Submission To Jesus

“As we submit to the claims of Christ and the demands of the Gospel, we receive Jesus by grace through faith. He comes into our lives in the Person of the Holy Spirit, plants a flag on the beach of our souls, and radios back to heaven that we now belong to our rightful Father, and no longer to the father of lies.

Following Jesus means submitting to Him in every area of our lives. We may not pick and choose with Jesus. He is not Someone for merely a part of our lives, at our beck and call whenever we like; He is Lord of all, and that means Lord of all our lives, every moment, every situation, for our good and His glory . . .

. . . We do not claim Jesus, or possess Him. Quite the opposite, in fact.”

T. M. Moore

The Waiting Room

“So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:28, ESV)

“It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:9, ESV)

“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:13–14, ESV)

I hate to wait. Patience is not one of my virtues. Perhaps that’fashion-person-woman-hands why the Lord continues to leave me in the waiting room. He intends to bring me to a healthy dependence on Him. He’s hooked up my heart to a slow-dripping dose of unfulfilled longings. I’m afraid the late Manfred George Gutzke got it right, “In order to be long-suffering, you must first be long-bothered.” In order to become patient, I must first be one.

Recently, the Lord has used His Word as an X-ray to expose my broken longings, so that He might reset them. I’ve been self-medicating on the wrong hope; a hope for circumstances I believe would suit me better, soothe my soul, and stimulate new growth. But these verses set the sights of my heart on a vision of health worthier of my waiting.

Am I “eagerly waiting for Him,” and on Him, and in Him, and with Him, no matter what (Hebrews 9:28)? Do I long for Him to save me, to continue the work of healing He began in me so many years ago (Isaiah 25:9)? Will I submit to the prescribed regimen of disciplines He will use for working out my salvation? Could it be that waiting is spiritual therapy to strengthen my trust muscle? Am I willing to trust that the Great Physician is mercifully making me whole right here and now? I so easily hope in circumstances I believe will “save” me, rather than in the One who has promised to transform me no matter where I am or what’s going on. Do I believe my eyes will see the Lord’s goodness at work in the land in which I’m living (Psalm 27:13-14)? I need the corrective lenses of His Story to clearly see that He will even use where I am and what’s going on to work out what He wants for me.

I am accustomed to sitting in waiting rooms, eager to see the one I hope will heal me. But this Physician is already out here in the waiting room with me. The waiting room is part of His prescription. The healing is happening; He is curing my cares now, lovingly realigning my longings. By the suffering of longing He strengthens my long-suffering. He has made me His patient to make me patient. He is healing my broken hopes by setting them on Him.

The cure my heart craves is not in better places, positions, possessions, or people, but in His conforming my heart to the likeness of His Son. This Heart Surgeon works in the waiting room, in the places and positions He’s put me with the possessions and people He has given me. Waiting makes room in me for more of Him.

The Emmaus Model of Ministry

What can we learn from that “walk to Emmaus” about ministering to the people God has placed in our path? In Luke 24, Jesus gives us a ministry model worth imitating. Four ministries served two hopeless travelers on one road in a single day, yet they show us the history-shaping life and ministry of Jesus on a small scale. He walked with us, talked with us, taught us, and brought us to himself through the taking, breaking, and giving of his body for us. These are the ministries of incarnation, inquiry, interpretation, and ignition.

Read the rest of my latest article at Gospel Centered Discipleship . . . 

While you are there be sure to check out the many helpful resources GCD has produced to help the Church make, mature, and multiply gospel centered disciples of Jesus.

Losing My Power

As I’ve reflected on John’s record of Holy Week, I’ve wondered: What will I have to lose if I submit to King Jesus?  What will have to die if I am to live in the Kingdom He bought for me with His blood? 

Several clues in the context of this story have convinced me that I may have to lose my PLACE, my POWER, and my PRESTIGE. Today we’ll consider what it might mean to lose our power in order to live in Christ’s Kingdom.

When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.  (John 12:9–11, ESV)

The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign.  So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”  (John 12:17-19, ESV)

The Pharisees were losing their crowds and their control, and they knew it. They were getting desperate. They couldn’t shut Jesus up or shut Him down. They knew that Jesus had a reputation for astonishing the crowds with His teaching because His words carried an authority that was unlike that of their teachers (Matthew 7:28-29). The religious power brokers feared the scales of control would soon tip in Jesus’ favor, so they sought to destroy Him (Mark 11:18). And indeed, they were right.  Jesus didn’t come to get in cahoots with the current religious powers that be. No, He came to overthrow their authority and establish His own.

The king has come for his kingdom and has issued a clear and direct challenge to the reigning structures of political, economic, and religious power.  The drama can only end in one of two ways.  Either Jesus will topple the reigning powers and establish his messianic kingdom — or he will be killed.

Justin Taylor and Andreas Kostenberger, The Final Days of Jesus, page 44.

I can relate to Pharisees’ anxiety. If Jesus is King, then I’m not. If I’m not King, then I’m not in charge. If Jesus is King, then He gets to tell me what to do, but I kind of like the idea of telling Him what He should and shouldn’t do.

When I became a believer in Jesus I expected Him to build my kingdom not bulldoze it!  But this is what a loving King does for the people He loves, the people He bought with His own blood. He bulldozes our little bitty, ME-FIRST kingdoms so that He can build His great big, GOD-AND-OTHERS-FIRST kingdom in its place.  This is actually good news, I know, but I’ll admit, the demolition process can be messy and painful.

In Jesus’ Kingdom there is no “Jesus take the wheel!” Rather, Jesus says, “I’ve already got the wheel. You LET GO.”

Jesus calls me to lose, to die to, my power and control, and to love and live in His.  Do I trust the heart of Jesus enough to rest under His rule, to loosen my grip and lose my griping, to follow Him rather than fight Him?

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. – Jesus (John 12:24-26, ESV)

And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done. (Luke 22:41–42, ESV)

He did it first. Jesus trusted the heart of His Father and submitted to His Father’s will. He did that for me even when I was still His enemy. Why would I not trust Him?

“The sin underneath all sins is the lie that we cannot trust the love and grace of Jesus and that we must take matters into our own hands.”  – Martin Luther

Tomorrow: “Losing My Prestige”