Tripping Jesus.

“Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Matthew 16:23 (NIV).

It happens often in the life of faith. We are following Jesus but suddenly and subtly we veer off into a way of thinking and being that drives us to search for ways to use God in order to promote our own interests. Remember Peter? He had his own way of thinking about bringing forth the Kingdom of God and how Jesus should ascend to power. Maybe he didn’t realize it until Jesus (in Matthew 16) started describing how things would go down. Maybe he didn’t realize what lay within himself until he blurted out, “never Lord.” After all, he was only trying to protect Jesus; persecution, torture, humiliation, and death weren’t in his plans for bringing in the Kingdom of God. How could they be in anyone’s plans? Well, it turns out such was God’s plan.

Peter was a stumbling block to Jesus. Does God trip over us?

Are we confusing human concerns, our concerns, with God’s concerns? Are we so foolish to think that our ways of doing things are necessarily God’s ways? We start to get presumptious. Our ego and its desires, our way of bringing in God’s kingdom, are not always God’s way. And we get frustrated with God when he doesn’t do what we want when we want it and how we want it. We throw tantrums.

You see this is true with Christians leaders, in poiltics, within our families, and within ourselves. Before we dogmatically declare that our way of doing something is Christ’s way, let us check with the Lord, with a discerning Christian community.

May we not trip Jesus up in our eagerness to do God’s work.

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