When Peter saw him (John, his fellow disciple), he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”

John 21:21-22 (ESV)

Adult and Teen Challenge is highly respected in faith-based recovery circles as well as the Christian community among those who are aware of the phenomenal outcomes of our 12-month residential program. However, the “secret” behind those who succeed is as old as the New Testament itself. For many, there are external factors which bring them to us (i.e., the mercy of a judge, the ultimatum of a spouse, or the threat of a parent). Those external factors, however, are typically not enough to keep them in the program and certainly not enough motivation to insure a permanent change of heart. No, there must be a moment when all the external motivations give way to an internal voice which cannot be ignored. 

At times, the Apostle Peter reveals deep spiritual insight only to have it give way to an impulsive opinion that bears little resemblance to the passionate person of faith that he truly longs to be. In the text above, Jesus has just examined Peter regarding the depth of his love and devotion for Him. But, while Peter is unable to articulate the extent of that love, he is passionate in his declaring his desire to love Jesus as he should. However, without fully processing the weight of this heart-piercing talk with the Lord, Peter quickly becomes more curious about what Jesus has to say about John who is approaching them. Knowing Peter’s heart, Jesus responds that neither John’s condition nor His plans for him in the future should be any of Peter’s concern. Peter’s life is to be singularly focused on following Jesus—whatever that should require.

The students of ATCM are actually no different than any of us when it comes to the “secret” of living the abundant life. Without an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, we are susceptible to distractions and to comparing ourselves to those around us and may easily find ourselves in a condition far worse than we have ever experienced. 

We can overcome any challenge set before us providing we face it with the surrendered heart of a disciple!