This past Sunday I heard one of the finest sermons I have ever heard. Certainly, the mind was engaged; but more importantly, the heart was convicted as it was shown clearly who Jesus Christ really is. The pastor’s message forced the heart to really examine whether or not it really wanted to follow Christ.
The sermon started out with the pastor sharing a statement a friend of his once made. His friend, who he left unnamed, said:
“No one really wants to be like Jesus. . .We say we do, but we really don’t.”
From this introduction, we ran straight to Philippians 2:1-11. This passage describes how Jesus, who was in very nature God, did not hold onto his position, but emptied himself and became man. But, when he became man, he didn’t become a king in a palace, but a nobody in a stable. He never sought his own glory but only God’s glory. He took the rebuke and disdain of man and returned it with with grace, love, and mercy. In short, he set the paradigm for his followers to consider the needs of others over their own . . . always.
Whose glory am I really concerned with? Do I always consider the needs of others? Do I even really want to do so? Or, do I justify my own worldliness simply because I confess my evil and need of Jesus?
Do I take Jesus seriously when he proclaims the evils of wealth and possessions or do I spiritualize his words? You know, Jesus isn’t really calling me to give everything up and follow him. Jesus just wants me to be willing to give everything up and follow him if he really wanted me to.
Am I concerned about the poor, widows, and orphans? Or, when I see those commercials and documentaries about the social evils of the world do I change the channel to my favorite, light-hearted show?
Would I ever willingly leave a place of privilege and security and go to place because of love? Or, would I sit comfortably and wait patiently just in case Jesus ever wanted me to go?
The questions could keep coming, but there is really only one further question I need to ask. The question I need to consider is simply the pastor’s friend’s statement in question form. Do I really want to be like Jesus? Do I really want a life of constant self-sacrifice in preference for the needs of others? Do I really want to forsake my possessions and comfort for the good of others? Do I really want to respond to personal affronts and evils with grace, love, and forgiveness? Do I really want to take up my cross, my object of humiliation and agony, and go where Jesus is going?
Or, do I just say I want to?
I’d rather not commit my answer in writing…. cause I don’t think I’d like what I’d write.