Two Spiritual Attitudes

This spake he, signifying by what death he
should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. Then Peter,
turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his
breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?" John 21:19-20

It appears to me that, in this incident, we
have two kinds of spiritual attitudes illustrated. Simon Peter was told to follow the
Lord; John followed without being told. How often a similar effect is seen in the
Christian experience.

Alas, there are believers who always seem to
be like Simon Peter here. They never do anything of their own accord; they always have to
be urged, encouraged, waited on, nurse-maided. This should not be so, for everyone who
knows and loves the Lord has the invisible urge within to spur on in Christian living and
Christian service, for "the love of Christ constraineth us henceforth not to live
unto ourselves, but unto Him who died for us and rose again."

But yet, there are believers who sulk when
not asked or recognized; who seldom or never do anything on their own initiative. At times
all of us need to be ashamed of our spiritual sleepiness.

Some years ago, my wife said to me,
"August, don’t you get weary sometimes? You preach to the Lord’s people;
you seek to stir their hearts’ affection for Christ; you weep for them or thunder at
them, and yet you see so little in the way of results."

"Yes, that’s true," said I
after a pause for reflection. "But I guess I operate pretty much the same as you do.
You sweep the house, dust the furniture, wash the dishes and make the beds every day, and
I don’t see much in the way of results there, either. Now, just don’t do the
housekeeping for a month, and then you’ll see results. So, said, I, "I’ll
keep on ministering to the saints (myself included), and if I can only do my share to keep
them from getting worse, I will be very successful, for that’s all that you
accomplish at home."

Yes, my fellow brothers and sisters, it seems
we need exhorting all the time; we’re just failing humans at the best. If you are
like John in our text, following without being told, I congratulate you. May the Lord
bless you abundantly, and may you turn many a halting Peter into a fiery, fruitful
follower of the Lord.

The secret for earnest
devotion to Christ is found in that five-times repeated statement concerning the apostle
John as recorded in his Gospel, when he speaks of himself as "the disciple whom Jesus
loved." A deep appreciation of the love of Christ to me will make the power of the
love of Christ in me a mighty constraining force for good and restraining power from evil.