Each person who has ever encountered the saving grace of Jesus has been at this crossroad. We embrace the forgiveness of the Cross of Christ and we begin this journey of walking daily in the truth of the Gospel. This should completely change the lens through which we view the world. Unfortunately I believe for many, if not all of us, that lens becomes clouded over time; jaded; bent towards our own contribution to this world “in the name of Jesus.” I don’t believe any of us intend for this to happen, but the human condition of pride slides its way back into our lives undetected. We turn our eyes towards our value to God and away from the central truth around which our lives are to be built: His value to us.
In Matthew 17:1-8 we catch a pretty clear view of what it means to be “me-focused” instead of “God-focused”:
“And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.” (ESV)
Jesus took these men and led them. Jesus’ glory was made known to them. Peter’s first thought was his own importance and how he could help God out. I completely understand the yearning to show kindness to Jesus and to want to come to his aid by providing a place of rest for him…but Peter missed the bigger picture. Jesus didn’t need his help. Jesus didn’t bring them up onto the mountain so they could be of some assistance to Him. Jesus brought them up there so they could more fully understand who He was in all of His glory. God’s words didn’t instruct these men to come to Jesus’ aid. His words were simple: I love my son Jesus; I am pleased with who He is and what He is doing; listen to Him. That’s it!
The most important thing you can do in this life is not doing something for Jesus, but rather doing something with Jesus. Although He died a brutal death just so that you and I could live in the grace and freedom of the cross for eternity, it’s not about you and me or what we can do to help Him out. It is soleley and completely about Jesus…period.
As Christians, from senior pastors to the little children running the halls of the church, we must stop centering our attention on how valuable we are and the contributions we are making. There’s a name for that: pride. Instead of talking about how valuable we are, we need to listen to how valuable Jesus’ words are. Yes, Jesus loves me…this I know, but you and I cannot be at the center of our experience with Christ and ever expect Him to use us mightily. He is the center; He is the nucleous around which we revolve and exist and have purpose.
The next time you are tempted to “do Jesus a favor” by serving Him, don’t. Jesus doesn’t need your favor. Instead, Jesus wants your very being to be knit together with His. Don’t settle into the modern Christian experience centered around your contribution to the Kingdom. Settle into what He did for you.
Don’t do things for Jesus; live life with Jesus…the rest will come naturally.