Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It's Not About Me!

As I’ve been studying the Scriptures lately, one of the themes I have seen cropping up time and again is the fact that life doesn’t revolve around me. Far too often, my first reaction to things is to ask, “How does this impact me?” And while it is a perfectly good (even necessary!) practice to look for ways to apply the Bible to our own lives, I would argue that we need to go much further than that in our application of God’s word.

Let me show you what I mean. Consider 1 Timothy 1:15-17…
15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
In verse 15, we see Paul urging Timothy to maintain humility, realizing that he has received mercy instead of what he deserved. To remember this truth on its own would be good, but it is altogether insufficient to simply end there. Verse 16 goes on to explain that this mercy was not intended to terminate on him, but was to be an example to others so that they might trust in Christ as well, and similarly experience his mercy. At this point, it might be tempting for us to think that this is where Paul is going with what he is saying, but then verse 17 reminds us that it’s not even those other believers who are, in the end, the focus of God’s work. What is most important is that all honor and glory would forever be God’s alone.

Last Sunday I preached from Mark 6:45-52, which (falling right on the heals of Jesus feeding over 5000 from just five loaves and two fish) tells the story of Jesus walking on water. As Jesus climbs into the boat, Mark informs us that the disciples were utterly astounded, “for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened” (v. 52). The reason they were astounded was not ultimately that Jesus had walked across the water nor that he had silenced the wind and the waves. As amazing as these things were, Mark suggests that if they had “understood about the loaves,” they would not have been so astounded at what Jesus had done.

The problem is that they (like the crowds) thought that what Jesus was doing in feeding the 5000+ was merely filling empty stomachs. Yet again though, Jesus intended for the glory of God to be made manifest. What he had actually done was display that the laws of nature do not govern him, but rather he governs them; he was showing them that he is God!

God is constantly at work meeting our needs. He does so with such frequency that quite often we don’t even notice it. When we do notice it though, let us remember that this is not all that he is doing. He is yet again drawing our attention to the fact “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).

No comments: