Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Getting Blown Away

In our family devotions this morning we were considering the temptation of Jesus after His baptism, and one point really stuck out to me today that I haven't spent enough time to examine before. The thing that I find so profound about this whole exchange is the reason why Jesus was out there in the desert in the first place. Jesus is my prime example of what it means to be a Christian, and the best picture I could ever have of what it looks like to be in 'ministry', so His reasons and motivations must be of prime importance to me.
The main thing that I took away from this is that Jesus didn't make a plan and then start praying and petitioning God to bless it, nor did He ask Holy Spirit to come along for the trip. The one thing that is clear from Jesus' ministry in this regard is the fact that He was constantly being led by the Spirit rather than His own volition. He went from one place to the next by this leading, and not even the strong hands of men could change this. His disciples asked Him to change his direction, the Pharisees threatened Him with violence if He didn't stop, those beloved women wept for Him to change His course, but none of these had any effect on Him. His face was set to the path that the Father had chosen for Him. Is this true of many ministries these days or are we following those who are following their own well intentioned plans? What are the marks of those who follow as Christ followed? I would put forth that they should be as scripture says of those who follow the Spirit in John 3:8. There is a mystery to their comings and goings. Is this true of the churches we attend, the ministries we follow (or lead), or can it be said that pretty much anyone who gives us a passing glance knows what we are up to?
It is so difficult to let go of the reigns and let God blow us about in His winds, but there truly is no other way. Jesus told His brothers that when they were going to Jerusalem for the Passover He would not come with them. In John 7:6 Jesus told them that their time was always ready, but His had not yet come. He was telling them that they were running by their own adgenda, and they were ignorant of heaven's plans. They were essentially doing what we so often do, and teach others to do; we make a plan for our direction and then ask Jesus to come along. How often does He end up coming along as He did with His brothers; in secret after they left. Does Jesus show up when we are doing our thing? Yes, many times He does. (I firmly believe that He is always with us, and plan to address this in a later post, but for this analogy let's just let it slide, ok?) Does this mean that He came with us? Not necessarily. The sovereignty of God's purposes may intersect with our purposes, but please let's not imagine that we willed, cajoled, or in any way coerced Him into it.
Perhaps it is time for us to subject ourselves and those who lead us to a more rigourous scrutiny regarding the reasons, motivations and means of what they are purposing to do. Seasons will come where we will be forcibly returned to this criteria by the very turns of the society that we live in. No more will we bow to the glitzy conference posters, virile videos, smiling faces, and the bearers of the microphone. Our very lives may depend on the spiritual integrity of those who are leading us. Remember when the people tried to lay hands on Jesus before it was His time, no dice. What if He had been choosing His own purposes above the will of the Father? No dice. The only question remaining is whether we will learn while it is easy or wait until we have no choice. If this happens in our generation we may be fortunate to have our good forced upon us, if it does not we may weep in the end for the loss of all we gained.

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