"He was trying to stop Jesus!" My mind was jolted by that remark in a recent sermon. It was not about a wicked person, but about a godly prophet: John the Baptist.
Matthew 3:13-14 – Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" (NIV)
Peter also tried to stop Jesus — twice!
Mark 8:32 – He spoke plainly about [His death], and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. (NIV)
John 13:8 – "No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet." (NIV)
Obviously, well-meaning people, including you and me, can try to stop Jesus — in other words, to resist or quench His Spirit. That thought got me praying, "O Lord, how do I resist You?"
Suddenly, I remembered how the previous day I had tried to rush a conversation so we could return to our task. At the time, I couldn't see this as an attempt to stop Jesus, but now I see it. I didn't want our plans to get delayed. But God, on the other hand, wanted to encourage a dear person through that conversation. In that episode, God's thoughts were definitely higher than mine.
Isaiah 55:9 – As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (NIV)
Because of our limited insight, we do try to stop God at times, even in our efforts to serve Him. John the Baptist tried to stop Jesus from getting baptized because it didn't seem right. Peter tried to stop Jesus from dying because it contradicted his expectations of a Messiah. He tried to stop Jesus from washing his feet because it felt too humbling. Isn't that the crux of the problem: difficulty seeing God's agenda in the circumstance?
Let's admit it: our comprehension of God's grand, eternal, covenant purposes is bound to be short-sighted. Furthermore, we are instinctively dictated by the here-and-now, our culture, our background, our expectations, our opinions, and our feelings.
God only knows what spiritual blindness, what hindrances cause us to resist Him. Thankfully, He does know! Just as He helped John the Baptist, Peter, and countless others to understand His way, so also He can help you and me. He can correct our faulty assumptions. He can open our spiritual eyes and remove our blindness.
Our job is to trust Christ's Spirit day by day to provide the correction and revelation that we need so that we can comply with Him. That in itself is a fulfillment of God's covenant purpose and plan: to build up a kingdom of mature followers for Himself.
Prayer: Dear Lord, we ask You for spiritual wisdom and revelation, so that we may know You better. Enlighten the eyes of our minds so that we may know the hope to which You have called us, the riches of Your glorious inheritance, and Your incomparably great power for us who believe. Amen.
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