How Jesus responded to Fame!

Matthew 14:1 “At that time Herod the tetrarch about the fame of Jesus…” Matthew 12:15-16 “Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all and ordered them not to make him known.”

In my devotions this morning I came across these two passages of Scripture and was fascinated by the fact that while Jesus had obvious fame and notoriety in his generation (and still has today) because of his preaching and miracles, he went to great lengths to keep it all under wraps.

Throughout the gospels we read that Jesus was constantly asking his disciples or those to whom he was ministering to not to tell anyone about his ministry, and yet it seemed like Jesus ministry just kept getting bigger. He even had family members telling him to go to Jerusalem and do his works out in the open and not in obscure places, if he wanted to be known… How wrong they were about Jesus motives…

Even though Jesus had many people following his ministry and his name even being heard amongst the elite of the day (King Herod), I’m fascinated that he did all he could to keep a low profile, to enable him to go about the Father’s business in the times and seasons alloted to him.

Jesus lived his life on purpose and if twitter and Facebook had been around, I’m sure he would have avoided boasting of the last great miracle he performed (“Just opened another blind man’s eyes… I had to give him another round of prayer cause his eyesight was still blurry after the first one…” In 70 characters or less).

Jesus responded to the opportunities before him according to his mission from his Father. If being given a platform to more people would extend the mission of the Father, then Jesus would use it accordingly but I don’t read him seeking fame. In fact, he did the opposite, he avoided it.

How Jesus’ example challenges us today? I wish I could say, that all of my motives for social media and ministry have been pure but unfortunately, lurking deep within have been some very prideful and selfish agenda’s. I’ve since repented of them, however, Jesus’ example forces us to re-examine the goals we are aiming for in our lives and what we are seeking after as being worthy of our joy and contentment.

If God’s grace extends to you fame and notoriety, this much I know, it isn’t for you, cause you were never built to handle it. It could only be for the glory of Jesus and the extension of his mission on planet earth. If fame and notoriety doesn’t come your way, rejoice that your name is written down in the book of life and get on with the mission God’s put before you.

Grace!

Assurance, Not Guidance!

I’ve discovered that guidance from God is not always what we need. More often than not we know what God’s will is but what we need to complete it is assurance from God that he will be with us.

This is no more true than for Gideon after God called him to strike down the Midianites. The Lord said to Gideon, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor… Go in your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” Gideon said, “How shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manessah, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” But the Lord said to him, “Surely, I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.”

Gideon has an initial conversation with God and then goes on a journey of giving God his final response. On a personal level Gideon feels much like us when asked by God to complete his will, he feels inadequate, insecure and lacking in confidence. When God issues a call to us, it raises our insecurities to the surface but this is a necessary part of our training to complete God’s will for us.

The very thing we think disqualifies us to answer God’s call (our weakness) is the very reason why we have been chosen, so we don’t confuse God’s glory with our ability.

Gideon knew the will of God but he puts out a fleece, not to get guidance but to get reassurance from God that he was in fact called to do what God had asked him to do. Why would someone who knows the will of God need a fleece to double-check? The fleece had nothing to do with finding God’s will and everything to do with his own poor self-image. Gideon wasn’t seeking guidance, he was asking for reassurance.

When it comes to our own calling, what we need most, is not more direction but reassurance that we are the one’s to fulfill it. Reassurance is a key part of Gods intention for us. When he commits us to impossible situations He knows that it will throw us into a crisis of self-confidence. It is in these moments that God will answer our insecurities with confirmation that he is with us and that he has called us to head in a certain direction.

Insight!

Transformation is a Journey, not a Destination!

2 Corinthians 3:18 “And we all with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image (of Christ) from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

We have become very good at approaching life in linear form and with fixed points in mind but God has designed life as a journey, not a destination. From God’s perspective, the quickest way forward from where we are now, to where he wants us to be isn’t always a straight line. Sometimes it’s full of twists and turns.

Never more is this true than in spiritual transformation. The journey of our transformation can be rough. We are challenged, lovingly confronted, tested, exhorted, encouraged, edified and comforted. Everything is about movement and momentum. Before we can become constantly victorious, we have to become the biggest loser. We have to learn to lay aside weight and encumbrance. We must say ‘no’ to what would entangle us and learn to run with endurance the race that has been chosen for us (Hebrews 12:1).

In all of His dealings with us, the Holy Spirit has to overcome the flesh and establish Christ. We are babies, children and rebellious teenagers before we become fully mature in Christ. There are many memories, hurts, wounds and betrayals that require new health and wholeness. There are sin habits, personality problems, fears, doubts and unbelief to overcome. A spiritual mindset that is not rooted in logic, rationale or reason must be established. The supernatural over the natural lifestyle must be developed or high levels of trust, faith and power are simply not possible.

So here’s a couple of questions to consider today: What part of your life is under conviction from the Holy Spirit at this time? And what Scriptures is He using to support the change He wishes to introduce? If you don’t have any, search the Scriptures and ask God to reveal to you some personal promises and prophecies that will be released to you to help you embrace change joyfully.

Insight!

Count the Cost!

You can’t go up if you don’t give up something that’s holding you back!

1 Timothy 6:6 “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment.”

Contentment with Godliness is cool because it’s relational. It represents an upgrade in our relationship with the Father and says we are happy with him but still want more of him at the same time. It means we are exploring our future relationship with him while enjoying our current relationship with him. However, contentment outside of this context can lead us into complacency. Complacency is not on Gods agenda for any of us.

An athlete called up to the Olympic team must make decisions about lifestyle, health and fitness that are in agreement with a vision to win the Gold medal. Vision releases freedom but also brings restraint. The same applies to our spiritual lives and life calling. We all must choose to live in a way that is aligned with God’s purpose and permission. in order to generate accomplishments in some areas, i will have to curtail my involvement in areas that are dubious or unhelpful.

Examine your heart today, is your high calling in God matched by a high commitment or a low commitment? If it’s low, then evaluate everything and begin to change . you only have one life and it’s not a dress rehearsal. We are on stage now and the curtain is up. Your relationships might change, your study habits, your time with God, your conversations and how you use your income might have to all change to match the high calling God has given you.

When you launch out in the beginning of your journey, you may count the cost initially but never really understand the actual cost involved. As we journey we pay the price in installments, which makes it bearable. Every time we pay the next portion, we receive the next measure of God’s allowance to us and we continue to grow up in Christ. It’s only when we are shaken to our very core that we start to discover the hunger to overturn everything contrary to the life God has ordained for us.

Insight!