Wednesday, May 18, 2016

who are you following?


If all the Christian leaders of the world were gone today... if all their books, sermons, music... whatever... if all were removed and none of their materials were available for you to access... would you still be inclined to follow Jesus? If Max Lucado, Beth Moore, Charles Stanley, Rick Warren, Joyce Meyer, Francis Chan... whoever... if they were all gone... would you still seek the word of God and obey it? Consider carefully this question...

Who are you following?

As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you." He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it." (Luke 11:27-28)

Boy, did Jesus say a mouthful in Luke 11:28. He points out how easily we can snare ourselves into the trap of honoring men over God?

Admittedly, I am the worst offender of this. I love to study and read A LOT!!! Mind you, my original focus and intent is always to learn as much as possible about Jesus and how He calls me to live. However in my quest, it is inevitable that I will stumble across a book or sermon that is just excellent... something that really drives a point home and speaks to me. It is at these times, when I find a great teacher, pastor, writer, whatever... that I can fall easily sidetracked and distracted with a new mission (my own selfish mission). You see, I can become so taken with a truth shared by an author that I transfer my enthusiam to the person who wrote about it, rather than focus on the lesson God is teaching me. When this happens, I loose all focus. All I want to do is hear, see, read, experience EVERYTHING that person has authored. When I respect a person's writing, music or ministry, I am easily able to place them up on an imaginary pedestal and sing praises as to how THEY have impacted my life. But the truth of the matter is, GOD USED THEM to impact my life. God gave them their abilities and words to point me closer to Him... not the other way around. God, in His timing, had a plan to teach me what I needed during a season of my life. And He did so through a fellow Christian who has already learned, studied and experienced that lesson. So, how did I let it turn into a fan club about an author? Instead, I should be worshipping the great Author and Finisher of my faith?

What many people fail to see is that mainstream Christian leaders, musicians, and writers are just as human as you and I. They too have problems, struggle with sin and insecurity, and don't always make the right choices. Simply put, they are people... not God. I can guarantee you that any leader you could think of has likely sinned, or struggled with sin in some way, within the last 24 hours. But not God. Instead, God remains perfect. He is without sin. Yet God continues to use faithful, faulty people to share His perfect message. It is only by God's grace and forgiveness alone and irrespective of ourselves that any one of us is able to press on in our faith and be used to fulfill His purpose.

Please understand, by no means am I saying that Christian leaders aren't blessed by God. The woman in Luke 11 was right in her statement, but misguided with her praise... Jesus mother was indeed a blessed woman. But WHY was she blessed? She was blessed because she heard God's word and obeyed it. She was blessed because she stepped up and owned her end of the relationship with her perfect Lord. Not because she was worthy - but because HE IS WORTHY. The same is true for ALL believers who stand up and follow their Savior. For any one of us to be blessed, God has laid it out with the simplest terms in Jesus response... "Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it."

In Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah predicts the birth of Christ. He then proceeds to share a variety of names that reveal the character of the holy child to be born... Wonderful... Counselor... Mighty God... Everlasting Father... Prince of Peace.

As we wait for Jesus' second and final return to reign physically as King, He has made it clear in His word that He alone wants to govern our hearts today. He wants all our attention today. He wants us to make Him our everything.... TODAY! God is adamant about where your dependence and glory is directed. He wants to be the one you look to for hope and help and security. Most certainly, He does not want anyone (not even those who follow Him with good intentions) to take His place or receive His praise.

When we are perplexed, God wants to be our Wonderful Counselor. When we are weak, He wants to be our Mighty God. When we feel like everything around us is unstable and changing, God wants to be our Everlasting Father. When worry and anxiety comes, God wants to be our Prince of Peace. There is no leader out there than can individually or collectively offer what our Redeemer offers. They may work for the King... they may write, perform, speak, and teach while representing His Kingdom... but at the end of the day, they are followers, just like you and me... and they must give HE WHO IS WORTHY all credit and praise.

"We should follow our Lord as unhesitatingly as sheep follow their shepherd, for He has a right to lead us wherever He pleases. We are not our own, we are bought with a price - let us recognize the rights of the redeeming blood. The soldier follows his captain, the servant obeys his master, much more must we follow our Redeemer, to whom we are a purchased possession. We are not true to our profession of being Christians, if we question the bidding of our Leader and Commander. Submission is our duty, cavilling is our folly... Let us put full trust in our Leader, since we know that, come prosperity or adversity, sickness or health, popularity or contempt, His purpose shall be worked out, and that purpose shall be pure, unmingled good to every heir of mercy. We shall find it sweet to go up the bleak side of the hill with Christ; and when rain and snow blow into our faces, His dear love will make us far more blest than those who sit at home and warm their hands at the world's fire. To the top of Amana, to the dens of lions, or to the hills of leopards, we will follow our Beloved. Precious Jesus, draw us, and we will run after Thee." ~Spurgeon

While you search for what completes you, what impacts you, what defines you... make sure you are looking to the One who is EVERYTHING. Do not be sidetracked by the applause and celebrity of men. Instead, look to Jesus, who was and is and is to come. In the end, His Name is the only One worth following. Yes, praise Him for using others for His purpose. Praise Him for leading you through the seasons of your life with outside resources and motivations. But hear Jesus words in Luke 11, and understand that no one else can meet your needs or receive your glory except God. Make sure you are following the right person.

"Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it."

Ladies, let's all be blessed because HE IS our focus! Praise HIS Holy Holy Holy Name!!!

Blessings!

Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

6 comments:

  1. thank you..... so very well said... otherwise we are "lulled"
    and I feel easily 'deceived' (starting with me:)) ).
    again, thank you for 'voicing' this truth.... His truth.

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  2. WHAT A GREAT TEACHING FROM GOD THAT YOU HAVE GIVEN US TODAY.

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  3. I am just as guilty as the next (Christian) person who somehow gets swayed by an "anointed" pastor. I didn't realize how much I needed this article till now. Thanks be to God...

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  4. I BELIEVE IN CHRISTIANITY AS I BELIEVE THAT THE SUN HASD RISEN; NOT ONLY BECAUSE I SEE IT BUT BECAUSE BY IT I SEE EVERYTHING ELSE.
    C. S. LEWIS

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  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you, I needed to hear this...........Praise the Lord.

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  6. This is a wonderful article! Thank you for sharing such a necessary truth, and even for reminding us how easy it is for you to fall into the very same trap. I, myself, have done it more with authors than speakers, but as God has worked with me, I see that we are all just stones in the living temple He is creating. Imagine the bricks in our houses lifting each other up because of where they sit or some other bragging right they could find. ;-)

    That said, it has become one of my pet peeves to see people uplift other people (he is so anointed, she is a great woman of faith, etc.), because Scripture tells us that even our desire to serve Christ comes from Him and He gives us the power to do what pleases Him. Yes, we need to give honor to whom honor is due, as with the compliments to this wonderfully-written article, but always remember that EVERY good and perfect gift is from Him, and anything built without Him is labor done in vain. Thank you again for this timely post and for the follow invitation for this blog.

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