Great Expectations

There are times in our lives when we know we are made for more, but how to realize that “more” escapes us so we melt into the pew or fuzz out into the anonymity of the crowd and become a spectator of great things rather than a participant. We will see someone else who, through the use of their gifts and the living of their life for Christ, is radiating the glory of God and we whisper in our deep hear, “I want to do that.” Too often we dismiss such a notion, assuming that no one would listen to us. It’s easy for the Christian musician and the preacher because people expect to encounter Jesus when they encounter those people. But isn’t that the expectation of all who follow Jesus? Shouldn’t we all reflect the glory of our heavenly Father?

There was a time, early in the formation of my ministry, when I had all kinds of ideas for doing the work of God. My thought was that I would do the work, and God would come along and bless it. This, of course, is not how it works. Jesus warned that there would be many on the day of judgment who would point to their religious works, “didn’t we do these works in your name?” who would not be accepted into the kingdom. Doing my will for God’s glory does not glorify God at all. Doing God’s will my way is disobedience. I learned that, but the enemy took advantage of my learning curve to plant seeds of doubt in my heart. “God doesn’t do great things through you” was the message he stuck there like a festering splinter. “To be well-loved you must perform well” was the mentality he tried to forge in those early years of development. It had worked too, and only recently have those lies become exposed, and only now am I surrendering them to Jesus so he can destroy the devil’s work.

Making an impact for Jesus is what we are called and empowered to do. Jesus said his work of salvation was finished, and he also promised that his disciples would do even greater things than they witnessed him do! He promised he would be with us – actually with us – to the end of the age and that the Holy Spirit would live within us and lead us and enable us to do God’s will. So, what is it that prevents us from building the expectation that when people encounter us, they will encounter Jesus? It is our assumption that God doesn’t work through us unless we are “in ministry.” Real, life-changing ministry, in our thinking, is for the professionals and the rest of us just show up to cheer them on. That is wrong, it’s a lie, and it’s disobedience. Jesus has made us a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” That means the you are a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and an ambassador of His kingdom. We are, every one of us, missionaries operating in enemy territory – no matter where you are. All of us must reflect and represent Jesus. It must become expected of you.

Currently, the church in America is persecuted. Jesus told us to expect that. He said that we are blessed when people hate us on account of him. The great tragedy is that Jesus is not the reason we are hated. We are hated because we claim his name, but look nothing like him. It is time to be hated and persecuted for the right reason. It is time to show the world – your world – who Jesus is. That means you and I need to make an unrelenting effort to pursue wholehearted devotion: holiness. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” With every fiber of your being, love God. That is the first and greatest commandment. From that love will flow a love for others that we currently only show ourselves, but first, we must learn to love God completely. It is time to raise the bar and set greater expectations – that we, in the smallness of our everyday lives, will radiate the glory of Jesus out of who we are. Real, life-changing ministry is born out of who you are in Christ, not a title on your office door.

So, who are you?

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One comment

  1. Well Michael, God has certainly chosen to bless many of us with your efforts. Some people really listen when you talk, and we know you say good things. Right things. Hard things (still good, just tough). So kick the stinking liar in the teeth and continue to speak up.

    Like

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