|"Get thee behind Me, Satan" - by James Tissot|
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Matthew 16:21-28
TO CHEW ON: "Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, 'Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to you!' But He turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind Me Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God but the things of men.'" Matthew 16:22,23
What a shock Peter must have felt when Jesus called him "Satan" and described his words as an offense (trap). Perhaps he thought, But Jesus, I was only trying to encourage You and draw You from these pessimistic thoughts about death.
Jesus, however, recognized the oily tone, the sneaky lie in Peter's words. (Compare what Peter said to what the serpent said to Eve way back: "'You shall not surely die…'" - Genesis 3:4.) Jesus scolded him for being unmindful of the things of God while mindful of the things of men. What are those things?
A word the Bible uses for the "things of men" is "carnal." Some things that characterize the carnal mind are:
- Preoccupation with this life - Psalm 49:11.
- Unwillingness to acknowledge God or bow to Him - Romans 1:28; 8:7.
- Living by our intellect - Ephesians 4:17.
- Pursuing different forms of spirituality - Colossians 2:18.
- Allowing the outlook of the world to taint and sully our thoughts and consciences - Titus 1:15.
- In Peter's case here it was denying the necessity of Jesus' death and resurrection—a temptation to abort God's plan of salvation.
Jesus told Peter he should be mindful of the "things of God." What are those things? They include:
- Preoccupying ourselves with God's word—what it says and how we can live it out - Joshua 1:8; Psalm 119:99.
- Recognizing and being thankful for God's "lovingkindness" - Psalm 48:9.
- Viewing ourselves realistically and through eyes of faith - Romans 12:3.
- Taking our thoughts in hand; directing them along routes of what is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, praiseworthy - Philippians 4:8.
- For Peter the things of God in this situation would have been to hear what Jesus was saying, and grasp the necessity of God's big plan and Jesus' role in it. With these insights he might have been better prepared for what was coming.
As I compare my thoughts and words with the two lists, I see that I often have a carnal, Satan-influenced mindset. Oh to recognize the difference and avoid these traps of thought that too often exit my mouth in words!
PRAYER: Dear God, please show me today where I am living by the "things of men." Help me to steer my focus toward the "things of God." Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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