What is your reason for living? Is it your spouse, family, job, ministry, friends, or even yourself? For the Christian, the reason for our existence should be Christ. When Christ is not at the center of our being, we will struggle internally to continue to serve Him. We must remember that He gave His life that we would have eternal life.
On the shores of the beach, Jesus came to the disciples and ate with them. He asked Peter: “Lovest thou Me more than these? Or, do you love Me more than these?” (John 21:15). We must consider this question and our answer presently. Whatever you love will become your reason for living. It will become the “these” in your life.
There have been many speculations of what is the subject of “these” in Jesus’ question to Peter. There are two popular viewpoints. First, they represented the fish. Peter and some of the others had returned to their former profession of fishing. Second, they represented the other disciples. Since Peter denied the Lord on the night they took Him, he was given the opportunity to reaffirm his love for Him.
Regardless of which of these or any other you prefer, Jesus’ question challenges the believer. Each interpretation reveals to us a need to love Him more and to make Him our reason for living.
The first interpretation shows us that we have to love Him more than our former selves, sins, and vices. We cannot return to our old ambitions and endeavors as our reason for living. Peter returned to what he was doing before he met the Lord. If He is not our reason for living, we will go backwards.
Some focus so much on trying to overcome where they came from that they forget that their focus is to be upon Him now. In doing so, when we behold Him, we become more like Him. Conversely, if we are consistently focusing on sins, we will fail. Though temptations come, your desire or love for Him must supersede your desire for the old sin or habit. It is the only way to resist and overcome.
The second interpretation shows us that we have to live as if we are in competition with others in service, like in a race. If Jesus was referring to the others, it was a direct challenge to Peter to show that Christ was his reason for living more than what any others demonstrated. This challenge is upon us today. Paul echoes this sentiment when he said that we are to run this race as if we are going to be the winner. It is our only reason to be here: to please Him until that Day.
Again, what is your reason for living? Do you love Him above any “these?” Is He your reason? Love Him MORE! Make HIM the REASON! Remember, if we love Him, we will never fail because it is written that love never fails.