When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” John 21:21‑22 (NIV)
I don’t know about you, but when I’m in church, an annoying habit plagues me. You might ask what kind of bad habit one could have in church. There are many, but my big one is listening for other people.
It starts innocently: maybe someone I know struggles with a situation, addiction, or hurtful attitude. I want to help. My problem is that when the pastor speaks, I filter the message through their situation rather than actually listening to God, who is speaking to me. It is a subtle sin, brilliantly disguised by the enemy to keep me from seeking God’s will for my own life.
Peter wanted to know what would happen to the Apostle John. He asked this question right after Jesus had instructed him three times to feed His sheep, indicated that Peter would face a martyr’s death, and told him to follow. Surprisingly, Peter still felt the need to compare his own situation with John’s rather than focusing on Christ’s call to him. Jesus’ response was, frankly, “mind your own business.”
How do I tell when I am listening for someone else and not for me? Thoughts like, if only So‑and‑So could hear this, or this message would be perfect for So‑and‑So, send me on mental rabbit trails. I imagine what God wants for them. All the while, I miss His voice saying, “You must follow me.”
Lord, your ways and your thoughts go so far beyond my own. Help me mind my own business, trusting you to work in others just as you do in me.
© 2013 Katherine A. Fuller