Monday, July 4, 2016

Scary Awesome Future

Scary Awesome Future
July 4, 2016
John 21:15  "When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you love me more than these.'"

It'd be great to know your future, wouldn't it?  Everyone has dreamed of this, desired it, even prayed for it.  Yet I doubt it has come to fruition, being allowed to know your future.  Life would be so much easier if we just knew what was in store, then we could walk into it perfectly, without struggle.  My guess is we'd pee our pants if we knew what was up ahead.  Think back twenty years ago.  If someone told you all the good and the bad that was going to happen to you, you'd probably try to make different decisions, avoiding what you didn't want to go through.  Consequently, you'd also be avoiding all the good the Lord desires from those difficult situations.  Think about Peter for a moment.

Jesus asked Peter if he love Him.  Peter resoundingly answered with a yes, each and every time.  Jesus questioned him several times about it, "Peter, do you love me?"  It actually frustrated Peter, why the Lord would be asking him.  Jesus was making sure that Peter was determined to love Him, no matter what.  It's easy to love Jesus when there is no sacrifice involved, when there is no stress or pressure in the room, no forces pulling you elsewhere.  Jesus was making sure Peter understood that true love for Him meant loving Him through adversity, difficulty, and self-sacrifice.  Peter was slightly arrogant with his "yes" response, just like you and I would have been.  But then real life was about to set in for Peter.  Jesus asked Peter to feed His sheep.  Peter was more than willing, thinking it would be easy.  It wasn't easy.  In fact Peter faced torture up ahead, all for the namesake of Jesus, just for feeding His sheep.  The only way Peter could make it through that situation was through determined love for Jesus.  It was a scary future that Peter might have tried to avoid if he knew what was really in store for him.  But it was awesome at the same time.

The story of success and the result of Peter's ministry is still echoing in our lives today.  The reward for Peter in Heaven was and is astounding, yet couldn't be had unless Peter traveled through the adversity, through significant self sacrifice that only came from loving Him.  Jesus knew Peter's future when He asked Peter to love and serve Him, but wasn't willing to share it with Peter.  Peter might have had second thoughts if he knew what Jesus was asking of Him.  All Peter knew was that he thought he loved Jesus.  Then later, he had to prove it.  It was scary what Peter went through, yet awesome at the same time.

Years ago, you promised to love the Lord, just like Peter did.  You also promised to serve Him, just like Peter did.  Are you serving Him now through the adversity?  Are you willing to serve Him if things get tougher, if there is self sacrifice involved?  Some of you wouldn't even serve the Lord had you to do it all over again, that's how difficult your life has been.  I understand.  Some of you think you love Him even now, but only because it is slightly comfortable.  There is more up ahead and the Lord isn't willing to share your future.  But He is asking you now if you love Him, if you truly love Him.  It is easy to say, but what He might have for you could be difficult.  Are you willing to love Him if He asks the seemingly impossible from you?  Are you willing to serve Him if He asks something dreadfully scary of you?  Are you willing to feed His sheep if it requires self sacrifice?  It's not me asking you, its the Lord.  What will your answer be to the question?  Will you arrogantly reply in the affirmative, but ignore Him when the time comes for the self sacrifice part?  Will you avoid the scary and inevitably avoid the awesome, just because you don't think it will be worth it?

If you could ask Peter if he'd do it all over again, I guarantee the answer would be a yes.  Reaffirm your love for Him today and be willing to go through the scary, because it will be awesome.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  John 21

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