I love how toddlers are so raw about their emotions and what they want. No matter if they’re happy, sad, hurt, or otherwise, most of the time, you will know how they feel without even asking! Either they’ll tell you, or their behavior will! One year during Vacation Bible School’s recess time, one of these precious toddler girls stopped playing for a moment, stood up, and said with such conviction, “When I grow up, I’m going to do what I want!”
But when I heard that little girl’s heart cry, I could not help but think, “Oh little one, I sure hope that’s not the case! I sure hope as you grow up, you do what Christ wants and not what you want.”
“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.” Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me!””
Living the Christian life is so counter-cultural in this aspect! As we grow with Christ, we should continually be surrendering our lives and our wills more and more to Christ’s will and what He wants for us. Christ explained this principle to Peter in John 21. Right before this, Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him three times. After each response confirming Peter’s love for Christ, Jesus gave Peter a command. It was almost as if Jesus was saying, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Yet then Jesus reminded Peter how when he was young, he did as he wanted. Yet when he is old, something he does not want will happen. Yet this verse would be incomplete without the following verse that states the purpose for this. Jesus did this to explain “by what kind of death he would glorify God” (John 21:19). Even so, Jesus commands Peter to stay strong and follow Christ. That means, even though he won’t be doing what he wants and his life might not end the way he hoped, he should still follow Christ.
When you plan your days, do you think like my toddler friend, about what you want to do? Or do you regularly lay your plans over to the Lord ready to bend to His will for you, even if it’s different from your own? Are you living for yourself doing what you want? Or for Christ, doing what He wants? I’m assuming you’ve already devoted your life to Christ, but if not, why not find someone who can help you take that step today. And if so, pray to keep on following Christ, despite the difficulties! Amen!