The principle that each person shall mind his own business (1 Thessalonians 4:11), and let other people’s business alone (1 Peter 4:15),—in other words, that each person shall give account of himself to God, and shall leave every other person absolutely free to give account of himself to God and to nobody else,—is not only specifically stated in the Bible, but is emphasized by many illustrations.
When Jesus was talking to his disciples just before he ascended to heaven, he asked Peter, three times, the question:
“Do you love Me?” (John 21:15-17)
Peter responded that he did, and Christ replied,
15 …Feed my lambs.
16 …Feed my sheep.
And then, as they were walking along,—Jesus, Peter, and John,—Peter turned to Christ, and said,
21 …What shall this man do?
22 If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you? follow Me.
The Scripture says that Peter turned and saw the other disciple following Jesus. That was what John was doing,—following Jesus. Peter, too, at first was following Jesus; but when he turned to see John, what then was he doing? If he was following him at all, he must have been following him backwards. But backwards is no way to follow Jesus. Men must follow him with the face to him and the eyes upon him.
The only way for Peter to follow the Lord was to keep on the way he was going. But he was so concerned with the other disciple’s welfare, as to whether he was following the Lord just right or not, that he himself must turn from following the Lord to behold the other who was following the Lord, and to inquire,
“Well, Lord, I am to do so and so; but what about this man?”
Jesus simply said, in other words,
“That is none of your business. What that man does is nothing whatever to you. Follow me.”
This illustrates the principle which the Lord Jesus established for the guidance of his disciples, and which he has drawn out in the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of Romans.
Therefore it is written:
13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling-block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
That is the point we are to watch. I am to watch myself that I do not put in your way an occasion for you to fall; and the only way I can do that is by keeping my eyes upon Jesus, and him only.
Yet at this many will query,
“Why, are we not our brother’s keeper?”
Yes. And it must not be forgotten that the man who first asked the question, “Am I my brothers keeper?” was brought to the point where he asked that question, by his disregard of the very principle which we are studying.
If Cain had regarded the principle which is here before us, of following the Lord for himself, and letting Abel follow the Lord for himself, rendering allegiance to his own Master in everything which he did, he would never have been brought to the place where he said, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” for the question would never have been asked him, “Where is Abel your brother?”
It was only when Cain had failed to follow the Lord, that he turned his attention to his brother; and because his brother’s ways did not please him, he began to sit in judgment upon him and to find fault with him.
And at last Cain decided that his brother’s ways were so seriously wrong that he was not fit to be on the earth; and therefore the only reasonable and legitimate thing for him to do was to put Abel out of the way; and so he killed him.
Why was not Abel fit to live? Oh, because his ways did not please Cain, who set himself up to judge and correct Abel, and say what he should do, and how he should do it.
This incident is placed at the very beginning of the Bible (Genesis 4:8-9), and is repeated to the end of the Bible (1 John 3:12; Jude 11), as a warning to all people to regard the principle that we are to honor God ourselves, and follow him ourselves, and let others do the same.
There is a secret in this which people do not realize. When an individual is following the Lord, and him only,—with his eyes upon the Lord, his whole heart devoted to the Lord,—an influence goes forth from him that is ten thousand times more helpful to the man who is the farthest away from God than can possibly be all the superintending that man can do when he takes his eyes away from Christ.
People forget that it takes the power of God to convince a man of truth; and because a man does not go in the way which they think the Lord would have him go, or because he does not go readily enough to please them, or does not shape his ways satisfactorily to them, they grow impatient, and put forth their hands to undertake to steady the ark. And there the mischief comes in.
There is no power but of God.
11 God has spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongs unto God.
We pray every day, “Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory.” Fellow Christians, please never forget this:
Christians must depend
on God’s power alone
to influence people to do right.
Other articles by A.T. Jones:
- Ministers of God
- The Mission of the Spirit
- The Two Principles
- Dishonest Giving
- The Return of the Jews
- The Education of Daniel
- The Nearest of Kin
- Joseph Hoag’s Vision
- Rightly Dividing the Book of Revelation
- The First Commandment
- Origin of the Doctrine of Natural Immortality
- The Powers That Be
- John Bunyan
- Receive Not the Grace of God in Vain