Unintended Consequences

“Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” – Matthew 16:23

Let’s face it, our good intentions can run afoul of God’s intentions when we look at life solely from a human perspective rather than God’s.

I believe that’s why Jesus rebuked Peter as powerfully as He did. Jesus had told the disciples that He would be killed at the hands of the high priests and elders. Peter pushed back at such injustice and proclaimed that it would never happen. Not on his watch! No doubt Peter’s zealousness for Jesus drove him. He wanted to help Jesus avoid any kind of suffering. But his protests were Satan’s ploy to tempt Jesus to circumvent the hard work of completing God’s will and instead save Himself. Had Peter succeeded (or Satan through him)…the unintended consequences would have been something we dare not contemplate.

Peter unwittingly played right into Satan’s hands. Satan used “human concerns” to appeal to Peter’s sense of right and wrong… Jesus didn’t deserve to die. He shouldn’t be the victim of an unjust religious system. Peter’s anger kept him from seeing the bigger picture: the wrong was necessary for the right.

When our perspective originates from “merely human concerns”—without God’s—unintended consequences result.

Friends, you and I never have to worry about unintended consequences when we act from God’s vantage. “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight” (1 Corinthians 3:9). We can’t let our desire for justice, empathy for the hurting, or even self-preservation cloud our perspective. The world’s wisdom never tells us we must lose our life to save it. The wisdom of God says we must. Our daily adherence to this carries intended consequences—the eternal kind.

Therefore, let’s not be overwhelmed with merely human concerns. Instead, let us trust God. Let’s choose to look for His perspective in our relationships and our work, in wins and in losses.

Father in Heaven, Please forgive us for how often we revert to leaning on our own understanding rather than relying on Your wisdom. Thank You for being the answer to every problem we face. In the abundant name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.

Throughout the Day…

Think of a time when you acted out of human concerns rather than the wisdom of God. Consider the consequences and renew your commitment to trust God at all times.


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