In my reading this morning I am reminded that we who follow Jesus often want to be independent in how we follow Him. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to be all negative on the church by any means, I love the church. It’s just that we must be honest with ourselves, too often, it’s about what we want to do. We feel inspired by God to do stuff and then we want to carry it out on our own. I am especially aware of the selfishness with which we can serve. My way at any nearly any cost. And lest you think this is only for me, ask God to speak to you about your pursuit in ministry. Is it as pure as you think or is it more about you’re affirmation. Ouch, I must say it is convicting when said like that. As I continue following Christ through my fifties I am discovering what it means to trust Him, and to let him lead. It often means, filtering out other voices, including my own, and waiting to listen to His voice.
John 10:27 (ESV) 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
As a pastor, I need to want to please God more than anything else in my life. Actually that would be true for any follower of Christ but I think even more so for a pastor. Our nature is to please people and we can often think that is what we are called to do, but that will often counter our need to please God. Remember, all of us are prone to be selfish, it is what we do. It is the hardest thing I believe I am to do, but to not do it will render me useless in the Kingdom.
Mark 9:42 (ESV) 42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.
Now I know Jesus is talking about children here, so I am maybe doing a little algebra when I take this and apply it in the same manner to our focus on pleasing people rather than focusing on pleasing God, but I think it fits. God is concerned that I and anyone else he’s called to lead, listen to his voice and seek to please him at all costs. Have I always done that? Have I even half of the time done that? Ok, let’s not go further lest people think that I am a wretched man…… I think Paul said it first and we tend to think pretty highly of what he said…. so, I’ll just be honest, I LOVE GRACE, how about you?
But I don’t want grace to be cheap grace anymore. Grace’s purpose is to draw us to God. Without it, we’d continue running in the opposite direction. But God bestows grace on us to draw us near. Grace is attractive. But it’s end purpose is to bring us back to God and to help us want what he wants, redemption and to join him in the ministry of reconciliation.
So today, Lord I pray that I will follow You, hear your voice and may you have your way with me. Trade my wants yours, my will for yours and my delight be in you and you alone. That you will take this self-centeredness away from me so I might experience the true joy of your salvation and presence in my life today. Today and everyday Lord, I want to be a follower of Christ. Amen