Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Am Not The Star And Neither Are You

Let's be honest and admit that we belong to a culture of hero worshipers. We all love a good hero story. Thank you Marvel Comics for your many stories but I am referring more to the human kind of hero. If you ever saw any of the Rocky movies where the underdog overcame many obstacles to win you would understand the feeling it provokes in us. A similar story is found in the Die Hard series or any other story where the common guy rises up and overcomes the bad guy. We love it because we love things that seem bigger than ourselves. This is why there is such a cult following of movie stars and singers.

We really do idolize these people and some of my younger readers have blogs and pictures to prove it. Hey, my nine year old daughter has a poster of Justin Bieber on her wall that is bigger than me. We transfer this kind of idolizing to leadership as well. We start giving our government leaders the same treatment as the movie stars and are disappointed when they don't have that pizzazz and sparkle. I would dare say that we have started to give this same status to our spiritual leaders as well, especially the big name pastors. But there is only one star in the Kingdom of God.

Mature leadership will not allow themselves to be put in such a position and mature members of the Body will not tempt the leadership to be in that position. If there was ever a star next to Jesus it would have been the apostle Paul but Paul demonstrated the healthy mature attitude and understanding that we all need to gain. Jesus called Paul as a servant and no matter how famous or infamous he became Paul remained a humble servant. He knew his only purpose was to point the world to Jesus. All Christians wanting to grow in maturity need to grasp this same truth, that we are dead to ourselves and made alive in Jesus. Paul taught:

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
   did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
  but made himself nothing,
   taking the very nature of a servant,
   being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
   he humbled himself
   and became obedient to death—
      even death on a cross!
(Philippians 2:5-8)

Spiritual maturity requires that this same attitude would permeate every fibre of our being. As followers of Jesus Christ we gladly serve to whatever end he wants us to, always making sure that it is not about us but about Jesus Christ. The world cannot be saved by us; only Jesus saves.

When the Corinthians attempted to put Paul in this place of hero, lifting him up beside Jesus, Paul wrote to them to correct them:

Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (1 Corinthians 1:13-15)

See the maturity of leadership here. Paul was saying, "I can't do anything for you. There is no value in me. I didn't die for you and even if I did my death would have had no benefit."

Today we get caught up in all the trappings of leadership. "What does this leader have to offer? How many books has this one written? How large is his church? What unique take does this one have on Jesus? What is his hook? How successful has he been? What makes him different from his peers?" What a foolish bunch of people we are because if that is what we are looking for in leadership it is also how we see ourselves. But the Body of Christ is not about individual stars or great leaders. We already have our leader and there is no one like Jesus Christ. All the rest are just humble servants serving the Body. Paul said to the Corinthians:

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. (1 Corinthians 1:17)

Sometimes in our attempt to be unique, to stand out from the crowd, we empty the cross of its power. In an attempt to look wise we rest on human wisdom, human sayings, human ideas. Everyone is so hungry for the next Twitter-sized thought or quote. What a foolish people we have become. Maturity requires a servant's heart, to understand along with John the Baptist that we must decrease and Jesus must increase. None of me Lord and all of you. There is only one God, only one Lord, only One Spirit. God must take his place and we ours. Maturity makes its progress in us as we allow this truth to guide our thoughts and actions.

There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)

I can't save anyone, it's not my purpose or my place. Only Jesus saves.


The Manic Chef said...

AMEN! Only God Himself through Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit can make us, and mature us, according to His Perfect Will for our lives. As we by the Grace of God die to our selves, we then will grow according to that same Grace to live, and be more like Jesus. For we can do absolutely nothing without Jesus Christ and His strength nor without His Power. It takes a lifetime to be changed into the fullness of Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour! For He which has started this work unto salvation, shall also finish it within us! This was the faith Christ had towards His God, His Father, and that same faith shall be ours, if we just allow HIM to accomplish that which He has started. I came not to Christ in my own strength or will, but Christ came to me and gave me the grace to see and believe! AMEN!

Pastor Paul said...

And on this we agree. No man convinced me of Jesus but Jesus himself revealed himself to me. However, many will not know unless we at least present Jesus. The work of salvation is then up to the Spirit as he convicts men of their sins. But there is much for us to do as he calls us to be by his side, and he has appointed some to be teachers.

The Manic Chef said...

According to Hebrews, all believers are to be able to teach others, to confess to them Jesus Christ. But many preach Jesus, without being lead by the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not preach to ALL, He did not heal everyone, for He only did that which was according to His Father's will. Too many so-called Christians are not saved, but think they are because they gave 'mental' ascent to God, but they were not born again by God's Will through the Holy Spirit. We must teach or testify of Christ as lead by the Holy Spirit and not by our fleshly desires to have people saved. Look at the evil works of Billy Graham. I went as a teenager to one of his crusades in California as boy, how many thousands went forward to accept Christ but which Christ? He is a sample of presenting a false Christ, this man is a false teacher and an enemy of the true cross. I mention this only to show why the Apostate church is growing, for they are led to a false Christ, a false doctrine, it's the Anti-Christ spirit. I'm sure you will agree the Lord wants a people separated unto Himself, and many Pastors and organizations want people to back up their ministries. Pastors are to point believers to the Lord as Paul did, He never tried to usurp the Lord's place of authority, he only pointed them to Christ for all things necessary for their salvation and sanctification. True believers need to have an alone experience just as Paul did, too many so-called Pastors speak Jesus, but do they really know Him? Or are they in bondage to theology principles due to Bible Colleges, and the old traditions of 'doing' church. When most have not walked alone with God to know Him, just as Paul did, and many of the Old Testament prophets. The Lord bless you.

Pastor Paul said...

My brother, much of what you have written here I am in full agreement with you. It is by the Spirit or not at all. I have been convicted for years that we do too much my our own flesh. I encourage the "alone" experience and cry when I see pastors twisting people's arms for Jesus.

However, I can't come into agreement with you when it comes to criticizing fellow servants. Very few of us are right from the very start and we have to be shaped and molded by the Spirit into great maturity and understanding. I agree there are those who call themselves pastors who are nothing more than business men. But there are others who are anointed but have not yet found their spiritual legs of maturity. We need to pray for spiritual wisdom and greater revelation for our brothers, not tear them down.

As for Billy Graham, all I can do is rest on the Scripture that says:

"Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand." Romans 14:4

The Manic Chef said...

I'm very saddened that you feel Mr. Graham is a servant, for this concerns me greatly. You being a pastor is to warn believers of persons who preach a different Gospel, and a different Christ, who perverts the truth with the intent to deceive, which Mr. Graham has done for decades, he has always been pro-Roman Catholic church. God's word tells me to proclaim those that teach a different gospel, a different Christ, that is the true Love of Christ to warn all so they do not fall into the hands of those that are wolves in sheep clothing. The Lord bless you.

Pastor Paul said...

Well, until the Spirit reveals otherwise I have found no reason to criticize this servant. I do not fell I have leave to do so and to do it would go against the convictions I have about tearing down instead of building up. All I have heard this servant preach is Christ crucified and risen, and that it is only by dying with Christ that we can be risen with him. So, if I am mistaken in this I will accept the Lord's correction but until then I will stand with my fellow servants and preachers of the Word of God. I just hope you are sure of what you are saying because God has a way of defending his own.