Last time we talked about the concept of ‘enough’ being foreign. Living in a culture of excess the ‘deficiency mentality’ reigns supreme. This mentality convinces us it doesn’t matter how much we have in our possession; we are still lacking. (See the last post on how the Israelites exemplified this perfectly.) We can’t do more until we have more. However, God counters with the idea that if we don’t use what we receive, there is no reason for Him to afford us more. If you remember my COVID pantry example, I was challenged to use what I currently had when physically detained from adding more items during lockdown restrictions. Let’s look at a New Testament example.
After Jesus predicted His own death in Matthew 16, Peter was repelled by the thought. In fact, verse 22 says he took Jesus aside and rebuked the Lord! In his passion, Peter declared, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” (NASB) We understand Peter’s response as one of genuine love for Jesus and the thought of harm coming to Him was more than Peter could bare. Perhaps, Peter felt his time with Jesus was too short. After all, it had only been about three years since Jesus called Peter to follow. Maybe he just wanted more time with Jesus.
The response from Jesus is puzzling as He turned towards Peter in verse 23, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s purposes, but men’s.’” Why such a strong reaction to Peter’s loving and genuine concern?
The next verse explains Jesus’ reaction, “‘If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.’” No doubt, Peter was devoted to Jesus, or his reaction would not have been as strong if his loyalties were elsewhere. However, through the lens of a deficiency mentality, Peter was caught up in the reality that Jesus would soon be absent. The two would no longer have the one-on-one relationship they had enjoyed up to this point and Peter realized this great personal loss. Because Peter’s focus suddenly shifted inward, a rebuke from the Master was in order. To realign Peter with God’s purposes, Jesus instructs him to do three things: deny, take, and follow.
An additional side of the deficiency mentality reveals we are unwilling to deny ourselves anything. The focus is constantly on the one thing that we cannot or should not have. It could be as simple as a second piece of chocolate cake! Denial is uncomfortable, but for our good. In this verse, Jesus specifically told Peter that his unwillingness to deny himself, or the thing he wanted which was more time, aligned him with Satan rather than with Jesus. Therefore, the need for a strong rebuke!
Jesus continued by telling Peter that after he had denied himself, he must “take up his cross.” Each of us has situations and circumstances we cannot control that cause pain or some type of discomfort. However, this is more about obedience than denial and following the example Christ set before us when He quite literally hoisted the cross on His own back. Jesus boldly faced the suffering to come because it had already been ordained by the Father. All of this transpired for our benefit as He carried the very thing that would bring His own death. Regardless of what life throws our way, we must make the choice to follow His obedient example.
Finally, Peter was instructed to follow. Following Jesus begins with surrendering the deficiency mentality and embracing Jesus as enough! By accepting His Lordship over our lives, we release our will and our plans to become like Him. In return, we are no longer lacking, and all our deficient areas become full! Jesus says in John 14:23, “‘If anyone loves Me, he will follow My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling with him.’”
These three markers still apply. To overcome the constant drive for more, we must deny ourselves, take up our own cross, and follow the Lord. When we do this, our focus shifts from our own desires and perceived lack, to wanting more of Him. The goal is to give God more access to our lives so He can do more within us. When God does more in us, He can do more through us. As believers, we make the choice to reverse our deficiency mentalities from wanting more stuff to wanting more of Him. In turn, Jesus receives our obedient offering and uses us in more ways than we could ever imagine. Ultimately, we both want more!
Below are a few verses to help refocus a deficiency mentality:
Luke 9:23 “And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wants to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”’
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, the new things have come.”
One thought on “More – Part 2 of 2”
Enjoyed part two of two. Peter, as he always was, was very quick to do things. Good and bad. He is so much like so many of us in our Enthusiasm. We don’t always wait on Jesus for his perfect time and solving our problems.