Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Things of God

"You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”  Mark 8:33

The words of Jesus often hit me right between the eyes. Calling them profound is an understatement, but that’s exactly what they are: truthful, weighty, thought-provoking. Like a knife to the heart, yet delivered with grace.

When Jesus speaks these words to Peter: "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men,” they are meant to be a rebuke, but the curious thing is that Peter was trying to do a very noble thing. Jesus is telling the disciples the time of His death is near, and Peter steps in to say, ‘Don’t say that!’  He doesn’t want to hear any talk about Jesus being defeated. That isn’t the plan. That can’t happen, and Peter isn’t afraid to set Jesus straight.

But as is often the case, Jesus isn’t swayed by human emotions. He understands where Peter is coming from, but He can’t accept his way of thinking. It’s short-sighted and counter-productive. Jesus came to teach and demonstrate the love of God. That was His purpose, His destiny, His way of telling the world that God's mercy extends to all. To put it mildly, taking that away made no sense to Jesus.  He uses stronger words: “Get behind me, Satan!”

When I read these words a few days ago, I knew Jesus was speaking them to me too, in a variety of ways. And while there is that element of rebuke in bringing my thinking into alignment with God’s, there is also a great deal of freedom in knowing the burdens of my heart are of little significance in light of God’s perfect ways. What I see as hardship, confusion, failure, pain, loss, and negativity, He sees as opportunities for grace, redemption, glory, love, and hope.

The mind of man is unreliable and short-sighted, lacking in understanding and proper perspective. But the mind of God is always perfect. The things of God are good, intentional, and higher than our own ways could ever be.

In what ways are you allowing your mind to dwell on the things of man? Do you need a heavenly perspective? Is your heart bound by human emotion and despair, or are you living in the freedom of His grace? Are you trying to be in charge, or are you letting Him be?

It can be tough to let go of what we think is best, but it’s the best thing we can ever do. For ourselves and for those around us. You were worth His life, so you can trust Him with yours.

"My purpose is to give life in all its fullness." John 10:10 (NLT)