Does Jesus matter? Does He really matter?
Most of us reading this are Christians and we live in America. We're in a time when division is palpable in our cities and our politics are nearly untouchable amongst one another in our neighborhoods. It's not the first time. The situation, however, should make us step back and ask ourselves, do we see Jesus mattering much at all in our nation?
What if we have to say "No, Jesus doesn't really matter that much anymore amongst the people of this land." And what if we have to admit that we as Christians have had some responsibility in this? Perhaps, we as a Church have politely and conveniently said over and over "Jesus matters, but not that much in that area." Or, "Jesus Matters, but we will never repent of anything we've done wrong." Or, "Jesus Matters, as long as we can keep going with our own plans and pursuits." Perhaps we as a Church have not really been transformed by the truth of the Gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.
If you stay with me for a moment, maybe we can begin to see something within ourselves.
There was a situation I was aware of where the congregation really wanted to grow its ministry. It really wanted to impact people for Christ. They were ready to do anything necessary to make disciples for Jesus. Sounds great, right? Jesus really mattered to them and they wanted Jesus to matter to others, also.
The Father is concerned about making disciples also. There's no doubt about that as we are commanded to go make disciples. But we need to back up a little before we rush out with all our zeal and plans. The Lord has an order to things.
Our Father is looking for true worshipers who worship in the Spirit and in truth. (John 4:24).
Worship of the Lord is what matters first to the Lord. We're created to worship, and we do worship a lot of things and a lot of people. But are we worshiping the Lord? And if we love the Lord, are we also loving others as ourselves?
In all of our plans, are we loving first? Or have we side-lined love of others to make sure our endeavors in the flesh are achieved at whatever cost. Could it be that Jesus does not matter that much to us if his ways interfere with what we want?
The world prescribes certain ways for us to make disciples, but let's refocus ourselves on how the Lord wants us to proceed.
Let's Worship Him - Loving God and Loving Others as ourselves!
Let's wait on the coming of the Holy Spirit before we make our plans and run out to make disciples.
The angels do not stand before the throne of God and say "Make Disciples, Make Disciples, Make Disciples!" Rather, we are given a glimpse into eternal worship of the Lord. What matters to the Lord is our crying out along with all of creation and all the heavenly hosts, "Holy, Holy, Holy Is the Lord God Almighty! The whole earth is full of His glory."
The situation I became aware of showed how the zeal to "Make Disciples" was done without love for those the Lord had put in the congregation's midst already. It became such a deep and spreading hurt. As a result, the credibility of the Gospel of Jesus was lessened in that situation amongst the body. The testimony for Christ to those outside was also continuously put into question.
Getting our priorities mixed up is an error we're so easily prone to commit. It's such an excellent reminder, though, that we must re-evaluate our practiced priorities and realign them with the Lord's. We need to go back to Him and His Word more often.
What matters to Jesus is our love for His Father and the unity of the body for the glory of His Father (John 17). He knows that when we fail to abide in Him, we will die and lose fruitfulness (John 15).
The Westminster Catechism Q and A #1 asks,
"What is the chief end of man?"
"The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever."
May the glory and worship of God be what matters to us most, too, for He is our God. And may we not forget that loving God includes loving the other sheep in the pasture.
And when we fail, O Lord, help us to repent and change our ways. Help us to heal the brokenness we cause. Help us to worship and glorify you first (Loving God and Loving Others); help us to wait on the Holy Spirit; and then graciously allow us to make disciples in your name, for your glory!
In John 13:34-35 Jesus says "A new command I give you: Love One Another. As I have loved you, so must you love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." What words to hear! Does the world know we're Jesus' disciples by our love? Are we bearing a fruitful testimony even to one another for God's Glory today and for eternity?
Luke 10:27 "All of the law and the prophets hang on two commandments 1) to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul mind and strength and 2) to Love your neighbor as yourself."