We say that we are followers of Jesus Christ but I challenge that assumption. I believe we are very religious but few of us act as followers. To be religious is not such a stuffy stoic thing. The current message of the Church, that God is love, is producing a great deal of religious hearts. Although it is true that God is love, without repentance we cannot reap the benefits of that love. So we set up a false sense of security based on the assumption that in the end, despite everything else God has warned us about, his love wins out. But his love only wins out when a heart is humbled by that love, corrected by that love, redeemed by that love and changed by that love.
The reason that we are religious and not followers is because we follow a system instead of following Jesus. Does this describe you?
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. (John 4:34)
Who's will is most important to you? No quick answers here. Examine your day and your process of decision making. Is there any consultation with our Father? Do we consider his instructions? His direction? Do we sense we are in step with the Spirit? Or are we just doing our best; what we think we should do?
What is the Father's will? That everyone would be saved.
What is your role in this will? To make disciples.
Worship should be like breathing to us, a natural and important part of our day, but it isn't your purpose. It is like saying breathing is my reason for being. It's not. It's what keeps me alive so that I can do other things. If we only focus on worship we are missing our purpose. Jesus told his disciples and thus us:
Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” (vv. 35-38)
We have been sent out as reapers into a world that is ripe for harvest but we are too busy building a farm house for ourselves. We are in a hostile land, in the middle of spiritual battles and we set our armour aside to look after our own needs. This despite the fact that Jesus told us to trust the Father to do that while we seek after the Kingdom things.
Could it be that the many messages that are coming out from the Church that get us to focus on ourselves instead of the harvest, are clouding our understanding? Could it be that we have allowed the enemy of our soul to convince us that the system of this world is like God's system? Can I tell you that there is no early retirement in the Kingdom, no "freedom 55", no setting aside, no taking it easy, no "me time"?
Jesus told his disciples that his "food" was doing the will of his Father. This is the one we claim to follow. Jesus also taught that no student can be better than his teacher. Have we lost sight of the fact that Jesus spent three years showing us how it is done; how it is that we are to live by the Spirit; how to live the Father's will? We are great at building communities of like-minded people but not so great at living a Spirit-filled life bent on the will of the Father.
I am sure if I studied our history long enough I would discover how we got to this point, how we got it so wrong, but I am not sure that matters as much as recognizing that we are at this point. We need more than revival in our land; we need a deep renewal of relationship and purpose. We need fresh wind and fresh fire as the Spirit sweeps through the heart of God's children again. We need to hear the shout of the Father to his children, calling us back to him, back to what is important, back to his will.
Before you conclude that this does not apply to you, ask yourself how you have walked like Jesus this week? Have you put the Father's will above everything else in your life?