Buried under words?

know-jesusOur church is going to employ a person on the Pastoral staff. We advertised the position and received dozens of applications. Trying to discern who a person is by reading words on a page is no easy task. The standard things are there; education, past positions, awards, and accomplishments. I look for more subtle clues about the identity and personality of the person. Do they use formal language or informal? Are they fond of “Christianese” and “Church-speak”? What values creep into their statements? What authors are shaping their thoughts? But, even then, I know that the individual who put those words to paper is a much more complex person than I could ever know from two or three pages of words. There may be a gem buried under all those words!   When we select a candidate for interview, he will spend time with us, with the hope that the real person will shine through and a partnership formed for the glory of God. Some of those resumes are obviously what I would call “puff pieces.” The applicant has created an image that is almost certainly an inaccurate reflection of his abilities and gifts. My response? Set it aside. No further action required!

Let’s take a look at what Jesus says about our resume of life! “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 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 perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21-23, NIV) “It’s not just what you say,” He reminds us, “it’s how you live that matters!” There are those who claim to be “Christian” who know the creed, who show proper respect for the holy, and who even do some things that show positive results for good and yet, they are not authentic disciples of Christ. They are not ‘alive in the Spirit.’ What is the problem? They have kept their true selves hidden from Jesus.

We tend to trust too much in our professions of faith. We can fool ourselves into believing that we are right with God because we go to First Church, because we can quote the key passages of Scripture, and can pray with all the right phrases. But, what is the state of our hearts and minds? Have we hidden parts of ourselves from Him, refusing His Lordship, keeping Him from dealing with our pride, some pet sin, our stuff, our sexuality, our relationships? If we remain ‘unknown’ to Jesus, He will not know and welcome us into His eternal life!

A wholesome morality, a mature knowledge of Scripture and doctrine, and a good record of service in God’s work are not to be scoffed at. Make no mistake about that. Jesus’ point is that those things cannot replace the inner relationship, the core transformation that knowing Him brings.   In truth, when our heart and mind belongs to Him, when the Spirit is living in us, those kinds of things will develop. “Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” (Matthew 7:19-20, NLT)

Are you pursuing Christ, seeking to know Him and to be known by Him? In our word from the Word, we read of Paul’s great desire. I pray for you that is it yours, too. He had once known a religious life, full of ‘right things,’ rigid morality, and even zeal in what he thought to be the work of God. Look what happened when he met Christ. “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:6-14, NIV)

Open your heart. Give the Spirit of the Lord an invitation that has no boundaries. And, in knowing and being known, press on towards the goal of entering into eternal life! For the Glory of God. Amen

______________

Passion For Jesus

I’m calling out to You
There must be something more
Some deeper place to find
Some secret place to hide
Where I’ve not gone before

 Where my soul is satisfied
And my sin is put to death
And I can hear Your voice
Your purpose is my choice
As natural as a breath 

The love I knew before
When You first touched my life
I need You to restore
I want You to revive

 Oh place in my heart
A passion for Jesus
A hunger that seizes
My passion for You
My one desire
My greatest possession
My only confession
My passion for You

Brian Houston© 1999 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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