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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Cost is My Life

Very truly I tell you, 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!” (John 21:18-19).
 
 
       I am getting closer to the age when I may not be able to dress myself, and where someone else will lead me. As we all get older we face the fact that independent living will lessen. Someone else will probably be more responsible for our well-being. In John 21:18-19 Jesus uses this example of age to indicate to Peter the cost of commitment. Earlier in chapter 21 Peter has proclaimed his obedient devotion. He has told Jesus three times that he loves him, and in response Jesus has told him to feed His sheep.  Now in verse 18 Jesus tells Peter what that obedient love will cost him, and what his promise to feed the sheep really entails. Jesus compares Peter's life up to this point with what lies ahead. Peter has been rebellious at times throughout his years with Jesus, and now Jesus informs him what true commitment will cost him. Everything. Complete and absolute surrender. Jesus tells Peter that when he is old he will stretch out his hands, and someone else will dress him and lead him where he does not want to go. This is an explicit contrast between Peter's self-willed life, and his life coming under the will of the Master. He has just submitted his will, and now Jesus says such submission is going to include being taken where he does not want to go.
 
    The next statement from Jesus is a call to Peter to make good on His promise to love the sheep. Jesus says,“Now follow me, and I will be responsible for you, Peter. I will take care of you, but it will cost you everything. It will cost your life.” Christ, the Good Shepherd laid down his life for the sheep, and now Peter must give all of himself for the Master. In submitting his will to God, Peter’s death, like Jesus’ death, shall be the will God. In I John 3:16 and 4:18 we read that in the death of Jesus the glory of God is revealed. God gave His Son for mankind. This is the greatest love-laying down your life for another. In John 21:19 Jesus predicts that Peter’s death will also glorify God.
 
    Death to self-will glorifies God. I must love God no matter what it costs. I must love God no matter what I want. I must be willing to walk the road of discipleship and not look back. I must discover my joy in His service, because I serve Him from a sold-out heart.  I give Him all of myself, and all the things I do for Him. Praying with people, taking time for others, loving those who are unlovable, believing in another’s potential even though nothing seems to change, sharing faith when it is easy and when it is hard, teaching God’s Word, having a teachable spirit, encouraging when I am tired, studying the Bible....these all things I do because I love Him.
 
    A sold-out attitude is not “oh, well, I must do this for Christ.” I do what I do for Jesus because I love Him for loving me-for saving me from my self.  How can I have a miserable attitude when He has given all for me? How can I be sad or bitter if He lives in me? I want to give Him all as Peter gave his all in the end. In that surrender I find joy that is indescribable, and peace that is only real when it is found in His will for my life. If I always serve Christ remembering what service cost Him, then I will know His joy. He is the Vine, and I am the branch. He is the life that flows through me only when I give Him all of me. In giving all of myself to Him, I discover in the good and bad circumstances of my life, that serving Him is the greatest reward.
 

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