“They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But what about you?’ He asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.'” — Matthew 16:14-16
You(r opinion) Matter(s)!
“No need to go see that movie.”
“Why, you didn’t like it?”
“Oh, I haven’t seen it. But everyone is saying it’s bad.”
We live in an “I heard (…) about this person/place/thing” society. A society that is unwilling to try things out for themselves to form their own opinions.
I am as guilty as anyone with this. Whether it’s a movie, restaurant or album, it’s so much easier to just check out others’ reviews of things before we dip our toes in the water. What if we don’t like it? What if we (gasp) waste our time trying it?!
(As if I don’t waste my time horrendously already with things I do enjoy).
So, I take it to my “experts.” What does Twitter say? What are the critics saying? What are my closest friends saying?
Now, when it comes to the entertainment industry or food tasting or music, it’s not an end-all be-all if we don’t end up forming our own opinion on every possible thing there is to form an opinion on. When I’m wanting to be picky about a movie showing, dinner spot or concert, I do trust my friends who have experienced those to give me guidance.
However, when it comes to life, faith and the existential questions of life, we shouldn’t leave any room for the diffusion of opinion. In the words of A.W. Tozer, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
In the Bible verse above, Jesus doesn’t just burst into his hangout with his friends and say, “I am the Christ, the Son of the Living God. You guys agree, right?” He asked them, not because He was having an identity crisis, but because He wanted their faith to be of their own mind, not groupthink.
In the same way, Jesus asks us — believer or nonbeliever — every day, “Who do you say I am?” It has become such a habit (and lifestyle) of mine to constantly read Scripture, listen to sermons or even write these devotionals and think, “I wonder how others would respond to this?”
Unless we daily fix our personal minds on Jesus, we will be in no position to love, serve and care for others in the way we are designed to be. Not only that, but more importantly we will be missing out on a relationship and inheritance with Jesus altogether. Look at Jesus’ reaction and response to Peter’s statement. Peter learns of his identity as a result of making his decision (or stating his decision) of who Jesus is. The path to true identity flows from a recognition of who God is in our lives.
Let us choose to seek a relationship with God that is not dependent on what others around us are thinking or feeling about Him. Let us find rest in our identity as sons and daughters, fully known by the King, because WE choose to believe it.
We saw what life, encouragement and security it brought to Peter. What could it bring you?
— Chris Pennington
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