And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He spoke this word openly. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
The call to Ministry is a difficult call. Even those who support your Ministry and appear to understand your purpose may question what God has called you to do.
In this passage, at first glance, it appears Peter was expressing his concern for Jesus’ well being. In our flesh we would think:
- He’s only trying to protect Jesus
- He is looking out for Him
- He is protecting Jesus from Himself
BUT, Jesus quickly rebukes him and tells the enemy to get behind Him! Jesus was discussing God’s Will, not the Disciples will. God’s Will is sometimes very hard for our flesh to handle. Peter’s flesh automatically responded when he heard Jesus speak of his murder. Peter was a disciple. Peter was a friend. Peter was concerned and afraid. Peter experienced a flurry of emotions that came from his flesh.
How many times have our friends persuaded us to step outside of God’s will? Do we rebuke them? Or do we concede to our flesh and say “maybe you are right.” Our flesh can be very weak. It’s important that we stand strong and recognize who is in our circle. Who is speaking through your friends? Is it the enemy trying to distract you from God’s Will?
This can be difficult to decipher. Later in the passage Jesus describes discipleship. He knows the walk will not be easy. But He asks, “What do you benefit if you gain the whole world and lose your own soul”. Let’s break it down:
- What’s the benefit if you sleep with him, pass away, and quickly face your Master?
- What’s the benefit if you take a job paying twice your salary, but takes you away from your ministry?
- What’s the benefit to gain everything you’ve ever wanted. You get your house, husband, children, high paying job, etc. but pass away and enter hell for eternity.
Is it worth it? Is there anything in this world worth not seeing the Kingdom of God? The answer, of course is, no! Everyday we must battle our flesh. We have to give up the desires of our flesh and fully commit to following Christ. This can be soooooooo hard, because our flesh is selfish. It wants to do whatever makes us feel good. It does not consider our future. Christ considers our future and forgives our past. The enemy wants us to forget the future and focus on how to please ourselves today.
It’s very important to recognize the enemy in everything, even in members of your circle. Jesus quickly recognized the enemy. He recognized him in Peter within a matter of seconds (maybe sooner). Are we able to recognize the enemy within our circle as quickly?
I pray that we recognize the enemy pulling us away from the will of God. I pray that I pay attention to who is in my circle. Who is in my ear? What are they saying? Does it conflict with the word of God? Does it conflict with my purpose? If so, the enemy should be called out and rebuked immediately.
So I ask, Who’s in your circle?