Humans are weak. In ourselves, we are incapable of sustaining passion for anything or anyone unless it directly affects us. It takes the love of God–His incomparably kind grace drawing us to Himself–that will give us the strength to press into Him.
Lately, the Lord has had me examining my heart. There is a level of holiness that He requires of us that has nothing to do with the clothing we wear or the length of our hair, and everything to do with the motives of our hearts. As a pastor I know recently said, “you can do the works of the ministry and still receive a ‘depart from Me, I never knew you’ on the day of judgment because you never conformed to His character.”
God’s word makes it very clear that our purpose on the earth is to bring Him glory.
Colossians 1:16: For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
1 Corinthians 8:6: yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
Isaiah 43:6-7: I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth,everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
However, too often we make our purpose in the earth our own comfort and self-gratification, and relegate Jesus to nothing more than a means to reach that comfortable life. Instead of revering Him as Lord, worthy of our unending worship because of who He is, we trample His cross underfoot in an attempt to climb the social ladder of self-recognition and personal gain. Our Savior becomes to us nothing more than another rung to climb upon and attract greater attention to ourselves.
Steven Venable (one of my favorite speakers because of his hard-hitting practical truth) put it this way:
There’s no angel or seraphim or elder who is subtly elevated as to detract from the glory of the only One who is worthy of worship…. There’s no competition. Everyone in heaven is completely clear that there’s only One who is worthy; and oh, how that exposes the absurdity of our jockeying for attention, and position, and platform, and the full-blow idol of platform ministry in the charismatic church. How absurd that would be in Heaven — for one angel to stand up in that symphony of worship and say, “Look at me! Look at me!!”
So why do it here if that’s not what they do in Heaven? The Lord alone is exalted in the Heavenly sanctuary and that’s what makes it so precious.
We must allow the Lord His rightful place in our lives; to say with complete assurance that He alone is worthy of our worship regardless of whether anyone ever knows our names. If we will not practice the lifestyle of John the Baptist, embracing the exaltation of His Lordship over our agenda, we have no business toying with the language of “He must increase and I must decrease.” The truth of the uncompromised Gospel message is neither popular nor flattering to our ears; and our endeavors to trick people into Christianity in exchange for some kind of nice life do a severe injustice to all who soon learn that the idyllic fairy-tale of the comfortable Christian has no foundation in the reality of a life in spiritual warfare.
The battle over the souls of men involves radically conflicting ideologies. It is the clash of the worship of the only One who is worthy–the uncreated, all-powerful, radiantly beautiful I-AM–or worship of anything else. Our willingness to give credence to the existence of angels or demons has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the reality of Ephesians 6 playing out around us everyday. To ascribe honor to the Lord and yet live for the promotion of one’s self is to simply draw near to God verbally without making any place for Him in our hearts.
I felt the Spirit impressing on me very clearly the following questions last night–“Are you in it for Me? Are you after My heart? Whose agenda are you pushing? Whose approval are you seeking? Whose name are you promoting–yours or Mine? Are you chasing the feelings, the emotions? Are you tending My sheep or are you preying on My lambs? Are you cashing in on My Name or are you conforming to My character?”
Who’s your focus today?