Friday, August 7, 2015

Do You Love Him Enough To Serve Him

Some of us are tired of trying to serve the Lord Jesus without the anointing to empower us to do so. Without the anointing we are doing it in our own strength and maybe for some people that is good enough. It is good enough to go to church. It is good enough to say you are Christian. It is good enough  not to participate in bad things.

Maybe for some it is good enough to be a good person, but being a good person does not make you the disciple Jesus called you to be. It makes you a moral person, and morality is not Christianity.

Somewhere along the way we have lost the extremity of love to which Jesus called us. We seem to ignore the fact that he called us to love him with all our heart, all our mind and all our strength. We seem to conveniently forget that nothing in our life can come before our love for him. We seem to ignorantly believe that Jesus was speaking about a unique situation when he spoke to the rich young ruler, telling him to sell all he had, giving to the poor and then returning to follow Jesus. And we are only willing to apply this to his finances and not to the many things that possess our hearts today.

There are scriptures after scriptures that clearly state that a relationship with Yahweh is all or nothing. To be possessed by the Spirit is to give up all rights and all self-determination. As Paul the apostle stated it:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

I don't really know how we can get away with believing this and not living it's implications. If we study the passage about the vine we discover that as branches we get life from the vine. If we try to be anything other than branches we are disconnected from the vine and there is no life in us.

It is important to understand that it is possible to recognize Jesus without submitting to his Lordship. We can worship him without living for him. We can live the appearance of godly lives with no power, and many of us are there.

There is nothing strange about the power of the Spirit in us. It is not a strange fire, as some have called it, but a much desired and needed fire. It is what Jesus has always intended to possess us because the Spirit is God in us. It should not be abnormal for believers but instead a daily living. Without this anointing we can only serve in the flesh, but we are now spiritual children and need to learn to live as such.

As long as we are distracted by the hundreds of distractions surrounding us in our daily living, we are diminishing the power of the Spirit in us. But, do we care enough to do anything about it? Is Jesus more important than anything else? Do we love him above all things? Is it really true of us, that we no longer live but it is Jesus who lives in us?

Jesus, revive your people again.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Thinking Too Highly Of Myself

There is one innocent looking verse in the gospels that continues to challenge me every time I read it.

"When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion for them and healed those who were sick." (Matthew 14:14)

Doesn't look like much by itself but when you put it in context with what was going on it becomes something awesome.

Jesus had just found out that the forerunner, his cousin John, had been illegally beheaded. Some don't attribute much emotion to Jesus but we see when he gets angry, when he cries, when he is frustrated, and here he probably feels a tone of different emotions.

Like most people who need time to process loss, Jesus just wanted to get away for a little bit. After receiving the news he jumps in a boat with his disciples to head off to a remote place. But suffering humanity anticipated where he would go and beat him there. So instead of finding solitude he was confronted by a desperate multitude of suffering people.

To be honest, if it was me, I would have been ticked off. I would have focused on how I was feeling and the fact that I needed some healing time. Most people would agree with me, but not Jesus. When he looked on those people he was filled with compassion. Once again, for the sake of other people, Jesus set aside his own needs. Not only did he have compassion, he acted on it and spent the rest of the day ministering out of his own need.

Now before we all shrug our shoulders saying, "He's God. No big deal", let's remember that he was here as one of us. He set aside his divinity. He was able to do what he did because he was anointed by the Spirit not because he was divine. So all those emotions were real. His mental stress was real. His physical exhaustion was real. His need for rest was real. But he also knew and understood the power he possessed through the Spirit and love was his driving force. Jesus was no more than we are who are possessed by the same Spirit, except he understood and acted on love much more than we do.

So, every time I am tempted to think that I have it together and I am pretty mature as a Christian, I remember this moment. I remember and I examine how I respond to people when I am tired and stressed. I examine and repent of my failure to live with love as my driving force. I have come a long way since the moment of my salvation 32 years ago but I am still in need of a lot of growth in my spiritual maturity. To be more like Jesus day by day must be our anthem.