Discouragement. It is something that waits for us at every turn. The moment a problem looms on the horizon, discouragement is right there looking for an opportunity to find a weakness in your armor. Discouragement often begins as a whisper in your ear. "Nobody else ever has problems like you do. If you were really a child of God, these things wouldn't happen to you. God never answers your prayers...maybe he doesn't even exist! Other Christians don't even care about you. Life was better, easier, more fun or whatever before you..." Before you what? Before you began to follow Jesus?
It's interesting how when it comes to relationships with people, we have a tendency to remember the bad rather than the good. However, when it comes to our relationship with God, it seems like the reverse is often true. When life isn't going our way, we act like the Children of Israel in the desert. They wanted to talk about the great times they had back in Egypt. Great times? They were slaves! Their infant sons were being murdered! Egypt sounds like it was a great place to be, right?
How quickly we forget what God delivered us from. Some of us didn't come to the Lord until we were older. Some of us lived terrible lives by even the world's standards before we fell on our knees before God. However, even those of us who accepted Christ as young children did so because we didn't want things to continue the way they were going. We may not have been able to articulate that very well, especially those of us who were young, but we knew we wanted something more than what we had. Do we really want to go back to where we used to be?
The way of the cross isn't easy. No, it's not. No true follower of Christ will ever tell you it's easy. They may tell you that you won't have to do it alone. They may tell you God will help you, but they won't tell you it's a walk in the park because it's not.
So, why do we follow Jesus?
The disciples were asked this by Jesus in John 6. Many who were following Jesus decided what he was saying was too hard. As a result, they left off following him.[bible]john 6:66[/bible] [bible]john 6:67[/bible] I love the response given by Peter. [bible]john 6:68-69[/bible] As far as Peter was concerned, there was no one else to follow. There was no other place to go. Jesus had the words of eternal life and he is so sure that Jesus is the Son of God that he emphasizes it by saying affirming it twice (believe and are sure).
Did Peter ever get discouraged? Absolutely! Did he ever put his foot in his mouth or fall flat on his face? Yep! Did he ever run ahead of God and start trying to follow his own agenda? Oh, yeah! Yet God used this same man to help shake the world upside down. God used this vessel named Peter in ways he never dreamed possible.
Why did this man remain faithful unto death? I think Peter would remind himself of who Jesus was. I think Peter would look back and remember what before Jesus was really like. He knew he really didn't want to go back to before.
Some people say you should never look back but I think it is important to remember where we've been and where we're going. It's important to remember exactly why we made that decision to become a Follower of Christ.
Wow... Awesome blog ! I reall needed to hear this today. Often, I have looked back and seen where God has brought me and it has been such an encouragement to me. Thanks for posting this blog!:)