TWO DISTINCT SPIRITUAL ATTITUDES
John 21: 19-22
Attitudes are so important.
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference,” Winston Churchill once said.
Nothing affects the church more than attitude.
It is attitude not aptitude that determines one’s altitude in life.
Someone has said, "It’s hard to be a smart cookie with a crummy attitude." Someone else has said, "A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition."
Attitudes always reflect in actions.
In our text, we find two kinds of spiritual attitudes illustrated.
They are seen in their relationship to the word “follow” or “following.”
Simon Peter was told to follow the Lord; John followed the Lord without being told.
How often is the same thing seen among Christians.
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, prodded, and nudged to do.
This should not be the case for those who know and love the Lord, for we have an 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," (2 Corinthians 5:14). The love of Christ has a constraining power to urge Christians in their duty. But, yet, there are believers who seldom or never do anything on their own initiative.
However, at times all of us need to be ashamed of our spiritual slothfulness.
A preacher often gets weary in what he does. He preaches to the Lord’s people; you attempt to stir their hearts’ affection for Christ; and yet you see so little in the way of results.
Though that is true, let me compare it the work a house wife does. She vacuums the house, dusts the furniture, washes the dishes, and makes the beds every day, and we me men often don’t see much in the way of results there, either. However, let us suppose that she doesn’t do the housekeeping for a month, and then I promise you will see the results.
So, preachers just keep on exhorting the saints (myself included), and if I can only do my part to keep you from getting worse, I will be very successful.
But If you are like John in our text, who is following without being told, I compliment you.
May the Lord use you to turn many a halting Peter into a fiery, fruitful follower of the Lord.
The secret for earnest devotion to Christ is found in that a five-time-repeated statement concerning the apostle John as recorded in his Gospel:
John 13:23 “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.”
John 19:26 “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!”
John 20:2 “Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.”
John 21:7 “Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.”
John 21:20 “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?”
A deep appreciation of the love of Christ to you will act as a mighty constraining force in your life for good and a restraining power from evil.
It was John’s joy that Jesus loved him and that love kept him following the Lord without being told. His love for us inspire us.
See Jude 21.
The responsibility is ours. This phrase does not convey the idea that we need to keep God loving us by good works to maintain our salvation. Rather, we are motivated as the believer focuses on God’s love for him. We need to let God’s love for us flood our hearts. This is not keeping our love for God in focus but keeping His love for us in view. God’s love is more than sentiment; it is a love of commitment to us.
The word "keep" is an imperative indicating the believer’s urgent responsibility to understand and apply God’s love to himself. The word "keep" means to attend to carefully, take care of, guard. We are to give careful attention to the love of God for us.
His love for us will make all the difference in our attitude. That attitude will be easily seen in whether we are told to follow the Lord as Peter; or are following the Lord without being told as John.