But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Matthew 16:23
I am unsure if anything can be said more cutting to a disciple than Jesus's saying, “You are a hindrance to me.” Jesus was so pointed that he called Peter Satan” the adversary.” Peter, at this moment, is being adversarial to Jesus.
The issue is that Peter is convinced he is trying to protect Jesus. He believes Jesus shouldn’t be handed over to the elders, chief priests, or scribes. Jesus shouldn’t suffer and be crucified. Peter doesn’t understand the beauty of Jesus’ plan, that he is going to the cross to sacrifice for mankind’s sins. That in his resurrection, believers would have victory over death and judgment. Peter didn’t understand.
Peter was not aligned with God’s plan but was actually working against God’s plan; even though he intended to protect Christ, he was not aligned with Jesus.
I can understand how Peter got off the mark. Years ago, I had a truck that would drift to the road's edge. This can be very dangerous as you can drift into the ditch or onto another vehicle. After the alignment, the truck was easy to steer and much safer.
The question that we must ask is, are we aligned with God, or our we drifting? The thing about alignment is that it’s easy to drift. Alignment takes maintenance and care. It takes the right person with the right tools to realign a vehicle. For a believer to be aligned with Christ, it takes the right tools, counsel, and goal, which is Christ.
The tools that help a believer to be aligned are God’s Word, prayer, and worship. God’s word must be unfolded to a believer. Many will approach the Bible with no depth, rather a sense of justification. They will use a verse out of context to try and make Christ align with them. We must wrestle with God’s Word to be aligned with God.
First, we must hear God’s Word. Faith comes from resting under hearing the Word proclaimed (Rom 10:17). Then we must read God’s Word. This cannot be a callous perusing but rather a deep soaking up of God’s nature and will for our lives. Next, we must study the Scripture in how it fits in with the whole counsel of God. The proper study comes with an open heart and mind, asking God to reveal what His Word wants to unfold to you. Then we must commit ourselves to the memorization of God’s Word. That sets it in our hearts and allows us to meditate, to think on it, and to allow it to shape us.
Prayer is essential for being aligned with God. It is impossible to be aligned with God without prayer. John wrote, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (1 Jn 5:14) We have confidence that God hears the believer when they are aligned with him; how are they aligned? The prophet Jeremiah recorded, “Call to me and I will answer you and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” (Jer 33:3) It is in the calling, the searching, that God reveals himself.
Worship is essential to be aligned with God. The Psalmist wrote, “The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” (Ps 145:18). Being aligned with God is to place God in our lives rightly. That requires truth and submission, as the psalmist asserts. Authentic worship is putting oneself in submission, which aligns them with God.
Alignment is unheard of in a world that values self-preservation and identity. Constant realigning is essential for a believer. First, to not be adversarial to the plans of God. Secondly, to be in agreeance with God. And lastly, to be part of God’s plan. Alignment cannot be taken for granted but must be pursued, and often it takes someone challenging you so that you will know that you are crossing dangerous lines.