We’re continuing the conversation by answering how can we say yes to God and I (Kim) am so excited to have my dear friend, Deb Hoang, share her heart and insights with us. Deb is a wife, mom of two girls, a women’s ministry leader, is passionate about discipleship and leading women to grow deeper in their relationships with God.
One early morning at the shore of Sea of Tiberias, a man sits across from his master barely able to swallow the freshly roasted fish in his hands. Each moment seems unbearably heavy with unspoken words hanging in the air. The master breaks the silence. He asks the man, “Do you love me more than these?” And the man answers, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” (John 21:15)
This exchange between Jesus and Peter is one of the most gracious, merciful and loving encounters for me personally because I identify with Peter. After Peter’s betrayal of Jesus on the night of his crucifixion, Jesus comes to reinstate Peter as his disciple and entrust him with the awesome ministry of church planting he commissioned before the crucifixion. “Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” Matthew 16:18 (NLT)
Jesus doesn’t rebuke. He doesn’t interrogate. Jesus asks the most important question regarding the foundation – the rock – on which to build his church upon. LOVE…the loyalty of Peter’s heart to Jesus.
Jesus, my master, has been asking me this same question. He has so persistently been asking me, “Do you love me more than these?” And I answer, “Yes, I love you, Jesus.” But somehow he is unsatisfied with my answer. He keeps asking me because I am not answering his question. The emphasis is, “Do you love me more than these?”
The on-going battle between Jesus and me is bit like a game of the throne of my heart. Jesus is the rightful owner of the throne and I am the usurper, trying to sneak back onto the throne every chance I get. Whenever I experience challenges, trials or even triumphs, the issue always comes down to who is the King of my heart. Am I willing to let Jesus reign as the supreme importance and authority in my life? I say, “Yes,” with my mouth, but in reality it’s not the case.
Jesus and I have been stuck on this one issue for years. He insists…absolutely insists we must get this straight! Finally, when I was in the depth of despair and anguish as a consequence of my rebellion, he revealed this truth…
All of your sinful, rebellious decisions and actions are offensive and detestable to me because you are choosing to disregard the First and the Greatest Commandment:
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:2-3
Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matthew 22:37-38
I was guilty of idolatry. I’ve loved people and things more than Jesus. I’ve placed on the throne of my heart my husband, my children, my own selfish desires, and even destructive strongholds! During my lifetime, I’ve surrendered the throne when in desperate need of Jesus’ help or when experiencing spiritual revival at a retreat, only to drag him down and elevate someone or something else onto the throne repeatedly.
So what does it mean to say, “Yes,” to Jesus’ question, “Do you love me more than these?” It is a daily commitment to surrender the Lordship of my life to Jesus. No one or nothing else can ever be esteemed higher than Jesus.
Jesus above all.
What does it look like in my life? Each morning, I sit in my prayer corner with a cup of hot coffee and headphones on. I begin my day lifting up to these words to Jesus in reverence, adoration, and conviction.
“My heart, Your throne
This life belongs to you and you alone
Let there be no divide
In only you may my soul be satisfied.”
(“Satisfied” by Jordan Feliz)
After Peter answers, “Yes, Lord,” Jesus reveals his command to Peter. “Feed my lambs.” Similarly, during the offering of the first fruit of my day when I’ve first committed myself to the lordship of Jesus, I am able to discern his voice…his commands and most of all his LOVE.