In John 21:15, Jesus presented Simon Peter with a series of three questions in quick succession, questioning his true love for Jesus. Each time Jesus asked, “Do you truly love me?” Peter responds with, “You know I love you” as if to say, “Don’t be ridiculous Jesus.” But Jesus follows Peter’s response by instructing him on what to do for the believers, referring to them as sheep. Peter was to tend, care for, and spiritually provide for God’s people.
Jesus’ questions was getting to the heart of Peter’s love for Jesus. Did Peter truly love Jesus? If so, there was to be a response to that love. Especially since these questions came post-resurrection and soon Jesus would no longer be physically present with the disciples. It was a command based out of love. Jesus has also said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”
But, let’s play the “what if” game.
What if Peter started taking care of God’s people, not out of love for Jesus but because it gave him something to do?
What if Peter didn’t actually have compassion on those new and immature in faith, but only served them because it gave him a purpose in life?
What if Peter went about “feeding sheep” as a way to avoid feeling insignificant and unused by God?
What if Peter began to feel worthless because of his ongoing sin, and the more he “fed the sheep” the more he was trying to feel better about himself?
Thanks for playing, but unfortunately, this is the game that many young people (and many people in general) play and the lens they view their faith through.
But this is not what Jesus actually taught.
Our series continues with the fourth faith posture, based on Skye Jethani’s teaching, views that students can have of God.
FAITH POSTURE FOUR: LIFE FOR GOD
This view puts mission at the center of your Christian faith.
We have a tendency to communicate that God doesn’t exist to serve our needs, which is Faith Posture Three, but instead you exist to serve God. And the only route in life as a Christian is to figure out what your purpose is and to begin serving him through that mission. This will eliminate the feeling of insignificance and the fear you have of the world. The more you accomplish FOR God, the more you feel better about yourself and better you feel in this world.
In Skye’s teaching, he asked the question (11:00), “In the midst of my sin, how does God view me?” to a group of young people. The main response he received from everyone was “God is supremely disappointed in me, because of my ongoing struggle with [_______] sin.”
Despite the majority of these students grew up in a Christian home and attended a Bible-teaching church, they missed the correct answer to the question. That in the midst of their sin, God still loves you.
What is being taught is, what matters most is what we do for God. And we cannot do more for God until we can get a handle of the sin in our lives. We cannot be used by God if that sin exists.
It leads us to search for significance, driven to activism – caring for people. But, when this view is predominate in our mindset, we are not driven to care for people out of compassion or out of our true love for Jesus, but because we are searching for significance. We begin to search for value, which can only be found in what is being accomplished for God.
Again, this is not what Jesus actually taught.
This is the older son mentality from the Prodigal Son. We tell God all the ways we have been obedient, all the things we have done for Him. We tell him all the ways we have avoided falling into sin and done everything right. We tell God we have been with Him for most of our lives and done everything He has asked of us.
But the most important thing is not the obedience element of Jesus’ teaching from John 14:15. The most important is the love we have for Jesus. It is about the relationship we have with God. To simply want to be in God’s presence. Out of that love naturally comes obedience and service, but do we love Jesus first?
Next week, we will take a look at what it means to live a life WITH God.
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Never The Same
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