You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only. Matthew 4:10
Sometimes as Christians we cross over a line without even realizing it. The fuzzier it is, the harder it is to tell once we are treading on thin ice.
The enemy knows this.
We have the best of intentions as we find ourselves wanting to express love and kindness to others and look for the light and love of Jesus in them. Naturally, we then wish to lift that person up, encourage them, and take a moment to revel in all that God is doing in their life.
And that is good.
But as soon as it even begins to turn into a admiration of that person, rather than who they are in and because of Christ, we risk a form of “person-worship”. It doesn’t always happen ~ but it does become a bit of a tightrope and we need to be careful.
The glory belongs to God. friends.
“I want to be just like that person.”
“She is so great and has it all together.”
“What he is doing for God is so wonderful.”
“Her ministry is so awesome ~ she’s really great.”
It’s not bad for us to say or think these things ~ It’s only dangerous if it stops right there. It’s really scary if it started right there!
If we don’t go the step further in our minds and hearts to remember that it comes from the Lord, we start to idolize that individual instead of Him.
HE is what is Good.
Often our actions and our words are the only way that others can see what Christ is doing in and through us. But it is SO important that we attribute all the good that any of us that follow after Him do here on earth to the Lord.
It’s important for that person to “clothe themselves in humility”, but equally vital that those of us who listen to them, encourage them, or learn from them do not glorify them as some sort of God.
This happened to Paul, as well as many other followers of Christ, you know. Many times.
These guys knew….
That was not good.
But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news,telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. Acts 14: 14-15
We know the story well of the pastors, bloggers, teachers, mentors who have lorded over their own ministry and given the credit to themselves instead of God. But what about those who are following after them? Do we find ourselves somewhat worshiping our teachers and leaders in the church and in ministry overall? How about that person out there who has a “wonderful ministry for Christ?” How do we perceive them?
Anything that I do (such as this blog, for example) in which I share about all the Lord is doing in my life ~ the good, the bad, and the ugly ~ well, in a way it’s a ministry. It’s a testimony of what Christ is doing in my life and the life of others that I am doing life with.
But it’s not MY ministry.
It’s not my personal kingdom, friends.
And for me personally, I must say….I truly feel the greatest testimony of the good that Christ has brought about in and through my life comes from seeing clearly all that I am not without Him. Only then can I clearly see HIS goodness. Only then can I see that no matter what happens, with Him on my side it truly is going to be all good.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Do I find myself admiring another person and how Godly they are (or seem to be) and fail to look for the brokenness and how Jesus Christ is responsible for any and all good that has happened in their life? Do I stop short and simply sit back and wish I were more like that person instead of searching for ways to learn how Jesus made them who they are today and every day?
Sometimes I do. I admit it ~ I am guilty.
I find myself teetering on the line between listening to what GOD has placed inside of them and is allowing to spill out, and seeing it as that person’s own widsom ~ gifting ~ or awesome-ness.
Like I said: It’s a fine line.
I want to be standing on the side of the line that is ALL GOOD. I want to be firmly rooted on the side where Jesus is, rather than mixed up in the stew of human goodness and divine goodness.
It’s a casualty of living in this transitional home, friends. Things get murky and muddy.
Gotta remember to always look up. Look up to what is purely and divinely good.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39
I focus so much on making sure that I am loving others that I run the risk at times of forgetting that it should come in second to loving the ONE and ONLY that is wholly good. Only that makes the second part worth anything at all. Only that allows the second part to be the kind of love that Christ has for us to come out of us as we love upon others.
Keepin’ it Good ~ ALL the way good.
We have to check ourselves all the time. We do this through prayer and daily heart checks with the Lord.
It is good to lift one another up and encourage them and tell them what the Lord is showing us through them and their willingness to use the gifts He has given them.
It is good to seek Jesus inside of others and recognize Him and see Him and how He is spilling out of them because He lives inside of them and wants to shine.
It is good to edify, encourage, reinforce, compliment.
It is GOOD.
But making these things our first stop is not ALL good.
It is not good to exalt or glorify anyone other than Christ. Not a person. Not a pastor. Not a shining leader and man or woman of God.
No ~ not even an angel.
“And I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. 9 And he said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book; worship God.” Revelation 22:8-9
Friends, it even happened to John, so don’t beat yourself up if you, like me, have teetered on the tight rope and occasionally capitulated. It is okay. God understands and will forgive us.
We can simply recognize it and ask the Lord to fill our hearts and our need to worship with Himself. He can use others, for certain. But all the good comes from HIM.
He will do it, you know. He is ready to enter in and be our ALL.
He is our One and Only ~
There is only One King ~
And He is our ALL GOOD.
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:17