Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Avoiding Becoming a $3 Product

It is true that we often get what we pay for. If we buy the cheaper products of a place like Walmart we should not expect them to last as long or perform as well as products from Sears. Walmart has these great commercials about rolling back the prices and having many products under $3, but that is exactly what we are going to get; something that lasts $3 worth. If we want something good, nice, of great quality then we must be willing to pay the higher cost. However, we cannot always judge the quality by the price because there are companies out there that will charge the higher price for a lesser product. At least with Walmart the price and quality add up.

Yesterday we considered the pretenders, or in Jesus' language the "false prophets". These are the people who pretend to have the authority as teachers and leaders in the Body but only operate for themselves. These are the people who appear to be of great quality and great worth but who are comprised of cheaper material. Those who are sent by the Father are possessed by the Spirit, lead a surrendered and obedient life, and bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We need to make sure that we remain authentic and do not fall in with this lot of pretenders because the consequences are severe:

Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' (Matthew 7:21-23)

Don't miss the difference here between those who belong to Jesus and those that don't. We know from the book of James that "doing" is a natural product of "being". Being a child of the Father will compel you into obedience so that we do what Jesus taught. We love our enemy, we show kindness to those who hate us, we give more than what is demanded, we prize mercy and grace above justice. However, "doing" without "being" is going to get us nowhere. We can be the best performing servants, leaders and teachers but without a relationship where Jesus "knows" us it is all a big waste of time.

It is like what Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.  (Matthew 7:1-3)

We can try to do what Jesus told us to do, as if it were some kind of written code, but without a loving relationship we may as well be a performing monkey. Jesus defined obedience for us when he told us that if we loved him we would obey his commands. He also told us that our love for him must be greater than any other love:

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26)

In comparison to our passionate love for Jesus all other love pales. This is what Jesus is looking for from us, this is what our Father longs for. With such love the "doing" comes naturally and easily. Leaders and teachers do what they are suppose to as they drink deeply from the Spirit. The Spirit is empowered in such lives to produce the supernatural fruit of love which is far greater than any sin centered life could ever come close to producing. Jesus comes to know us in this relationship of passionate love and reveals to us the will of the Father so that we are able to be the obedient children he deserves.

Nothing else will save us; only the blood of Jesus that came from a passionate love for us. Nothing else will empower us to live a life of obedience; only our passionate love for him, that opens the desire to obey. We can all do a fair job in following his written commands. We can all do a fair job at pretending to be leaders and teachers in his name. We can all do a fair job of conforming and mimicking authentic followers. However, on the day we stand before him, the truth will be seen and all will know. Worse yet, we will be rejected by the one who loves us the most because we did not love him in return. We must do more than speak the words and dance the dance; we must surrender it all in an act of trust and passionate love and allow his love to become the motivator for everything we do. This is no ordinary life. Live it with passion for Jesus. Avoid being a pretender. Do not live your life as a $3 product but allow yourself to be transformed into a person of quality. Especially do not become a $3 product pretending to be a product of greater quality. Be real with Jesus.

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