Doing what is right not necessarily what is easy!
Reading: Mark:8 31-38
Do you remember what it means to be tempted? (A temptation is something that we want – but we know isn’t right or good for us.)
Temptation can be such a hard thing to avoid in life – but this week Jesus teaches us an important lesson about how to do it.
When Peter tries to make him do something that’s not in God’s plan, Jesus reminds Peter that he’s not thinking about what God wants – but instead about what he wants. (He tells Peter that he’s thinking too much about “human things.”)
When you find yourself tempted by a choice – or unsure about what to do – you can always ask yourself “what would God want me to do?” or “What would Jesus do?” WWJD.
When I ask myself that question, it often makes that choice clearer!
There may be things that we’d really like for ourselves, but Jesus doesn’t ever tell us to do whatever we feel like – or what we want the most. Instead he wants us to be making choices about what’s right.
Allow me to explain in another way…
It’s a bit like wall climbing. Wall climbing is an exciting adventure. Before you begin you are fitted with a harness that is tied off so, if you loose your footing, you will not fall and hurt yourself. A helmet is useful too, to protect you if you should slip and bump your head against the wall.
Wall climbing is a strenuous activity. You must find an area to place your foot and another area, higher up, to grab onto with your hand. Then you must lift yourself into an upright position. You continue doing this, first with one foot, and then the other as you climb the wall.
You may get very tired. You may feel as if your arms and legs will not hold you up any longer. As you approach the top, if you look down, you may feel a bit frightened. Wall climbing is a difficult activity, but when you succeed in reaching the top, you will feel as if you have accomplished something – and you have! You kept going even though you were tired, and perhaps even discouraged or frightened.
Just before Jesus died on the cross he talked about the difficulty of being a Christian, of being his follower. He said, “Any of you who want to be my follower must stop thinking about yourself and what you want. You must be willing to carry the cross that is given to you for following me” (8:34).
Jesus warns us that to follow him is like carrying a huge, heavy cross. Even though you choose to follow Jesus there may be times when you have difficulty making the right choices and doing the right thing. You may get discouraged. Others may make fun of you. You might think it’s just too hard to do, but it is worth the effort.
Our lives will be beautiful and inspiring to others when we show them God’s love. Jesus was saying that to be his follower there will be difficult times, but if you keep going even though you may feel tired, discouraged, or frightened you will know and be filled with the love of God which is the greatest reward.
So this week when you find yourself faced with a tough choice, try following Jesus’ advice – and set your mind on what God would want.
It will make all the difference.