Friday, September 02, 2011

They Only Smell Skunk

One of the ways to check our motives in following God is to ask ourselves, what am I getting out of it? The Bible assumes that people are going to want to be blessed, just look at the beatitudes. "If you want to be first," Jesus said (Mk. 9:35). "If you want to be great," Jesus said (Mt. 5:19). The assumption is that people desire things for themselves and they want to be someone great.

If the answer to the question is I want to be great, because I want to be great. Or I want to be great because I'm the center of the universe, then you're going to have trouble with God. He wants to be first, biggest, and best. He is God and won't share that glory with another.

The key is submission, acquiescence, laying down your desires for fame and glory and realizing that the only fame and glory that matters is Jesus Christ and his father. When you can say, "I want what God wants for my life, no matter what it is." When that "no matter what" includes possible/probable suffering, sickness, persecution (2 Tim. 3:12), hunger, loneliness, and/or unknown pain, then you have truly put yourself in a position where God can lift you up and use you for his kingdom. Jesus said, "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted"(Lk. 14:11).

In Luke 14: 26ff Jesus said, ""If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple." Becoming a disciple is what is necessary to being blessed by God. Taking up your cross means dying to your own desires and measuring everything according to God's desires.

If God's best and God's fame (glory) is first in your mind, and if you have counted the cost and are willing to take or do anything to please God, then trust in God's goodness and favor. Don't continue to naval gaze and doubt. Give yourself over to God, love him, trust him, talk to him, sing with and to him (Zeph. 3:17), relate to him. Let him bless you and lift you up.

One more thought: we don't "come to God righteously." We come to God in Christ and because he is righteous and our presence in him, the father sees us as righteous. Its kind of like when a hunter sprays himself with skunk smell. All the other animals only smell skunk, they don't smell hunter. The difference is that this is covenantal language rather than hunter language.

The appropriate response to salvation, therefore, is humble obedience. The great thing is that God's commands are not burdensome (1 Jn. 5:3). They all involve loving, rejoicing, being at peace, and spending lots of time in the presence of God. How can this kind of obedience be anything but thrilling?

I hope this helps. Thank you for bringing up the topic.

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