What does it take to be completely committed to God? So many times have we prayed things like, “Lord, I give all that I am to you.” Are you in that boat with me? As I was reading John chapter 7 this morning, the first verse seemed to jump off the page.
John 7:1 (ESV) “After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him.”
Then notice these verses that come later…
John 7:16–19 (ESV) “So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. 17 If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. 18 The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. 19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?”
Jesus is doing exactly what God has sent him to do and there are people pursuing him to kill him.
Can I be honest and say that if I knew that taking a certain position on an issue would cause people to try to kill me, I might temper what I was saying for my own benefit. Remember, we’re not talking about a group that simply opposes you philosophically or has a different agenda, these people were trying to end Jesus’ life!
As you read the story you see that his brothers, who don’t yet believe in Jesus, are trying to convince him to leave Galilee and go to Judea. The region of Galilee is rural and what we would call “the country.” Judea is where Jerusalem is and it’s where thousands of people will congregate to celebrate the feast of the tabernacles. They tell him that he should go there so people can see his miracles. Jesus, knowing that there are those who intend to take his life, says that the time is not yet right. He doesn’t delay for fear, he delays because he knows he is on a timetable ordained by God and Jesus has surrendered everything to his father. Jesus waits a few days then goes straight to Jerusalem.
It’s that surrender that I’m after in my own spirit today. A surrender that will cause me to do whatever, whenever, the Father ordains. I also want an ear to hear directions from him that are this specific. How often do I consider the pros and cons of a thing? Measuring those things by their ability to either help or hurt me? You might say, “Well that’s human nature.” And you’d be exactly right. We all have within us a fight or flight reaction that is built into our human nature. I want something that goes beyond my humanity. I’m not after only the natural, I want the supernatural!
Why? Do I think that God is calling me to be a martyr some day? Lord, I pray not! For now this is more about how I live my life every day. Take spiritual gifts for instance. There is a part of my natural self that even in the exercise of the gifts of the Holy Spirit wants things to be done in a way that solidifies my position as a balanced pastor. I think pastors should be balanced and wise! However, my own desire for self-preservation should not be the primary factor in how I allow the gifts to operate in my life. I am simply not sufficiently abandoned to God’s will for my life.
Just recently a great friend of mine lost a job because she took a stand on principles. As I understand the details, she would not do something she considered unethical. She lost that job and is right now looking for another.
Believers, that’s who we are! It’s not enough for us to have a faith that results in words only. But as we fast and pray, lets allow our father to develop in us a faith that can truly live out this verse in Matthew…
Matthew 6:33 (ESV) “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Press in. God’s talking!