It’s All About Jesus
I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. —Philippians 1:12-18
I love my church.
I really do. I love the worship, the community, the excitement and passion and the ministries of my church. I especially love the people in my church. But I hope no one ever mistakes my love for Harvest Muskoka as my ultimate love. I am all about Jesus.
When I read Paul's letter to the Philippian church, it becomes so clear that Paul didn't care about anything but Jesus and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I can imagine the latest Christian magazine hearing about this Christian hot shot named Paul of Tarsus and finally catching up with him in a prison cell for an interview. I think it would go something like this:
Hey Paul, looks like things are going well for your popularity, but now you're in prison. Are you concerned how this will impact you making a name for yourself?
If throwing me in jail helps Jesus be more known and the churches who are passionate about Jesus grow then I'm all for it! I love Jesus and want Him to be known (Phil 1:12-14).
But Paul, you really do have a good thing going . . . and your pastoral credentials are phenomenal! Are you saying you'd leave it all? You would give it all up—the success, this place, the church?
My status, my achievements, my popularity, my success, and my religious traditions; I wouldn't consider it a sacrifice to lose it all. In fact even the term "give it all up" seems odd to me. I have gained Jesus Christ, so everything else seems, well, like garbage! Maybe you're not hearing me clearly: I love Jesus. It's all about Jesus! (Phil 3:7-8)
Why am I so fired up about studying the Word? Because it most clearly shows me Jesus. Why am I so passionate about worship? Because I want to lift high the name of Jesus. Why do I want to impact my community? Because I have met Jesus and can't keep myself from telling everyone about Him.
So as a church, what should we be seeking? We should always be seeking the Lord Jesus Christ Himself—to know Him, and know His love and to be witnesses for Him. The Apostle Paul says that the peak of his ambition is “that I might know him” (Phil 3:10). Not that he might have wonderful experiences, or a perfect church, or a great life, but that he might know Him. — Kaj Ballantyne
- If I were to ask the people that know me what my “ultimate love” was, what would they say?
- What can I do to intentionally lift high Christ’s name today?
Prayer – Almighty Father, thank You for bringing me into a relationship with You. I am so thankful for that, yet the distractions of this life keep my eyes on everything but You. Forgive my wandering attentions and help me to keep You in the center of my world. In Jesus’ name, Amen