It seems we are always looking over our shoulder at the other guy and wanting to know what their life is going to be like. We focus a great deal on the other guy’s destiny instead of focusing on what God had called us to in our life. In doing this we often block or slow down the progress of God’s purposes for us. It is true; we all have a bit of Peter in us:
The third time Jesus said to Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them…When Peter saw him, 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.” (John 21:17-23).
Jesus laid out for Peter his life purpose and destiny. He would lead the flock of God by teaching them the gospel and making disciples. He also revealed that Peter’s calling came with a great price, death. Indeed, Peter did die for his faith. But he will always be remembered as a great leader who preached boldly the word of God and God honored His calling by having many come to a saving knowledge and faith in Jesus Christ.
John, however, had a different calling. He wrote five books of the New Testament. He was a church leader in Jerusalem and eventually Ephesus. Later in his life he was sent in exile to the Island of Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelation. Unlike the martyred Peter, his life ended of natural causes. However, his life did not end in comfort. His mission also came with a very high price tag.
Both Peter and John had very specific missions and definitive ways to live them out. Both cost them greatly, but their mission to spread the gospel of Christ was one. While different in destiny, they both pressed on toward the goal for which God had called them heavenward in Jesus.
This is such a good lesson for those of us who are always looking over our shoulder and either wanting to be someone else or judging the destiny of another. Jesus’s stout words to Peter are also clearly commanded of us, “Follow Me!”
Paraphrasing Jesus’s words, He says, “Focus on Me, My friends. Your mission is important to Me and if you Follow Me as I have commanded you, then the fruit of your labors will be great and I will be glorified!”
Three ways to stop looking over your shoulder:
1. Discover God’s unique calling for your life by searching the scriptures.
2. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the gifts and passions He has given you.
3. Focus on those gifts and passions by learning more about them and then putting them into daily practice.
Concerning others, the only thing we are to do is to pray for them, love, serve, and encourage them. All else is of the devil. Remember, love does not envy, and coveting is a sin.
Who do you need to stop comparing yourself to? What unique calling has God called you to fulfill? How can you only follow Jesus?
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