“You are a stumbling block to me;
you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
I was reading in Matthew 16 today and this jumped out at me. Jesus was speaking. “You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” I had just been praying…telling God that I needed more of Him, and confessing that I hadn’t had my mind and my heart in the right place. I haven’t been studying the Bible like I usually do. I haven’t been praying with the normal focus and concentration. I’ve been going through the motions, but my mind and my heart have been in other places…distracted by a number of things, human things.
So maybe this is why, after a morning acknowledging my wayward heart and asking God to give me HIS heart, after asking God for a higher, better focus for my life, this passage leapt off the page at me.
The passage is a familiar one, but I had stopped short, I had missed this part of it, and more importantly, I had missed what this passage had to do with me.
It’s the passage where Jesus tells the disciples that He will have to die and be raised again and Peter says, “NO way!” (essentially).
“Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
23 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.”
“Get behind me, Satan!” That’s the point where I usually stop. It’s a shocking statement and therefore the one we most easily remember. And God said it to Peter, so that’s not about me, right? Poor Peter. He got it all wrong. He didn’t get Jesus or His mission…
Today I saw it differently. This isn’t about Peter, it’s about me. I am a stumbling block to the Lord and His work in my life because I do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.
It didn’t seem like Peter had his mind on earthly things. He was wanting Jesus to reign! But He wanted Jesus to reign in his way, in a way of power and success. He was thinking of immediate results, immediate glory. He was thinking of ease. Jesus was planning to reign, but to reign eternal, and to get there, He was going to have to suffer and die. God’s way wasn’t one of ease, but of sacrifice.
It doesn’t seem to me like I have my mind on earthly things when I ask God to reign in my life, either, but I am like Peter. So often, I want God to reign in me in a way that brings me power, success and ease, when God is telling me that the way for Him to reign in me is for me to suffer, die to self, and sacrifice. If I want God’s power in my life, I need to be sure that I’m not a stumbling block to Him. I need to be sure that He’s not having to tell me as He once told 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.”
The thing is, when Jesus suffered and died, he conquered death, rose again and did reign supreme and in power from on high after that. There is ease in Heaven, but the road there was different than what Peter expected. Should I be surprised to find the same thing happens in my life? I want the power of the resurrection, but death always precedes resurrection. There can be no resurrection without death—there’s nothing to resurrect. And resurrection life is always higher than pre-resurrected life. When Jesus resurrected, He was no longer bound by life and death; He was above it. If we are to set our hearts on things above, we must focus beyond life to resurrection.
I want to know the power of His resurrection in my life, and for that to happen, I need to be cooperative (not resistant) when He tells me that the way is one of death. And the only way for that to happen is for me to set my mind on things above. I need an eternal perspective, a focus on God’s end game, not my immediate comfort. When I do that, I begin to want better things, things that are more in line with what God wants.
When God says the way is one of death, let me not say, “Never, Lord,” but rather, “Show me the cross…and if you’ll give the hammer and nails, I’ll put myself upon it.”
Colossians 3:1-2, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (emphasis added)
Matthew 6:30-34, “30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (emphasis added)
 Ok – It is about Peter, but it’s not only about Peter.