John 21:21-22 NKJV
“Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?”” “Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.””
These verses recorded the interaction between Jesus and the Apostle Peter. Earlier in John 21, Jesus asked Peter 3 times whether he loved Him. This was a humbling reminder to Peter regarding the 3 times he betrayed Jesus. Yet, it was Jesus’ chosen way to restore Peter to Himself.
Now in John 21:21-22, Peter asked Jesus what would happen to John. Just like most of us, we like to know how other people would be dealt with. Sometimes, we like to compare our predicament against that of others. At other times, we like to see whether we fare better than others. Perhaps these may be to derive comfort or pity for ourselves.
Our Lord Jesus responded to Peter: “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?” In other words, we should leave it to Jesus as to how other people would be dealt with. It is His prerogative. It is not for us to judge whether it was fair; it is not for us to envy. Instead, our concern should be focussed on our relationship with Jesus.
Notice that Jesus simply said to Peter – “You follow Me.” Let your mind be occupied by how you are pursuing obedience to Jesus & His word. Don’t be distracted by what others do. Don’t be distracted by how God dealt with them. They will answer to Jesus for their actions & life. We are simply to fill your mind with Christ-centred thoughts. We are to seek His presence with us. We are to keep our eyes looking to Him. We are to be sensitive to what He is saying to us with each step we take. That is what we are called to do. Let us do just that. Jesus says: “You follow Me.”
1 Kings 18:15 – Then Elijah said, “ As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely present myself to him today.” (NKJV)
Elijah said “As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand….”. He was conscious that the LORD was God. He was convinced that God is alive. He was very conscious that he was living in the presence of God.
The Apostle Paul told the people of Athens in Acts 17:28 “..In him we live and move and have our being..” God is present wherever we are, even though we may not be conscious of it. But Elijah was keenly aware that he was living in God’s presence. His priority was that God should be pleased. He knew that his every action was seen by God. And if his enemies threatened him, his God would also be aware of his situation. As this resulted in Elijah being fearless of his enemies. He said “..I will surely present myself to him (the evil King Ahab) today. What will Ahab do to him? Elijah was not concerned. He knew that the presence of God will guarantee protection and the fulfillment of His will.
Are you conscious of God’s presence with you every moment of the day? Our sinful mind makes this impossible because we are constantly preoccupied with what pleases us instead of God. But Jesus has reconciled us to God. He has made constant communion with Him possible. Through repentance and faith, we can be aware of God’s presence. What sweet comfort that can bring us. Seek Him today for He says in Zech 1:3 “…return to me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you…”.
Questions for meditation:
1) What is the main cause of me not being conscious of the presence of God in my life? What am I doing about it?
2) What is the pre-occupation of my mind most of the time? Are the thoughts appropriate?
3) What can I do so that I have a greater consciousness of God’s presence with me?
What you can pray for:
Lord, help me be ever conscious of your presence with me & let this create a fear in me that will help me shun sin.
1 Kings 1:2-4 2. Therefore his servants said to him, “Let a young woman, a virgin, be sought for our lord the king, and let her stand before the king, and let her care for him; and let her lie in your bosom, that our lord the king may be warm.” 3. So they sought for a lovely young woman throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king. 4. The young woman was very lovely; and she cared for the king, and served him; but the king did not know her. (NKJV)
Abishag cared for David, served him & layed at his bosom. What a great temptation so conveniently presented to David – a young virgin, lovely and in such close proximity to him. But the bible clearly indicated that David had no sexual relationship with her. Is it because David was too frail to be aroused? This is possible since David had to be cared for. But the verse also appears emphatic to state that “..the King did not know her.” It is also possible that David had become wiser from the sins committed in his youth. The tragedy of his sin of adultery with Bathsheba in 2 Sam 11 probably lingered in his mind. He remembered how he attempted to cover his sin by plotting the death of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah. He remembered how God chastised him in 2 Sam 12 by taking the life of his son born from that adulterous relationship. And so he steered clear from the same sin. Have we learnt from the chastisements God brought upon us to keep us walking in His ways? Have we become wiser from the many traps of sin that we had previously fallen into?
Let there be no ambiguity that God had designed sex for enjoyment within marriage. When God’s will in this matter is compromised, there will always be undesirable consequences. Unhappiness came into Abraham’s household the moment he had a relationship with Hagar. Solomon had an unhappy period towards the end of his life. David’s life was never the same again when he compromised in that moment of weakness with Bathsheba.
Many people make excuses that sexual temptations in this era of the Internet are more pronounced & intense. In a sense, the are not wrong. Such temptations are more “accessible” compared to days of old. But let us also remember the words of Solomon – that “there is nothing new under the sun..”. Grave sexual sins were already rampant in the days of Sodom & Gomorrah. Satan would always want us to think that we are “short-changed”, having a raw deal & therefore deserving more leniency. Let us be reminded that this is exactly how he tempted Eve in the garden of Eden – “did God really say you shall not…”. In every era & age, there are many who stood firm in the face of temptation because they found more pleasure in the presence of God than the deceiving pleasure of sin. May God make us wise & strengthen us so that we can overcome.
Questions for meditation:
1) What have I done to awaken my affection for Christ?
2) What can my fellowship do to help each other avoid temptations?
What you can pray for:
1) that I may overcome the deceiving pleasures promised by sin by having a greater & sustaining delight in God…
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19 NKJV)
Earlier, we saw how the Apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesians in Eph 1:17-21. It did not end there. He continues his supplication for them. From Ephesians 3:14-19, he bowed in prayer asking for the following 3 things for the Ephesian Christians:
- that God would grant them…to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,
- that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith;
- that they…..may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Are these what we ask for in prayer as well? Let us learn to turn our prayers from “petitions for earthly outcomes” to supplications of heavenly desires, that our minds may be set on things above and not things on the earth. May God teach us how to pray.
15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. (Ephesians 1:17-21 NKJV)
How do we pray? What should we pray for? What does your church pray for during prayer meetings? For Jane’s recovery from illness, for Jim’s job, for Jenny’s travels, for Jack’s studies, etc? Don’t get me wrong. God is interested in every detail of our lives. But observe the 5 things that the Apostle Paul asks for in his prayers for the Ephesians in Eph 1:17-21
- that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ …may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” (v17)
- that “the eyes of your understanding may be enlightened” (v18);
- That “.. you may know what is the hope of His calling” (v18)
- that you may know “… the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (v18)
- That you may know ..”the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places…” (19)
Why does the Apostle Paul ask for the above 5 things for the Ephesians? Because when we have the above 5 things, our perspective towards God, prayer & everything in this life will be totally different. Our petitions will not be man-oriented but God-centred. Our motivations will be “for His glory” and not ours.
Isn’t this how did our Lord Jesus taught us to pray? …”Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” It’s all about God and not us. When we have sorted out that priority, we will also understand what Jesus meant when He told us “..seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto us..” May God teach us how we should pray.