"...you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s."
Jesus to Peter, Mark 8:33
In this passage, Peter makes a perfectly reasonable statement. Jesus has been talking about his death and Peter said, "Hey Jesus, don't talk that way - you are the Christ - why talk about death?' (ok I am speculating on what Peter actually said but we know he rebuked Jesus for his words). You and I would no doubt have felt the same way whether we said it out loud or not.
In Jesus' reply to Peter he says, "Look, there are two kinds of interests here: Man's and God's. And you, Peter are not thinking of God's interests but man's. My interests are different than your interests (my paraphrase)." This is an interesting statement and one that each of us ought to consider in our own thinking and decision making.
In the Lord's prayer we pray, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." With those words we are again making the distinction that God's interests are not the same as man's interests in many cases. Consider:
- I have a preferred future for my life but so does God. His plan is to see me become like Him and join Him in His work. He is more interested in helping me develop His character than He is in my success (by the world's definition).
- The code of morality in our society is often very different from God's. Honesty, truth, fairness and integrity are paramount to God's character but are often peripheral matters to those around us. Often getting to where we want to go is more important than how we get there.
- We are always up to something but so is God. And what He is up to is far more important than what we are up to. Joining Him in His work in our world is the path to life significance and meaning.
Jesus' point to Peter is one worth considering. On any given day we are faced with all kinds of decisions, priorities and choices. In all of those we should be aware that God's interests may be different than ours. And we ought to consider the question: Is my decision based on my interests or His?
One other thing. The interests of God may seem foolish to those around us at times. The plan of God for the crucifixion certainly seemed crazy and foolish and a failure of what Jesus was sent to do. Which is why Peter offered Jesus his (mistaken) perspective: "Get a grip Jesus, that's not a good plan." But as God says in Isaiah 55:8, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the . Followers of Christ seek to discern what His ways are because they are the right ways.