Get Out of the Way! (Placing Jesus First)

I remember laughing out loud after reading Craig Groeschel’s admission: “I can’t stand a lot of Christians” (“Confessions of a Pastor” p. 17). It was such an honest revelation and it reflected how I sometimes feel about ministry. It’s not that I don’t love people. It’s just that it’s so frustrating watching people  get in the way of what Jesus wants to do in their lives and in their churches. We need to learn to get out of the way!

Survey the New Testament and you’ll find one purpose and perspective: Jesus Christ. Everything revolves around our savior. Issues of belief, salvation, the coming Kingdom, love, life, victory, and church all center upon the person of Jesus! Thus, anything that is worthwhile to accomplish needs to keep Jesus as its center (John 15:1-8).

So often I’ve counseled couples who are struggling in their marriages, yet refuse to pray together and read their Bibles together simply because neither of them has the impetus to place Jesus before their own pride. Or have dealt with persons who care more about their own agenda than submitting to the will of God. Or have dealt with those who think that gossip/slander/politics are the means to achieving God’s glory.

This was Jesus’ point in Mark 8:32-38:

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his lifewill lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

In regards to authority:

Romans 13:1-7 makes it clear that all authority has been instituted by God. That means that instead of belittling our President, leaders, parents, or pastors, we should be working to pray for them that they make the best decisions possible. Voicing our opinions is alright as long we understand that their authority is from God and we will answer to God for the sins we commit against our leaders. We respect the men because they have been placed there by God. It’s the principle that David demonstrated with Saul (1 Chronicles 16:22).

In regards to spiritual authority, Hebrews 13:17 states “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” So many people groan and grumble when they hear this verse, as if it were their local pastor who added it into their Bible instead of God himself. In my years of experience, too many great men of faith have been wounded by people who think they are right with God, yet sin against God by attacking the authority he has placed over them.

Are we acting how we want to or are we following the Bible’s standards of conduct with our leaders? I’ve failed in this area plenty of times and have repented plenty of times, because it’s my desire to be right with God!

In regards to spirituality:

The Bible teaches us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). It teaches us to meditate on God’s word day and night (Joshua 1:8). Deuteronomy instructs us: “But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

As I mentioned in a previous post, prayer, Bible study, and church needs to be a priority for all Christians. How can we serve a God that we are not trying to get closer to every day? How can we know God’s will for our lives when we aren’t paying attention to the mediums in which he chooses to speak to us? I don’t mean to sound harsh, but can we be Christians if we don’t care enough to seek God? The New Testament makes it clear that faith without works is dead (James 2:17).

In regards to life:

Proverbs 14:12 states “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Truly spiritual people place the pursuit of God before the pursuit of their own desires. In other words, Jesus needs to be the center of our lives. We represent Christ everywhere we go, from our house, to the church, to our workplace. As Colossians 3:17 states: “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Our Christian marriages need to reflect Christ! We should have the lowest divorce rates of any segment in society because together husband and wife are loving God and showing love one to another. There should be a demand for Christian employees in the workforce, as we honor Christ through our vocations doing the very best work possible. People should be clamoring to be a part of our churches people love one another and heal hurts while uplifting Christ.

In conclusion

It’s my prayer that you can see past my frustrations and look into the reality that God wants more for his church. God wants us to reach this world for his honor and glory! We need to get out of our own way, and let God lead us into a life that denies the flesh and uplifts the Spirit!