SERIES: Understanding Scriptures – Part 1
How often do we find ourselves fluctuating between good and bad moods, joy and sorrow, fearlessness and being fearful, like a wave tossed back and forth, high and low? For some of us, this is a reality that we are getting used to and beginning to live with.
Yet, the word of God tells us that this is not God’s will for us. In fact, the Bible teaches us to rejoice ‘always’, to give thanks to God in ‘all’ circumstances. God wants us to be steadfast in our lives, relationships, purposes and more than anything, in our minds. A steadfast mind is one that is unwavering and at peace at all times because it is a mind that trusts the Lord, His heart and His word. Isaiah puts it clearly – You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you (Isaiah 26 : 3)
This constant fluctuation in our mind and emotions results in hurtful, broken and wrong attitudes and responses.
In the Gospels, we notice that there is something different in the responses of Jesus’ disciples (particularly Peter) about Jesus’ death and resurrection at two different occasions.
In Matthew 16 : 21-22, we see Peter, the one who knew that Jesus was ‘the Messiah’, rebuke (reprove) Jesus when He tells them about how He is going to suffer at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and after three days rise again. Peter told Jesus, “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!” He didn’t understand that what Jesus was saying was to fulfil scriptures. Then, Jesus rebukes him back, even calling him ‘satan’. He points out to Peter, ‘you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns’. Jesus knew that the reason Peter was overcome with sadness and fear was because his mind was being ruled by the flesh and not the Spirit of God, the word of God. He knew that Peter’s mind was closed and he could not understand what Jesus said.
Later, in an instance after Jesus’ resurrection where he met the disciples and then ascended to heaven, Luke records that they (the disciples) worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy and they stayed continually at the temple, praising God (Luke 24 : 51-53).
The same disciple, Peter, who was at one point sad and fearful about Jesus’ death and resurrection, was filled with ‘great joy’ and ‘praised God continually’ after Jesus’ ascension to heaven.
Wonder what changed it all for him? How did he transform from being sad to having great joy about the same situation?
Well, we see that just before Jesus ascended to heaven, He opened their (disciples) minds to understand scriptures (Luke 24 : 45). That opening of their mind to understand scriptures not only changed Peter’s perspective of Jesus’ death and resurrection but also changed his heart. His heart was now filled with great joy.
Beloved, it is going to be very easy for some of us to waver, be fearful and shaken by what is happening in our lives and around us. Sometimes the fear of the past troubles us, sometimes the worries of the present or, sometimes insecurities of the future. Peter, too, was shaken, upset, fearful, and worried by the thought that his Master and Teacher was going to die. Note that though Jesus did share about rising again on the third day, Peter’s focus was on his Master’s death.
You may know scriptures, even read them regularly, but unless you allow God to help you understand them, God’s word will not quite transform you. True transformation that changes us inside out is a result of understanding (which includes believing) the word of God. So ask God to open your mind to understand His word just as He opened Peter’s mind – who now understood that the resurrection of Jesus succeeded his death. That the resurrection of Jesus is the hope of all mankind to overcome sin and death by believing in Jesus. When Peter’s mind was opened to understand God’s word, we see that he was filled with great joy – a transformed response. Pray and persist in prayer to have open minds to understand the word of God.
Your situation might seem miserable, but run back to the word of God. What does God tell you in His word? Is your mind open to understand it? If you allow God to minister to you through His word in your toughest battles, and your mind is open to understand it, your mind will be steadfast. You will begin to be at peace even when the harshest storm rages around you.
Peter’s mind was once concerned about not having Jesus beside him in the world, but now His mind was concerned about taking the resurrected Jesus to the ends of the world. Once wavering, but now steadfast. This shift in his response and attitude was only because his mind was now opened to understand God’s word.
Open your mind to understand His word, trust Him and you will see your mind being steadfast. A steadfast mind that will keep you in perfect peace and fill you with great joy!
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