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But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Mark 8:33

I remember hearing a story about a young couple who lived in a small town in theMidwest. They were high school sweethearts and went away toBibleCollege. One day as they spoke of their future together they both realized they had a desire to go to the foreign mission field. They prayed about it, talked to some close friends and when they were quite certain that this was indeed a ‘calling of the Lord’, went home to tell their parents.

This news was not taken well by the parents. In fact, there was weeping and pleading and even a few threats along the way. ‘How could they abandon their families like this?’ ‘Why go waste your lives overseas when there are plenty of people who need ‘saving’ close to home?’ ‘Why not just teach Sunday School or lead the youth group at church? We’re always looking for good youth leaders.’

Eventually the nagging and pleading and arguments took their toll. The couple abandoned their quest for missions and tried to settle into a life in the quiet town in which they grew up. Life wasn’t easy. There was financial hardship. The life of love they expected didn’t turn out as well as hoped. It seemed like they endured set-back after set-back. Finally, they divorced and went their separate ways.

Now, I’m not saying that the reason for the calamity in this couple’s life was their decision not to go to the mission field, but one has to wonder if that wasn’t the case. A similar situation happens with Jesus and the disciples. After discussing his real identity as the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus begins to tell them the next step in the chapter of his life.

Peter, however, would have nothing of that. There was plenty of work for Jesus to do here on earth. He rebuked Jesus for even thinking such a thing! One wonders if there wasn’t the sound of “We won’t let anything happen to you Jesus, count on us!” in Peter’s voice.

Jesus looked at Peter but spoke to the one who always prompts us to go our own way. The enemy, Satan will use every tactic possible to keep us from making an impact in our world for Jesus. He can use jobs, children, spouses, parents and any other tactic to keep us from the work God has for us. In this case, Satan used Peter to try to distract Jesus from his ultimate goal, to glorify God (which is each of our tasks).

There are many ‘good reasons’ not to step out of our comfort zones for Jesus but none of them are will bring fulfillment in our lives. The message is clear. Stay true to your calling. Pursue it at all costs. Don’t allow the pleasures and comforts of this world keep you from the eternal rewards stepping out for Christ will bring.

There is another lesson in this story and it comes to those of us on the other side. Jesus referred to Peter as a stumbling block. Be cautious when someone comes to you with a vision of what God wants them to do, especially if that person is someone you ‘can’t live without’. Don’t allow your personal security to hinder their opportunity to do the work God has for them. Honestly pray with them to determine if this vision of theirs is of God or not. Don’t be a stumbling block.

PRAYER: Father, stepping out into the unknown is hard for me. I like the false security that my life brings to me. Still I want to be open to your leading. Protect me from the arguments the enemy will use to keep me from stepping out for you. Give me wisdom so that I won’t be a stumbling block to others as they seek your will. In Jesus name, Amen.

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