Weekly Wisdoms for the week of February 8, 2016
If you've been around a church, you've certainly heard that God loves you. Although that is true, the word "love" hardly does justice to the way God views you. God's relentless passion and his incomparable zeal for you is beyond comprehension. You can only begin to understand the very tip of the iceberg of God's love for you.
Think of it like this: We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him (Romans 5:7-8, The Message).
How should we respond to the knowledge that God put his love on the line for us? How can we do anything other than put our love on the line for Him and passionately pursue that same God who passionately pursues us? If you were stranded in the ocean and someone came out to rescue you, immediately you would want to join up with and get to know that person. God offers rescue from the domain of sin and darkness; it would be foolish to want anything other than to join up with and get to know the very God who rescues you.
This is the essence of Paul's drive to know God: 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 (Philippians 3:7-11).
Paul was so intent on knowing Christ that he considered everything else in life to be trash compared to knowing Christ. When Paul witnessed the extent of God's desire for him, Paul's response was to passionately, relentlessly desire and pursue God.
Learn from Paul. Pray that God would give you the same desire for Him as He has for you.
You've probably heard these slogans: "Just do it," "Drivers wanted," and "It's everywhere you want to be." And you've almost certainly heard of Nike, Volkswagen, and Visa; however, you probably have never heard of the advertising agencies that coined those slogans: Wieden & Kennedy; Arnold Communications; and Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn.
In a lot of ways, we're supposed to be like those advertising agencies. We are called to proclaim the name of Jesus to the entire world; we're not called to proclaim the name of our denomination, our ministry, our church, or our pastor.
Compare how often you talk about your church or your pastor versus how often you talk about Jesus.
When unbelievers see Christianity, I can't help but wonder how many of them simply see a bunch of denominations fighting about petty issues: Contemporary vs. traditional worship? Drums and guitar vs. organ and hymns? Powerpoint slides vs. hymn book? Jeans and tee-shirt vs. suit and tie?
Instead, wouldn't our testimony to the world be so much better if, with one voice, we proclaimed "Jesus!"? In Romans 15:9, Paul writes, Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name. Paul's singular focus was on making the name of Jesus known throughout the world.
It's not about your church, your ministry, your Bible study, your small group, or your denomination. Your single focus should be on shouting the name of Jesus to all peoples. Your life should be a walking advertisement for the hope, peace, and joy that's available to all people in Christ.
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