The motivation for discipleship – love

The Doctor's Life Support for 14 October

‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’

John 21: 15

When Jesus asked Peter, ‘Do you love me more than these?’ we can’t be absolutely certain what he was referring to. Was it the nets, the boats or the catch of fish? All of these symbolised Peter’s old way of life before he met Jesus. Or did he mean ‘these other disciples’? After all, Peter had made that very boast, that others might desert Jesus, but not him. (Matthew 26: 33) Either way, the challenge of the question still applies to us. All too many Christians find that their initial zeal and enthusiasm for Jesus drains away as professional pursuits and commitments take up more and more time and energy. It is easy, too, for us to start thinking that we are a cut above others, and that our Christian service is more valuable to God than is that of Christians whose jobs are more mundane. It is not our service that Jesus most desires, it’s our love. Paul tells us that love ‘does not boast, is not proud.’ (1 Corinthians 13: 4) Paradoxically, our love for Jesus is often most deepened when things go wrong and, like Peter, we discover that we are not as clever, strong and dedicated as we thought we were. Jesus does not want us to follow him out of a sense of duty. Mere morality can be stifling. Yet how many of us who follow Jesus really do so out of love, rather than habit or custom? In the personal intimacy of breakfast on the beach, Jesus invited Peter to share his closeness once more and so be equipped for the tough times ahead. In the pressure of our lives, it is vital that we, too, share similar times of intimacy with God.

Written by Trevor Stammers from the UK

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