Others May, You Cannot
"Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, 'Lord, who is going to betray you?') When Peter saw him, he asked, 'Lord, what about him?' Jesus answered, 'If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me' " (John 21:20-22).
In our Monday night Bible study, Iva May brought up the concept that "others may, you cannot." It reminded me of this passage of Scripture where Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him. Whether it was out of curiosity or concern, Peter asks Jesus about his fellow disciple. Jesus' reply is that we are not to be concerned in that regard. We are not to look to others as our standard but to Christ. He is our standard and he sets the standard for us. When we understand and embrace this concept, it lets others off the hook when they fall short. It keeps our perspective as it should and our measurement accurate so we no longer ask, "What about him?" Instead we receive God's Word as he spoke to Moses in Leviticus 19:1, "Be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy."
This week Iva emailed us this document and it spoke to me in such a way that I wanted to share it.
If God has called you to be really like Jesus he will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility. God's call will put such demands of obedience on you that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other Christians. At times, He will let other people do things which He will not let you do.
Other Christians who seem very religious will push themselves, pull wires, and work schemes to carry out their plans. You cannot, and if you attempt it, you will meet with failure and rebuke from the Lord.
Others may boast of themselves, of their work, or their successes, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you to despise yourself and all your good works.
Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, or may have a legacy left to them, but it is likely God will keep you poor. God wants you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence upon Him, that He may demonstrate His faithful love for you in supplying your needs day by day.
God may let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hidden in obscurity in order to produce some fragrant fruit for his coming glory which can only be produced in the shade. He may let others be great, but keep you small. He may let others do a work for Him and get the credit for it now. The reward for your work is held in the hands of Jesus, and you will not see it until He comes.
The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch over you with a jealous love. He will rebuke you for the little words and feelings or for wasting your time. So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign, and has a right to do as He pleases with His own. He does not owe you an explanation of these mysteries. But if you give yourself to be His child, He will wrap you up in a jealous love, and give you the precious blessings for those who belong, heart and soul to Him.
Settle it forever, then, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit. It is His option to tie your tongue, or chain your hand, or close your eyes in ways that He does not seem to use with others. And when you are so possessed by the living God that your heart delights over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of Heaven.
Published by the Faith, Prayer & Tract League