How do your preconceived ideas affect the way you follow Jesus?

Those ideas that you accepted from others or you formed Dan cropped 4.13beforehand without all or at least adequate information.   We all have them.  Jesus shows us how he dealt with some of Peter’s preconceived
ideas.   Look at Matthew 16:15-23,

He (Jesus) said to them,“But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it  …… 21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.  22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord!  This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.

How does Peter go from being the man who can hear from God through the Holy Spirit regarding who Jesus is one conservation to where in the next conversation with Jesus is rebuked just as Jesus did Satan during his temptations and saying get behind me Satan?  We would all agree with Jesus that it is caused by Peter not setting his mind on the things of God.   What caused that?  May I suggest that it was Peter’s preconceived ideas regarding who and what the Messiah would be and do?  Peter was expecting a Messiah in the line of David, the greatest warrior king of Israel who would never die.  He would overturn the Roman rule and lead victoriously, bringing Israel back to the golden years of King David.  And Peter and the disciples would be an active part of that.  The only trouble was that these were Peter’s preconceived ideas that were formed without all the information.  As Jesus said they were the things of man not of God. Peter you are a hindrance to me.  Wow, from a faithful follower and leader who ‘gets it’ to a ‘hindrance to Jesus’!

What about you and me?   How do our preconceived ideas make us a hindrance to Jesus and keep us from being the faithful fruitful followers who Jesus has called us to be?

  • My sin is so terrible….God can’t use me
  • Good people aren’t lost….we don’t share Christ with them
  • I am worthless….i cannot be used by Jesus in ministry
  • Only people with certain dispositions struggle with sins like that…..i am safe from those sins
  • Lost people don’t care about spiritual matters….no use sharing Christ with them
  • Christianity is about me being happy….any struggle, testing or hard times cannot be God’s will for me
  • God can only use people with those talents and gifts… use trying to minister to others
  • God doesn’t do miracles today like he did in Bible times….no use even praying

I’m sure each of us can add a few personal preconceived ideas to this list.  How do we deal with our preconceived ideas?

We must admit that all of us have them and that they do influence how we live.  We need to realize that they hinder our following Jesus. Each preconceived idea keeps us from setting our minds on the ‘things of God.  Then we must let the Word of God speak into each idea and being willing to let go of our ideas so that we can truly follow Jesus.  Jesus used this incident with Peter as a teaching moment to say that the way to glory is suffering, to follow me you must deny yourself, take up your cross, and lose your life for Jesus sake.   Let’s take an honest look at our preconceived ideas and make sure they are not hindering us from following Jesus.