Thursday, August 29, 2013

All I Want Is Jesus

All I want is Jesus.

That's all I desire in my day, to walk with Jesus, to join him in his work and have a joyful day of obedience. It means whatever I do I desire to do it for the Lord. I want him lifted up. I want him to receive all the glory. That's my desire but it doesn't always work that way.

I am growing.

When we accept the sacrifice of Jesus, realizing what we are and wanting God's design instead, we don't always understand the process of re-birth. There is an instant change for sure, as the Holy Spirit moves in and our sin nature loses control, but there is also a road we begin to walk. This road leads to spiritual maturity which we need to obtain the full measure of Christ, or, in other words, to be just like him.

The process can be long as walls are torn down, old bits of our character are removed and new spiritual muscles are developed. Like any other process it is filled with failures and successes. It is like falling off a bicycle when you are learning to ride. Eventually we stop falling. The important thing about the process is to trust God's grace, the nature of forgiveness and to keep on going. Paul describes this process, contained in the safety of the Body of Christ:

Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers, so that his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong. This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him. (Ephesians 4:11-13)

We have been given trainers whose purpose is to teach us how to serve and it is in the process of serving that we find ourselves knit together, growing, maturing and becoming like Jesus. The Church is far more important than people can imagine and excluding yourself from it because you don't agree with something is only going to impede your growth in spiritual maturity.

Now Paul includes something important here and is the reason I started off with "All I want is Jesus". Paul basically tells us to stop acting like children and grow up. There are some things we need to do in order to grow up. We have to put away childish things:

We must stop acting like children. We must not let deceitful people trick us by their false teachings, which are like winds that toss us around from place to place. Love should always make us tell the truth. Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the head of the body. Christ holds it together and makes all of its parts work perfectly, as it grows and becomes strong because of love. (Ephesians 4:14-16)

I think most of us understand when we have been acting childish. It is when we allow our emotions to keep us focused on ourselves, which is in direct opposition to maturity in Jesus. It is when we get into petty arguments because someone hasn't respected our opinion or our ideas. It is when we put ourselves ahead of other people. We need to be honest about this before we can start growing in Jesus. We must understand what needs to be changed so we can surrender it to the Spirit.

A personal example: I lost my problem with temper the day I accepted the Spirit's conviction about my self-centered attitude. Suddenly people became important to me. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with compassion. Suddenly I understood. Now people constantly speak of my patience (although I still feel immature in this area).

All I want is Jesus.

If this continues to be my desire, it is easy for me to turn my back on self, false teachings and the sins that attract so easily. It is never about what I want, hope and fear. It is always about the Father's will and submitting my own will to it. That is the essential of the relationship: in love I desire to obey. All I want is Jesus.

Can we say that today or are our desires rooted here, in this world governed by the desires of the flesh? What do we want: to have that girl smile at us, to get good grades, to get a raise, to add to our retirement fund, to get a better parking spot, to buy a bigger house, to own a better car? Maybe you are like me and have even more basic needs: to have food on the table tonight, to pay the rent, to buy a bus pass, to buy diapers. But even these basic desires interfere with our only proper focus. Jesus said, don't worry about these things, don't chase after them because our Father knows our needs. Instead, focus on the things of the Kingdom. It's so sad that it is so simple because it means that we are not even mature enough to do simple. But it is simple, so ...

All I want is Jesus, today and every day.

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