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How to keep from being called Satan.

April 12, 2012

I am reading the story about the interaction between Peter and Jesus in Mark 8. I find it interesting that the previous stories in this section have to do with Jesus’ power, for example going back a few stories: Feeding of the 4000 (power to give life), Pharisees demanding a sign (power to deny earthly authorities), Blind man (power to heal).

Then we come to Jesus’ power to reveal the future, the disciples had been hard of understanding for a while now (notice Jesus isn’t as hard on them as He is on the Pharisees), but this time Jesus spoke so plainly they couldn’t help but understand. Peter pulls him aside and rebukes him and subsequently Jesus refers to Peter as Satan.

I don’t know about you, but I have processed that story over and over, wondering how I can avoid being called Satan by my Lord. Then it hits me, the last phrase in the verse “for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” That’s was Peter’s problem, that’s my problem. But Jesus never leaves us with a problem without a solution.

Jesus in the next paragraph turns and calls to the crowd “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me…” There we have it, the key to setting our minds on things of God takes self-denial. Self-denial is pretty simple if you think about it. We try to complicate it by adding rules and regulations that appear to “aid” in the task, but really detract from our willingness to deny ourselves.

Denying yourself means to deny yourself, pretty profound, eh? (and some people say I wasted three years at Seminary :P) It springs from a love for Jesus that exceeds our love for this world (or what this world can provide for me). This isn’t something that only monks do while taking a vow of silence, poverty or chastity. Self-denial means in all things, in every way Jesus comes first. How that fleshes out may vary from person to person or family to family, but one thing is for sure it will be noticeable to everyone around. For Jesus says “For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words…of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father…”

Lead with Love,

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