Imagine going to your doctor to talk about severe digestive issues and having her obsess on a hangnail she saw on your hand! Silly, isn’t it? You would object, “Dr. my hangnail is an issue but it’s tiny compared to the main thing, being that I cannot eat without pain!” What if you took your car to the garage to have them find out why it is so hard to start in the morning and when you returned found out that they had merely checked the pressure in the tires? “Tires? They are not the problem!” you would tell the service advisor.
In our Christian life we must guard against becoming focused on secondary issues as a reason for our existence!
Congregations do not exist to support church buildings.
Pastors are not called to be therapists or morale boosters.
Worship gatherings are not a place to be entertained.
Serving in ministry is not about finding self-fulfillment.
Sermons are not good just because they are interesting.
Prayer is not about ‘getting things from God.’
We have one core purpose as Christians and as His Church –
to know Christ and to make Him known!
Feeding the hungry is important, however we do it as an expression of the love of Christ, not simply for humanitarian reasons. We must care for orphans, defend those who are powerless, build community – but always with the desire of making Christ visible. Preaching that does not bring people to the Cross of Christ and invite them to know the renewal of the Spirit may be helpful in creating better lives, but it misses the point.
Paul’s declaration should be one we all make daily – “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.” (Philippians 3:10-11, NIV) You may be thinking that is rather a statement of the obvious. It isn’t! We become sidetracked into personal agendas, taken up with pet projects, and wrapped up in our own religious mindset so easily. Paul knew that. Just before that magnificent passage just quoted he wrote – “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.” (Philippians 3:8-9, NLT)
We can become ‘professional’ Christians, adept at saying the right words, doing ‘right’ kinds of things, without really knowing Jesus.
Our word from the Word is a warning from the Lord Himself.
“Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’ “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock.” (Matthew 7:21-24, The Message)
Make Christ- His Life, His Cross, His Resurrection – the core of your life. Pray that all attitudes, plans, words, and actions will flow from a heart fully devoted to the Savior, Lord, and King.
Be The Centre
Jesus be the centre
Be my source be my light
Jesus be the centre
Be my hope be my song
Jesus be my vision
Be my path be my guide
Be the fire in my heart
Be the wind in these sails
Be the reason that I live
Michael Frye© 1999 Vineyard Songs (UK/Eire) (Vineyard Music UK)
CCLI License # 810055