Peter I am. After Jesus has instructed Peter to feed his sheep, Peter is still not content but looks at John and asks Jesus, “What about him?” Jesus replies, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” In other words, “Who is your focus? Is it John, or is it Me?” You must follow Me.
Last week at my church’s music camp I had 5 girls under my care, and I had ample time to discover their individual personalities. One girl in particular–we’ll call her Samantha–is a tattle-tale. She is constantly on the lookout for others to break the rules so she can then come to me and report it. She loves getting onto the other kids if she sees them doing wrong, and she constantly would look to me for affirmation of this behavior. But instead of affirming her for her policing of the entire group of children, I would tell her gently but firmly, “Samantha, you are not the leader here. You are not in charge of these kids. All you need to worry about is yourself.” She would sigh in great annoyance and say, “Yeah, but what are you going to do with them?”
Samantha reminds me a lot of myself. I hate to say it, but I have a feeling I was a lot like her when I was younger. I relished opportunities to please others, especially those in authority, and I felt that a good way to do that would be to find what others were doing wrong and report it. (How did I have any friends??) All it came down to was a desire for attention and a yearning to feel significant, to feel as though I measured up. I imagine this is how Samantha feels, and how Peter felt. We want so much to feel significant, to feel as though we measure up, but then we look around at other people and wonder how in the world we’ll ever make the grade. How could Peter, the one who denied Christ, be like John, the “disciple whom Jesus loved?” How could Samantha get attention unless she did so by pointing out the flaws of others? How can I ever feel successful in my weight loss when so many others are doing much better?
The answer is that we can’t do it, and there’s no need to even try. Just as Jesus exhorted Peter to follow Him, so also must I do the same. I don’t have to look at other people for my example; Jesus is the perfect One! I don’t have to worry about what other people think because it’s not them I’m trying to please. Paul wrote in Galatians 1:10, “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” If there’s anything I want, it’s to be bonded to Christ. But I can’t do that if I’m a slave to the world and its expectations. I can only serve one master, and Jesus is far better than anything the world has to offer. If I look to Him, I will be so blinded by His glory that I will see nothing else. So I fix my eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor. 4:18)
I must follow Him.