Monday, March 17, 2014

Just Give Me Jesus

                This morning as I went before the Lord to read His word a song came into my heart. The song is by Jeremy Camp, “Give Me Jesus”(. As I was reading the verses on Paul’s conversion, (Acts 9:1-9) I thought about all the titles, all the ministries, and all the things I have done in my life and the vanity of them all. I found myself thinking back to a time when I was so involved with my church family that I was stretched thin, I sacrificed time with my family to be someone, to be somebody in the church. I was chasing after the wrong things.
                “Circumcised on the eighth day of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law a Pharisee; concerning zeal persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. For whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish that I may gain Christ, and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” Philippians 3:5-10
                When I look back on that time in my life when I chased after things that were godly, and they were good, I see that I was chasing after the wrong thing. Much like Paul I can list off all the things I have done for God. I was brought up through the ranks of the church, started out learning about Christ Jesus in the lessons of children’s ministry, teaching and training children to love the Lord. I served for years in this ministry, as well as a few others. Then I was given the title of Children’s Ministry Director. Leading others to do what I had been doing for years. I was put in a place of leadership within the walls of my church, taught in the women’s ministries, led the cleaning ministry, and helped in various other ministries. (Yes, all at the same time) I was a Christian of Christians. I did everything right. But then, the Lord, in His great and glorious wisdom, brought me down off my own righteousness and showed me that all of this was in vain. I was chasing after the wrong things.  
                Our lives, no matter how much passion, no matter how much zeal we have, if we have not Jesus then they are lived in vain. If what we do is not for Jesus Christ and His glory, than our lives are empty and our lives are vain. We can have all the titles we desire, we can lead all the ministries we desire, we can lead other Christians, lead a congregation, mass great and abundant riches, but unless we live our lives for Christ all these are pointless. They are dung, they are loss, and they are vanity.
              Our intentions are good. We desire to see others brought to Jesus; we desire to lead others to the wonderful knowledge of His grace and mercy. But if we have not Jesus, if we do not seek Jesus above all else, then all that we do is like a well without water. There are no benefits to our lives is we live them for our own purposes. Paul made this very clear to us. He was a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee, he had great knowledge, above many of his contemporaries, but it was all dung, it was all a pile of stinky crap (sorry, must be blunt) compared to the one thing that he wanted most of all.
                He wanted to know Jesus, not just know of Him, but he wanted to be so intimately involved in a relationship with Jesus that he became nothing and Jesus became everything. We have so much passion in our lives, we seek the best gifts, we seek the best titles, but if we do not seek Christ, then all our passion is in vain, and we will become like wells without water, dry and useless. No matter what title you have within your church, no matter what ministry you lead, or are a part of- if you have not Jesus, than all that you do is in vain. You can tell me all day of all the wonderful things that you have done for Jesus, all the great ministries you are a part of. But what I want to know is- do you know Jesus? Do you desire to know Him above all others? Do you seek to know the power of His resurrection, and are you willing to suffer death to be conformed to His image?
                If the Lord Jesus Christ came into your life and stripped away everything you have. He took your homes, your cars, your jobs, your ministries, your titles, your family, everything- gone, in an instant and all you had was Him- would He be enough? Everything I knew, everything I knew to be true was stripped from me. We lost our ministry, our church family; we lost fellowship with believers who said they were our friends. (You really find out who is sincere in their friendship to you when something like this happens) I was devastated. But now, when I look back on that time in my life, I too can say as Paul spoke, I count it but loss because what I gained was Christ. The scales fell from my eyes and I see Jesus more clearly now than I ever did before. I see Him and the power of His resurrection and my passion is no longer focused only on what I can do for Him, but now focused on knowing Him and Him only.

                If all that you know, love and have in this life was stripped away from you today- would Jesus be enough? If you were taken from your church, from your ministries, from your titles and positions within the church body- would Jesus be enough for you? I can say, thankfully today- that yes, Jesus is enough for me. You can have all this world, you can have all the titles, the ministries, and all the other things we think we do for Christ, you can keep them all- just give me Jesus. He is enough for me. I desire today to know Him alone, to know the power of His resurrection, to know the fellowship of His sufferings as He conforms me to His image, so that I may be found in Him not having my own righteousness, but having the righteousness that comes through Him and Him alone. Yes, Jesus is enough- just give me Jesus. Amen and Amen.