“Peter had followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the officers and warming himself at the fire” (Mark 14:54 NAS).
When Peter first started following Jesus he was close; intimate, closely acquainted and familiar with God’s ways and wishes. “Immediately they left their nets and followed Him” (Mark 1:18NAS). Peter instantly gave up his net and he left the fishing business. He forsook everything, once and for all. It was a clean break and he pursued the things of God. He was close to Jesus.
There was nothing between he and Jesus and there should be nothing between Jesus and us. However, the enemy have a way of gradually creating gaps between us and Jesus. He applies intense pressure to either make us stop following Jesus or to create distance between Jesus and us. The enemy messes with our thinking, telling us the wrong truth about the pressure. We need to understand pressure goes with following God. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation (pressure), but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NAS). The devil wants to take over our mind and our thoughts (see 2 Corinthians 2:11), and engage us in methodologies (the wiles see Ephesians 6:11) causing us to focus on other things and not Jesus.
Peter’s thinking was manipulated and disillusioned. He took his eyes off of Jesus and began to seek his own agenda, and that was greatness and importance. “They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest” (Mark 9:33-34 NAS). When we are no longer close or connected to Jesus, we are easily persuaded by our own self interests and selfishness.
Ask God for the strength and participation to be both close and closed to God: close enough to hear only God’s voice, and closed enough not to hear any other voices. Follow the ultimate leader, Jesus Christ, and be intimately attached to God. “And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me….” So stay near and BE CLOSE.
LORD, in this season help me to be alert and discerning. The enemy is sending manipulative voices trying to make follow my own interests and not your will. However, I chose to listen to and obey your voice alone. I will follow only you God because you are the only real joy giver. Help me Father to recognize the difference between your voice and the enemy’s tricks and schemes and wiles. Like Peter, help me to remain close enough to the fire (the Holy Spirit) to feel the heat and know it is God. Amen.
God’s Peace and Good Journey!
Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Bronner, a native Philadelphian, is a trailblazing visionary. He is the Senior Pastor of Elim Christian Fellowship of both Buffalo, and Rochester, New York. Bronner founded the churches on November 7, 1999 and November 17, 2002, respectively. Prior to that, he was the pastor of the prestigious Calvary Baptist Church also of Buffalo, New York.