Thursday, January 21, 2016

RELIGIOUS AMBITIONS

“If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” (Philippians 3:4-6).

Paul was a man who could say, “I once was somebody. All my peers, including my fellow Pharisees, looked up to me. I was a Pharisee among Pharisees, climbing the ladder, and I was considered a holy man, a powerful teacher of the law. I had a reputation in the land and was blameless in the eyes of the people. But when Christ apprehended me, everything changed. The striving, the competing—everything that I thought gave my life meaning—was surrendered. I saw that I had missed the Lord completely.”

Paul had once thought his religious ambitions—his zeal, his competitive spirit, his works, his busyness—were all righteousness. He had thought it was all for God’s glory. Now Christ revealed to him that it was all flesh, all for self.

Therefore, Paul stated, “I laid aside all desire for success and recognition and determined to be a servant.”

“Though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more” (1 Corinthians 9:19).

Paul saw that Jesus took upon Himself the life of a servant. He was the very Son of God, yet with a servant’s heart. Likewise, Paul knew that he also had been made a son of God, by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. But, like Jesus, he also desired to be a son with a servant’s heart. So he determined to become a bondservant to Christ and His Church.

Beloved, I, too, know that I am a son of God. Yet, like Paul, I also want the servant heart of Christ. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). Having the mind of Christ means going beyond theology. It means submitting our own will to take on Jesus’ concerns.