Sometimes, no words or warnings will deter a person from doing the wrong thing.
Today’s Scripture reading comes from Luke 22:32, quoting from the NASB:
“But I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
When all seems against you and you are hard pressed to get others to perform at a higher standard, what do you do?
The cross looming large before Him, Jesus, perhaps, had a similar concern. What was His approach to changing complacency, shallow commitment, and naïve vulnerability? Prayer!
Anyone who chooses to follow Jesus’ path will be a clear and discernible target of Satan. Simon did not realize the target he had become. He also could not imagine that he would abandon Jesus out of fear for his personal comfort or loss of life. When pushed to hold to the integrity he professed, Peter would cave. Jesus prayed that on the other side of his failure Peter would turn towards the lessons he learned and be an encouragement to his brothers.
Often in difficulties, it is hard to believe that anything worthwhile lies on the other side of disobedience, dereliction, self-satisfaction, or marginal commitment. Jesus desired that passion for service be ignited in His followers. So how does one stimulate fervor for service in a person who is oblivious to the greater good or bigger picture? Within ourselves, we cannot.
I consider inspiration to be a “God breathed” phenomena. However, we can intercede for others and credit God for answering our prayer on another’s behalf. Peter did not understand failure until he publicly denied Jesus. He would only become an encouraging example for his brothers because of Jesus’ prayers for him.
For many the backside of disobedience, waywardness, and complacency is ruin and disappointment. Sometimes, no words or warnings will deter a person from doing the wrong thing. Jesus did not attempt to dissuade Simon from his approaching denial. Consider that our leadership role is not always one of preventing another from his determined path. In some cases, the correction or consequence that follows will have the greater impact on a person’s decision to walk with integrity. Jesus modeled the classic response to develop passion in others. Pray.
Points to Ponder
Over the next week, here are 3 points to ponder during your personal time of reflection or with a small group or mentor
- First, desire for greatness or prominence must be tempered with a servant’s heart.
- Second, prayer should be the foundation of our concern for others.
- Third, failure need not equate to disqualification from the cause nor interpreted as an inability to help and encourage others.