DON’T GET DISTRACTED
Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. … When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
The first thing you do after God speaks to you is critical. Jesus was telling Peter what type of ministry he’d have and what type of death he’d suffer (see John 21:18-19). It was a sacred moment in Peter’s life, as his Lord pulled back the curtain to his future. His life wouldn’t be easy but would nonetheless be ordained and blessed by his Lord and Master.
Rather than responding to what Jesus told him, Peter looked around at his fellow disciples. His glance fell on John, the disciple whom Jesus loved. “Lord, what about him?” Peter asked (v. 21). Peter had just been given the somber news of his future death, and his natural response was to compare his assignment with that of John. This is the great temptation of God’s servants: to compare our situation with that of others. Did God give my friend a larger house? Did God heal my friend’s loved one and not mine? Did God allow my friend to receive appreciation and praise for his work while I remain anonymous? Did God allow another Christian to remain close to her family while I’m far removed from mine?
Jesus assigned Peter and John to walk two different paths, but both Peter and John have enriched our lives. Jesus knew how dangerous it is when a servant takes his eyes off the master to focus on a fellow servant. The only thing that should matter to you is what God has called you to do. It doesn’t matter whether His plan for someone else looks preferable or His plan for you seems difficult.
Nothing you could ever experience, no matter how terrible or frightening, could ever separate you from the love of God (see Rom 8:35-39). No tribulation and distress you might ever suffer could be so intense that God’s love for you isn’t even more fervent. No persecution could be so painful that God’s love can’t bring comfort. Famine might starve you of food, but you’ll never hunger for the Father’s love. Poverty can’t strip you of God’s compassion, just as even death itself is incapable of robbing you of your Heavenly Father’s infinite love.
If you base your view of God’s love on your circumstances, you’ll become confused. There may be times when you’ll ask, “How could a loving God allow this to happen to me?” You may begin to question what you find clearly stated in the Word of God. God promised you’ll never be separated from His love; He didn’t say you’ll never face hardship, persecution, poverty, or danger. If you doubt that God can love you and still allow you to experience difficult experiences, consider the life of Jesus. If you allow the death of Jesus on the cross to forever settle any questions you might have about God’s love, you’ll approach difficult circumstances with confidence.
Knowing there will never be anything that can separate you from God’s perfect love, you’ll watch to see how God expresses His love in each circumstance. Don’t ever judge God’s love based on your circumstances or compared to other people’s circumstances. Instead, evaluate your circumstances from the perspective of God’s love. Where’s your focus? Have you become more concerned with the way God treats someone else than with the way He relates to you?
In what specific ways have you been comparing your circumstances to other people’s lives? How has comparison taken your attention off Jesus, distracted you from His work, and robbed you of His joy?
How does the promise that God’s love for you is greater than even the most difficult circumstances (see Rom. 8:35-39) give you hope and confidence? How will this promise help keep you focused on Jesus instead of on your circumstances?
What was the most meaningful statement or Scripture you read today?
Reword the statement or Scripture into a prayer of response to God.
What does God want you to do in response to today’s study? [Henry T. Blackaby, Richard Blackaby (2014). Seven Realities for Experiencing God – Member Book. LifeWay Press. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com]