Getting in God’s Way

Matthew 16:21-23

Believers are called to be compassionate (Colossians 3:12), but we must show discernment even when practicing kindness. At times, stepping into someone’s life can block what God is doing with that person. I learned this lesson the hard way. On several different occasions, I stepped into situations I shouldn’t have. Once, I met a need when the Lord was trying to draw someone into a life of spiritual dependence. Another time, I offered comfort when the divine plan was for a heartbroken believer to seek the Lord’s solace. On still another occasion, I bailed a desperate person out of trouble before he learned God’s lesson. Nowadays, I pray before acting upon sympathetic feelings.

Peter once allowed feelings to cloud his discernment, too. Attempting to interfere in the divine plan for Jesus Christ was an experience he never forgot.

Though Peter knew exactly who Jesus was—namely, the Messiah and Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16)—he also held common Jewish misconceptions about the Messiah’s mission. Many Israelites awaited a king who would overthrow Roman rule. Consequently, Peter refused to accept Jesus’ warnings of the judgment, mistreatment, and death He anticipated. After trying to convince the Lord that such an end was impossible, the disciple was rebuked for attempting to subvert God’s will.

Peter had a narrow view of God’s plan. The Lord’s priority was to liberate hearts from sin rather than bodies from tyranny. Peter’s wrong perceptions led him into open rebellion. Do not make his mistake. Seek God’s will before offering compassionate aid, lest you obstruct His unfolding plan.

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