Jesus said to him, “If I want him to stay alive until I come [again], what is that to you? You follow Me!”
JOHN 21:22 AMP
As we begin 2017, many of us have resolved to do things a little differently. Some of us have vowed to eat better or to exercise more. Others have resolved to spend more time with family and friends. Many Christians have set their sights on being more diligent with their quiet time, more generous with their finances, and more forgiving of their neighbors.
All of the above are respectable and honorable resolutions. Yet as I read John 21 the other day, God showed me a resolution that, if we were to choose it, would more than encapsulate all the above. It would also change the world.
The resolution? Follow Jesus.
Even more, follow Jesus without worrying about the differences between the path He chooses for you and the paths He chooses for those around you.
You see, after the famous, “Simon, do you love me?” exchange, Jesus also told Simon by what way he would die. Of course, as we humans tend to do, Simon immediately asked Jesus about someone else. He asked the infamous, “But what about him?!”
Haven’t we all asked this very same question? What about her? Why does she get blessed so immensely while I suffer? What about him? Why doesn’t he get disciplined for his hypocrisy? What about them? Why do they have multiple children while I would love just one?
What about her? What about him? That’s not fair! Such questions and declarations plague our faith walk and take our eyes off the Lord by placing our focus on ourselves and on other people instead of where it should be: on our Savior. When we begin to compare ourselves and our circumstances with those around us, we also hinder God’s ability to work in and through us effectively. God doesn’t want us to focus on what we think He should or should not allow in the lives of others; He wants us to focus on Him–and trust He’s capable of taking care of everyone else as well.
He wants us to trust His ability to be God.
For this reason I love Jesus’response to Peter’s question: “What’s that to you?”
What’s that to you? Ouch. I sure would have loved to have seen Peter’s face at that rebuke. It probably would have looked like mine if I had been the recipient of those words from my Lord: a combination of shock, disbelief, hurt, and recognition of the harsh reality of those words.
Truly, what is it to us how Jesus chooses to work in someone else’s life? If God chooses to allow a friend to receive a different blessing than you, then so be it. You follow Jesus. If God allows certain struggles to come your way while others appear to skirt the storms, what’s it to you? You follow Jesus. At the end of your life, God’s not going to judge you according to how you compared with others; He is going to judge how you followed Him. No one can walk the path God has planned for you except you. And you cannot and should not desire to walk anyone else’s path but your own.
Therefore, join me in making it our desire this year to follow Jesus. Follow Jesus–just Jesus–not anyone nor anything else. Let’s fix our eyes on Him and seek Him first. God promises never to leave us nor forsake us, so we must commit to follow Him wholeheartedly, even if the way He leads us is different and more difficult than the way He leads those around us.
Let us not waste time looking to the left or the right and wondering, “What about him?” No. Rather, let us redeem the time; let us look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of the faith. Let us reach out our hands to Him as He reaches out to us declaring, “You follow Me.”.