WHAT COULD INDICATE THAT ONE IS WALKING FULLY IN GOD’S DIRECTION?
- Jesus Christ carries on intercession for us in heaven; the Holy Ghost carries on intercession in us on earth; and we the saints have to carry on intercession for all men (Oswald Chambers)
- The insecure are into titles. The secure are into towels. Jesus’ security enabled him to both stoop and stretch (John Maxwell)
- We must earn the trust of the person with whom we disagree on a level that lowers the defensive barriers to genuine discussion and debate (Jim Denison)
- If there is any one secret of success it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from their angle as well as your own (Henry Ford)
- The proof of spiritual maturity is not how ‘pure’ you are but awareness of your impurity. That very awareness opens the door to grace (Philip Yancey)
TEXT: Matthew 7: 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
It was while listening to Liz Wiseman’s message on leaders who are multipliers while others are diminishers that her words, “What I know can get into the way of what I do not know” caught my attention. That agrees with what Stoic philosopher Epictetus said that it is impossible for a person to begin to learn what he thinks he already knows. That brought to mind a brother in the Lord who was so committed to the fellowship that he was one of the ‘burden carriers’ in addition to being a husband and a father. This elderly brother had mastery of the scriptures on wives being submissive which meant his wife reared and milked the cows, cultivated in the farm, picked tea and coffee but had no access to the money that accrued from her labor. She literally had to depend on the mercy of neighbors for such items as salt. The man who would not miss any convention or fellowship was convinced that he was doing the work of the Lord. What is ministry? What is work of the Lord? Might one’s personal theology incline him/her to misinterpret the bible? Is it possible for Christian faith be communicated using a format different from the one Jesus Christ exemplified?
While lack of knowledge in some issues may have remedial opportunity, it may not be so when it comes to eternity after our time on earth is gone. Jesus was categorical that once the soul and the body have separated, the opportunity for choice is also gone. The teaching about Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-31) is in agreement with what the writer of Hebrews said “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). There are so many Witt in an article quoted persisting reminders that in spite of advanced technology and world relationships that enable shared knowledge, there is still helplessness. It gets clear every day that this world is not our home and thus the need to rethink about where we are going. Lance Jim Downing, one of the patriarchs of the Navigator work, who was asked “Why is it that so few men and women finish well?” His response was very insightful. He said, “They learn the possibility of being fruitful without being pure. . . they begin to believe that purity doesn’t matter. Eventually, they become like trees rotting inside that are eventually toppled by a storm.” It is important to finish well and get commendation from the Master in whose employ you have been.
Jesus Christ said that not everyone who calls Him Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of the Father. Doing the will of the Father in heaven is the requirement and precondition for one’s entering the kingdom of heaven. It is therefore important to remind ourselves what the will of our Father in heaven is. “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:38-40).
SOME TRAITS THAT JESUS SAID ARE INDICATORS OF BEING IN GOD’S WILL
Recognition of being chosen by God – To submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ is a response to an extended Hand of love. “For we know, brothers and sisters] loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction”.( 1 Thessalonians 14-5) That conviction and power should be manifest in the lifestyle of a believer. It is important to understand that the selection and adoption in God’s kingdom is a well thought-out plan that was set in place way before we came into being. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” (Ephesians 1: 3-5). It is not possible to explain why God revealed Himself to you or why He continually seeks for you. That is what grace is about; it is not earned by one’s performance.
Careful listening and Obedience is the response to being chosen – To be a Christian is to accept to die to self, and allow Christ to have His way in one’s life. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). That means one’s career or profession is an activity through which Christ’s presence is made visible. If one cannot recall Christ’s guidance to their career, then it may be a work of flesh. The message is “As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:7-8). That is how the seven culture-shaping areas of influence over each society, namely: media, government, education, economy, family, religion, and celebration (arts and entertainment) as described by Johnny Enlow will be conquered. That means the professor, doctor, lawyer, bishop/pastor/ farmer, businessman, etc. has to take time with Jesus Christ in prayer and study of the word because God’s work cannot be done using the strength and wisdom of flesh and blood.
Interpersonal not impersonal relationship with one another- Jesus expects those who are His disciples and so carry out His work to have interpersonal relationship where feelings are shared. They are to be so intimate that they wash one another’s feet. A relationship is impersonal when it is based on social roles. An example of impersonal relationship could be a conversation between a doctor and a patient or a car salesman and a potential buyer. Jesus knew his disciples, ate with them, and had intimate conversations with them. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). That is the model for the disciples to follow. Even though everywhere one looks there are people or organizations trying to influence how one should live and what one should value, a Christian is not a nameless individual. Impersonal relationships produce disciples for the church or system but not necessarily of Christ. “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:14-15). Might it be right to say that if people cannot wash each other’s feet, it is possible that they are on a different assignment?
The possibility of being so busy in ministry, burning the midnight oil strategizing how to serve and expand the work, only to be told you were an evil doer should awake each one of us. It is possible to be prisoners of a worldview that was formed by the Industrial revolution that set up a pyramid relationship. The danger of that thinking is that domination of others is assumed to be leadership. That is contrary to Jesus’ teaching and lifestyle. The Christian leadership today that frequently seems to get confused with the modern concept of celebrity is dangerous in that it does not distinguish serving the needs of people and being a servant of Christ. A Christian who is a Jesus disciple has to remain in touch through prayer and reading of the word in addition to fellowship with other believers. To be waiting to be fed only when you meet together, not to ‘wash each other’s feet’ may be what ‘everybody’ does but not what Jesus said or did. Joel Clarkson says, “In my 58 years in Christ's full-time ministry, I have found that many of these little groups are often taken over or dominated by self-promoting, untrained and often very unbalanced individuals who advance odd and even directly unbiblical ideas and theories.” The thinking that results in a few people having ideas that others act on may be diminishing the guidance of the Holy Spirit and leaving others dependent. The format of living in the kingdom should make the gathering of believers’ opportunity to amplify the usage of the diverse gifts and intelligence. Before one can live a meaningful life that is known to God, it is important to know what that looks like by listening and looking at Jesus Christ. Are you willing to experience a deep structural shift of mind-set in order to be a servant of Christ in the way he directs?
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).