"So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields." Matthew 9:38
Misunderstandings and disillusions of who Jesus really is in our society is the ultimate reason for people living out a false Christianity. As a whole, we know what we’ve seen from television preachers and from the basic Bible stories we’ve grown up hearing. Who hasn’t been taught the timeless stories of David and Goliath or Daniel and the lion’s den? Who hasn’t had the Sunday School teacher that with good intentions, told the children how these stories were given as examples to us by God to show us how we can overcome adversaries in our lives? I can recall being at a youth camp once and hearing the teacher tell us kids, “David overcame the giant Goliath and did the impossible by killing him because he had God on his side.”
It sounds great! And there is a bit of truth to what he said, because we know that in Christ, we can do mighty things. But here’s the problem in teaching Bible stories in this manner….its misinterpreting scripture to mean something it doesn’t mean. The assumption that many teachers take is that we are these great men of the Bible, like David or Daniel. And things like Goliath or the Lions represent obstacles in our lives that we triumphantly overcome. But in looking at scripture in the way, we insert ourselves as the heroes of these stories, when in reality, we are the ones who need saving.
You and I are not David slaying the giant Goliath. And Goliath doesn’t represent the troubles in your life. If we were to insert ourselves into the story of David and Goliath, we would be the frightened Israelites, watching this battle, huddled together and crying in the corner saying, “We’re all going to die!!” Jesus represents David and Goliath represents sin and death. And the same can be said for any story in scripture. Jesus is the greater David. Jesus is the greater Abraham. Jesus is the greater Esther. Jesus is the greater Boaz. Jesus is the greater Moses. Thats the main point that was made in the book of Hebrews. You and I are not the heroes of scripture, Jesus is.
At times we have the bad habit of viewing ourselves as heroes and God is just our cheerleader in life. Its this weird viewpoint that God created us so that he wouldn’t be lonely in the universe and that God is ultimately about us! But the deception in thinking this way is that we believe that we are entitled to a good life of ease because God should want to spoil his children. Therefore, when something bad happens in our lives, we cannot understand why God would allow such a thing.
Here is the truth. And for some, it’s going to sting and shake everything they may have been taught to the core. God loves you. God is for you. God wants your joy. But ultimately, God is not first and foremost about you. Gods main priority is God. For some, this doesn’t rest well with you. But the fact that this bothers us exposes just how very self-centered we really are in our nature. That we actually feel like we should be the center of Gods universe. Some may ever rail against this idea. But scripture will back me up…..here is a list compiled by Dr. John Piper and Matt Chandler.
God created us for His glory (Isaiah 43:6-7).
I want you to think about this. The reason you exist, the reason you are is for the glory of God, the name and renown of God. The praising of His infinite perfections, that’s why you exist. Church is not primarily about fellowship. God was not lonely and decided to make you because He was just tired of being alone after eternity of being alone. God was perfectly content within the Godhead. God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit did not need to create you. He did create you for the praise of His glorious grace. That’s why you exist. It’s the reason you’re alive.
God calls Israel for His glory (Isaiah 49:3).
God rescues Israel from Egypt for His glory (Psalm 106:7-8).
God defeats Pharaoh by the Red Sea to show His glory (Exodus 14:4; 17-18).
I have never ceased to be comforted by the fact that God never just outright destroys the nation of Israel. They get it right for a couple verses in the Old Testament. Right behind almost every verse of commendation is, “All right. You want t go that way? We’ll go that way.” And so God never destroys them or completely annihilates the nation of Israel, and He does it for the sake of His name.
•God gave Israel the Promised Land for the glory of His name (2 Samuel 7:23).
•God did not cast away His people for the glory of His name (1 Samuel 12:20-22).
•God saved Jerusalem from attack for the glory of His name (2 Kings 19:34; 20:6).
•God restored Israel from exile for the glory of His name (Ezekiel 36:22-23; 32).
•Now Jesus shows up an fits right into this rhythm. Jesus sought the glory of His Father in all that He did (John 7:18).
•Jesus told us to do good works so that God would get glory (Matthew 5:16 & 1 Peter 2:12).
•Jesus warned that failure to seek God’s glory makes faith impossible (John 5:44).
Now I want to stop and push on that a little bit. Because here’s what I know about some of you that you might not know about yourself yet. Some of you are here because you believe that, with certain actions and certain behaviors, you can put God into your debt. You believe that you can live in such a way that God will owe you. And when you don’t get what you feel like you’re owed, you’ll get frustrated and angry that God has not given you what He never promised to give you. The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is not that everything starts working out your way; the good news of the gospel is that God is enough, regardless of your circumstances. You get Jesus – that’s the gospel. That’s the good news. Not that you get an easy life, but that you get Jesus Christ….and He is enough!
•Jesus said that He answers prayers so that God would be glorified (John 14:13).
•Jesus endured His final hours of suffering for the glory of God (John 12:27-28).
•God gave His Son to vindicate the glory of His righteousness (John 17:1; 13:31- 32).
•God forgives our sin for His own sake (Isaiah 43:25 & Psalm 25:11).
•Jesus receives us into His fellowship for the glory of God (Romans 15:7). • The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Son of God (John 16:14).
•God instructs us to do everything for His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). .”
•God tells us to serve in a way that would glorify Him (1 Peter 4:11).
•Jesus is coming again for the glory of God (2 Thessalonians 1:9-10).
•Jesus’ ultimate aim for us is to see and enjoy His glory (John 17:24).
•God’s plan is to fill the earth with the knowledge of His glory (Habakkuk 2:14). If you’ve always been confused why people would risk their lives to go all over the world, it’s because we believe with everything in us that when God says, “I shall,” He means it, that God cannot fail. So if we go herald the good news to parts of the world where there is no visible presence of His glory, it’s because we have the promise that, by our death or by our proclamation of His Word, His glory will be established.
•Everything that happens will redound to the glory of God (Romans 11:36).
•In the new Jerusalem, the glory of God replaces the sun. (Revelation 21:23).
So the point of the Bible is God; it’s not you. Its not me. God is about God. God is for God. And thats a great thing. Because if God is for God and about his Glory, that means I am not the center of the universe!!
Why do we get angry in traffic when someone cuts us off…..because we think we are the center of the universe.
Why do we lash out at our spouse when our expectations are not met…because we think we are the center of the universe.
Why do we doubt God when hard times befall us…because we think we are the center of the universe!
When we think we are the center of the universe, we are easily offended and constantly disappointed. But in Christ, we are free to see that the universe doesnt revolve around us. If Im not the center of the universe and someone cuts me off in traffic, I dont lash out at them because they offended me, but realize that their offensive had nothing to do with me, but that they are just being human and probably in a hurry.
If Im not the center of the universe, when my wife disappoints me, instead of holding a grudge against her, I see how my sinfulness has offended Christ over and over. Yet he never cast me aside, but continues to love me. And I live out that example with my wife, not so that I will be glorified in what a good husband I am, but so that God receives all the glory. Because no man is good, not one. (Mark 10:18.) Im merely shadowing the example given to me by my Father in Heaven. Its Christ working and redeeming through me. He receives the glory from the example we live out.
And when I realize that I am not the center of the universe, when hard times fall, I see it as a time of God sanctifying and using the situation to magnify his glory through my circumstances. The disciples and the apostle Paul were beaten to the point of death many times. Yet not once did they curse God. Rather they praised his glorious name for the opportunity given to suffer for his namesake!! If we could only reach that point in our lives where Christ is that supreme in our lives! Ultimate joy is found in glorifying Christ in every aspect of our lives! It amazes me how we can read of these men in the scriptures who suffered greatly for Christ and even look at Jesus himself who suffered greatly, and still have people who actually think Jesus should give them health and wealth because they go to church! Thats not the gospel!!
If Im not the center of the universe, Im free to love my family and friends at a deeper level because my selfish ways dont hinder me! I am not the hero of my story. Jesus Christ is. And Jesus is glorified through my obedience to him in every aspect of my life. And living in obedience to his commands improves my marriage, my family, my friendships, and how I respond to trials in life. In short, Christ being glorified and God being first and foremost about his glory produces an overwhelming joy in my life. His word wasnt given to harm or restrict me, but to lead me in the fullness of His joy. As John Piper wrote in his book “Desiring God”……
“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him!!”