Two Spiritual Attitudes

This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?" John 21:19-20

It appears to me that, in this incident, we have two kinds of spiritual attitudes illustrated. Simon Peter was told to follow the Lord; John followed without being told. How often a similar effect is seen in the Christian experience.

Alas, there are believers who always seem to be like Simon Peter here. They never do anything of their own accord; they always have to be urged, encouraged, waited on, nurse-maided. This should not be so, for everyone who knows and loves the Lord has the invisible urge within to spur on in Christian living and Christian service, for "the love of Christ constraineth us henceforth not to live unto ourselves, but unto Him who died for us and rose again."

But yet, there are believers who sulk when not asked or recognized; who seldom or never do anything on their own initiative. At times all of us need to be ashamed of our spiritual sleepiness.

Some years ago, my wife said to me, "August, don’t you get weary sometimes? You preach to the Lord’s people; you seek to stir their hearts’ affection for Christ; you weep for them or thunder at them, and yet you see so little in the way of results."

"Yes, that’s true," said I after a pause for reflection. "But I guess I operate pretty much the same as you do. You sweep the house, dust the furniture, wash the dishes and make the beds every day, and I don’t see much in the way of results there, either. Now, just don’t do the housekeeping for a month, and then you’ll see results. So, said, I, "I’ll keep on ministering to the saints (myself included), and if I can only do my share to keep them from getting worse, I will be very successful, for that’s all that you accomplish at home."

Yes, my fellow brothers and sisters, it seems we need exhorting all the time; we’re just failing humans at the best. If you are like John in our text, following without being told, I congratulate you. May the Lord bless you abundantly, and may you turn many a halting Peter into a fiery, fruitful follower of the Lord.

The secret for earnest devotion to Christ is found in that five-times repeated statement concerning the apostle John as recorded in his Gospel, when he speaks of himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved." A deep appreciation of the love of Christ to me will make the power of the love of Christ in me a mighty constraining force for good and restraining power from evil.