Our Prototype

“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me.  John 5:30.

What would we be like if our every motive, thought and desire went through this filter?

I confess I am not there yet, for I still like my own way too much.  Jesus, however, though He is God, gave us a living example of what it means to follow God.  I think what trips most of us up is that “not to please myself but Him” part of the sentence because we have such skewed visions of what it means to please God.

When I was young, the missionaries and ministers all made working for the Lord sound a little weird, now I know they’re right to a degree, but wrong by a long shot on the reality of it.  Some take self-denial to mean subtraction of all pleasure where only suffering becomes the norm.  Yet this can grow into a fetish for us because it isn’t God’s way but based on man’s understanding of God.  Not to mention cloisters, monasteries and host of other attempts at holiness which miss the fullness of what God offers those who follow Him.  You see, God made everything we see around us to be good, wholesome and beneficial.  We, in our religious zeal, extract those things which make us stumble and condemn them as sinful, when in reality it’s our own desires and obsessions which cause our downfall.

Food, for instance, is good and wholesome, beneficial and tasty, yet if it becomes an obsession, we grow obese and unhealthy.  Sex is good and wholesome, beneficial, yet used to excess or out of context and all it becomes is pleasure with no relationship to give it any more meaning.

The persecution and trials come from outside our experience in Christ—and because of it.  We don’t have to manufacture these things by beating ourselves up or denying our bodies the natural gifts of God.  Paul claimed all things were good if received in Christ, but he would not allow himself to be mastered by anything.  This, then, is the key to understanding righteousness, I believe.

Jesus said elsewhere,  “Don’t judge or you will be judged; in the same measure that you judge another you will be judge, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap.”

Now look at our key text above, what do you notice about judgment?  Humans judge for various reasons but rarely for the sake of pleasing God, and, if they do seek to please Him, they have a skewed grasp on what that means.  Taken in context with John 3:16, 17 we gain a new perspective on what it means to judge others.  If we are going to judge anything, it must be sin not the person, for we cannot make any judgment calls on their eternity, since we are not God and have no real understanding of the outcome.

What we can do, however, is call sin by its right name, stand for the truth and show people that we ourselves are sinners saved by and growing in grace.  The testimony of our own lives changing from glory to glory will resonate with those seeking what they don’t know as yet to be Jesus.

If Jesus was unwilling to do anything outside of God’s input and He was the Son of God, what should we be doing here and now?

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3 Responses to “Our Prototype”

  1. Victoria Anderson Says:

    I have thought for a long time that this whole denial thing (not allowing priests to marry) is why the Catholic Church has gotten into so much trouble. There is nothing is Holy Scripture that denies pastors the right to marriage. What do you think?

    • jonnysoundsketch2 Says:

      There is nothing wrong with those who choose to be celibate, however, if they do so thinking that somehow they will be closer to God than the rest of us or more highly thought of, they miss the point.

      There is a passage by Paul in 1 Corinthians 7, I believe, or there abouts which speaks to people remaining single as better than those who are married. The meaning is clear in context but not just looking at the single verse. The context is persecution and a sin in the camp, so Paul is telling them because of the present conditions it would be better if they remain single.

      The Bible gets so misconstrued because the world tries to make it say something different than it does…or they twist the reality of it to mean something sinister.

  2. tlc4women Says:

    I understand the concept of not marrying. The idea is that a priest would be divided in his loyalty, obligation to his flock or his wife. However, I don’t think for many of them it’s a choice made completely freely.

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