Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Friday, May 12, 2017
“But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled” (Matthew 26:56).
Just a Matter of Time
Every man or woman has his or her price. It’s just a matter of time, motive, or opportunity before people who play fast and loose with temptation will succumb. This just in: lofty professions are like most campaign promises – they sound good for the moment until it really matters and they are abandoned.
One of the problems Jesus’ disciples had was that they often spoke more than they listened. Jesus invested tirelessly in training His followers in the ways of righteousness. He modeled a compassionate, holy, benevolent character before them. He taught, helped, and nurtured them. He entreated, wept over, and invited them. He cautioned them and foretold the outcome of their actions. But at the time the rubber met the road, every one of His closest followers left Him high and dry. They turned their backs on Him attempting to protect themselves.
Fear and Falling Down
Self-protectionism, in this context, is when we allow our fear of privation, pain, loss of reputation, loss of material gain, loss of temporal pleasure, or fear of any other loss to supersede our love and commitment to God. It’s when the conditions are no longer favorable for us to stay in the struggle for Christ’s sake, to manifest His beautiful character to the world. It’s when we do not trust God to keep us through every difficulty until He destroys sin forever. It’s putting now before our futures. It’s settling for a measly pot of stew in place of our inheritance. It’s a bite of one fruit in guilt and shame in the stead of enjoying a garden full of fruits and right relationship with God.
As I said in the beginning, everybody has his price if we do not surrender our will to God. It is our privilege to allow Him to pay the ransom price and get us out of slavery to the whims of our inner lusts and Satan, the enemy of us all. Those who have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus are no longer obligated to yield to sinful inclinations. The power of God is resident in the believer who keeps the faith. No payoff, great or small, will ever be enough to throw away our relationship with God.
Learn a lesson from Jesus’ first disciples’ experience: never trust self. Let God have complete control of your life so you can be victorious in all situations, no matter the prospect of reward or privation.