Friday, April 11, 2008

Be who you are as you follow Christ

I was recently listening to a message from Bob George and he made an application from certain words of Jesus.
First, the passage of scripture:

17 Jesus said to him (Peter), "Feed My sheep. 18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish." 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me."

20 Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, "Lord, who is the one who betrays You?" 21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, "But Lord, what about this man?"

22 Jesus said to him, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me."

23 Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?" (John 21:17-23, emphasis mine)

In short, Jesus was forecasting Peter's future. And His direction to Peter was simply "Follow Me."

But Peter didn't seem to be satisfied with just knowing his own future. What about Christ's plans for that other guy, John ("the disciple whom Jesus loved")?

"But Lord," Peter asked, "what about this man?"

The application of all this, in my own words, revolves around Jesus' words to Peter, "what is that to you?" After saying this, Jesus repeated His words to Peter, "You follow Me."

There are a lot of people in the body of Christ, and we are to build one another up, encourage one another, love one another, and so on and so forth. But one thing we need not concern ourselves with is the specific plans that Christ has for others. In other words, our concern is to follow Christ. His life is in us and He has specific plans for us. We need to be who we are in Christ and let others be who they are in Christ. We need not be envious of what Christ is doing in others and we need not lord over others what Christ is doing in us. Since we're One body, our individual lives may very well intersect with each other as we follow Christ, but again, our main concern is to follow Christ. That is, to be concerned with His life in us.


  1. So very true. There are times when I feel I need to do something in order to impress other Christians or prove myself to them, which makes me feel rebellious actually. Then I'm reminded that I need not follow men but Jesus only. Thats music to my ears when you think about all the stuff man would have you do!

  2. Wow, this a blow to those with a "savior" complex. (me)

    You mean I am suppose to be focusing on my relationship with Christ and not theirs?

    I know this in theory but have a hard time not trying to "fix" people and point them in the right direction. Sometimes the great commision to "go" gets in the way of the "follow" for me. I think finding balance in this area of my life will always be hard to do. I forget that I am suppose to love and God does the fixing.

  3. Matthew... that really hits the heart of what I got out of Bob's message. There are a lot of controlling and manipulative people in the church (whether they mean it intentionally or not), and if we've had enough exposure to them it can be hard to shake the notion that we're here to follow them, and what they are doing. They may think they're doing God's will by trying to get us to conform, or they may simply have their own agenda that they want others to go along with.

    This can make us feel inadequate, and get us into that people-pleasing mode, and it does nobody any good. We're not ourselves.

    On the other side of the same coin, as Angela said, we ourselves may be the ones with the savior complex, and we can easily become overly 'concerned' about what's going on in the lives of others, and try to intervene and 'fix' them, not allowing for the Savior Himself to lead them as they follow Him.


    I agree, in theory this is plain and simple, but in practical application we still have our flesh and our savior complexes to deal with. I find this difficult mainly when it comes to kids. My own mindset as I raise our kids is to help them to grow and make their own decisions, and not just live by a set of rules that Dad gave them. I mean, they do have "rules" and "guidelines" but overall I don't want them to live in my reins but rather by the Spirit, and more and more so as they grow. Sometimes I find myself reacting quickly in ways that don't support my overall way of raising them. :)

    But I find it even more difficult when it comes to their friends. This school year we've seen a tremendous increase in the amount of friends who come over to our house. I love it, in that I can directly share the love of Christ with them. But at the same time, they have been raised differently than my kids, and they don't respond to me in the same way that my kids do, and I sometimes feel as if I'm not in "control" of my house and I find myself trying to "fix" their behavior instead of taking time to simply follow Christ and be an example for them.

    In the end, whether it's in my family, or in my house, or in church gatherings, or wherever, I want to be one who follows Christ and commits the lives of others to His care. I'm 'growing' in this, but I've definitely not arrived. :)

  4. Amen. I truly praise the Lord that we can have our disagreements and still find our delight in Him. Sometimes wonderful brethren have even bitterly disagreed like Paul and Barnabas and yet still served our same wonderful Lord. God works in mysterious ways and with a purpose to reconcile men to himself. How great and wonderful He is. I am so thankful for you and the gracewalk group of believers and know God will continue to work in our lives in a wonderful way. He is truly amazing.

    Grace upon grace,


  5. I have found in my own life that in a role of leadership sometimes people expect you to do all of the learning for them and just spoon feed it to them. Admittedly I do this.I recently noticed that I get "busy" water other people (out of sincere concern for what is going to happen to them, of course)that I am part of the reason they have shallow roots. Never giving them the opportunity to dig deeper into their own faith.

    Whatever name I give it; feeding, fixing, mentoring, or teaching it is a great distraction from my own faith walk.