Fall in line

PROFESSIONS OF FAITH

Get behind me, Satan

Mark 8:33

What is the setting or context of this comment in Mark 8:33? Jesus warned the disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees in 8:15. Then in Mark 8:22-26, Jesus heals a blind man. As Jesus and His disciples are on the road, He asks them, “Who do men say that I am?” Peter replies, “You are the Christ;” meaning, the anointed of God.

Peter had seen the power exhibited by Jesus when He fed the four thousand and they had seven baskets left over. He had watched as Jesus spoke to the Pharisees with power and authority. Peter then saw the blind man being healed and comes to the conclusion, anyone with this kind of power and authority must be of God and from God. He goes on to answer the question of who Jesus is.

The area that Peter falls down in is the purpose of Jesus and the will of God. Peter, like many others, was looking for a savior who would deliver them (the Jews) from anyone who

oppressed them; especially the Romans. The disciples confessed to this hope in Luke 24:21, “But we were hoping it was He who was going to redeem (deliver) Israel.”

Apparently Peter held on to the belief that Jesus would restore the power and rule of Israel. Jesus rebukes Peter by saying, “Get behind Me, Satan. For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Jesus had just told His disciples that the “Son of Man” (Jesus) was going to suffer many things, and be rejected by the chief priest, elders and scribes, and be killed and after three days rise again. Peter heard with his ears but couldn’t comprehend with his mind. He was still focused on a messiah who would work (in a physical way) to restore the rule of Israel.

We are all like Peter at times; we have a dream or vision of what we think God’s will is. Sometimes we get so busy with our lives and plans that we fail to see the writing on the wall, like when God spoke to Belshazzar. We begin to make our plans into God’s purposes instead of seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, Matthew 6:33. Many times the problem isn’t that we are being disobedient, but we make our purpose into God’s will. Here are some things we can do to keep us focused on God’s will and purpose.

Number one: Read God’s word looking for His direction.

Number two: Pray for God’s direction each day, even as you read His word.

Number three: Look for God’s direction in providence, the way things happen. Are the things you are trying to accomplish always turning into a bad situation? At least consider if God is trying to tell you something.

Number four: Carefully consider the opinions of others, their ideas and criticism. Criticism of any kind can cause us to grow spiritually and mentally as individuals. It causes us to think, examine, and study why we think what we do!

Number five: Whatever I think God’s will or purpose is, is it ultimately going to bring glory unto God or man? Glorifying God must be our focus!

Number six: Ask the question; is my plan or purpose contrary to God’s revealed will in the Bible? I don’t need to seek God’s direction to know if I should violate my marriage vows and commit adultery. Many times we simply need to submit to God’s purpose, plan and will for our lives as revealed in His word.

Number seven: How will my plans (which I think are God’s will) going to affect those around me? If God gave you a family to care for, then be diligent and don’t shirk your responsibility! Don’t desert your family to go to the mission field if God made you responsible for them.

May God give us wisdom to understand His will and the desire to accomplish it!

Comments or questions, contact me at: thoughtsonword@gmail.com.

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Lyndon Stimeling, of Richfield, has been writing about faith and family for many years. He has self-published two books, “Common Thoughts on The Word” in 2016 and “Eye of a Needle” in 2017. He has also had articles published in The Coming Home Journal and local newspapers and has written a children’s book.

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