Yet in spite of how many times Jesus used the word must, we still try to take it out of the conversation, or at the very least try to soften it and water it down. We have never been real big on musts. In fact, we like to turn must into may whenever possible; taking away its necessity and replacing it with more of an optional quality. But there is no option in must. There is no space left for preference or discretion. With must we are given no latitude or leeway. Must means must. It doesn’t offer any wiggle room.
We want to be the ones to determine our musts and not have someone determine them for us, which is the essence of sin itself. We prefer to call the shots. We, like Simon Peter, prefer to determine what and how and when things should happen. Yet when we do that we receive the same rebuke: “Get behind me Satan! You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of man.” (Mark 8:33)
O Lord Jesus, have mercy on us. It seems like we are always getting in the way of what you are trying to do. Forgive us when we produce gray areas where no gray exists. Forgive us when we try to soften or water down the things you tell us we must do in order to truly follow you. Give us the grace and the strength and the courage to embrace them instead. Help us, Lord Jesus, to let you determine the musts in our lives. You are much better at it than we are.