From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord!This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”Matthew 16:21-23 English Standard Version (Emphasis Added)
Ouch! Can you imagine being Peter here? Jesus straight up called him Satan and a hindrance. I hope, for Peter’s sake, that this encounter took place between just the two of them and not in ear shot of anyone else. If this were me, I am not sure I would be able to eat or sleep for a few days at least.
Yet, the sad reality is that this is me. I am Peter. Peter is me. What I mean is that, like Peter, I so often set my mind on the things of man rather than on the things of God. I look at life, success, people, all of it through the lens of this world’s priorities and attitudes. Part of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus is to learn to view the world through Jesus’ eyes, even if that means being set at odds with the world around us.
I just finished reading The Complete Book of Discipleship by Bill Hull. In this book, Hull addresses what Jesus says about setting our minds on the things of God versus the things of man.
Two philosophies are at war. The first is the Jesus way. It is the way of sacrifice, submission, humility, and patience. In this worldview, God is at the center and His disciples live for others because Jesus was a man for others. In the Jesus way, life isn’t about us; it’s about God. The Jesus way shows us that the means is just as important as the end.
The other philosophy, which dominates, is the consumer way. This is a world of consumption, assertiveness, speed, and fame. In the consumer world, it’s all about me. The consumer culture creates the consumer church, and that gives us consumer Christians. The consumer Christian culture focuses on receiving benefits and getting into heaven. The story is about us rather than God. We cultivate artificial needs, create an environment of instant gratification, package the teaching of Scripture into neat formulas, and conduct worship centered on personal needs and taste.
The distinction might be put more succinctly as this: In the Jesus way, Jesus becomes more. In the consumer way, humans become more.Bill Hull, The Complete Book of Discipleship, pg. 292-293.
Every day, every moment, disciples of Jesus have a decision to make. Am I going to follow the Jesus way or the consumer way? Am I going to set my mind on things above or on things below? This one decision, made and reinforced by our daily habits and disciplines, changes everything. It changes how we talk with people and what we talk about. It changes how we go about our work, how we love our spouses and children. It will change how we interact with the people of God, and yes, it will even change our politics. This decision–Jesus or the world–changes everything.