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     Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Matt. 16:22

Dear Lord Jesus, these two words spoken by Peter just don’t belong together: “Never, Lord!” especially spoken with the tone of a rebuke to you! Yet, like the impetuous Peter, often I match them up in the same sentence too. I praise you for your patience and forbearance with me. By your grace, please make me a glad and humble “yes man.”

For when you tell me that my ongoing need of salvation is so great that only the gospel of God’s grace can save someone like me; and yet I persist in trying to be my own savior, or at least “supplement” what you’ve done for me on the cross, I’m really saying, “Never, Lord! You haven’t done quite enough for me.”

When you assure me that your grace will be sufficient for me and that in my weakness your strength will be made perfect; and yet I continue in my unbelief and start looking for sufficiency somewhere else, like Peter, I rebuke you with the words, “Never, Lord! Your grace won’t be quite enough for me.”

When you call me to engage in your big story of redemption and restoration—your commitment to gather your Bride from the nations and make all things new; and yet I persist in living a micro-narrative of personal peace and fulfillment, it’s as though I am saying to your face, “Never, Lord! Your glory is not as important as my happiness.”

When you tell me to love others, just as you love me; and yet I answer back, “Surely, Lord, you don’t expect me to love those who have hurt or betrayed me, ignore or ‘don’t get me’, aren’t appreciative or even gossip about me”, that’s when I offer you, yet another, “Never, Lord!” Have mercy on me, Lord Jesus, just like you did Peter.

“Yes!” A thousand times “Yes!” to whatever you have said and promised, command and expect from me, Lord Jesus. Whatever you will is best for me, and whatever you command you resource with grace. Please take me aside daily—hourly, and rebuke and refresh me with the gospel. So very Amen I pray, in your most wonderful and awe-worthy name.

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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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