Vintage message from our 2002-2003 radio program called “Perspective” aired June 29, 2003.
What is it that you fear most? What is it in life that you avoid like the plague? Who are those people who you want nothing to do with?… Do you ever stop and wonder if, in avoiding these things, that you’re actually glorifying God? Or, is God glorified in your boldness to stand firm and face these things you fear? This is what glorified God the Father through Jesus: that Jesus allowed for a scenario to happen that He knew would result in His death. We go out of our way to stop the scenario, we go out of our way to stop the bad guy, we go out of our way to make sure the authorities are alerted, but what is it that glorifies God the most? That we stop the bad guy or that we trust God to work through the bad guy? See, God isn’t concerned about the bad. God is concerned about our hearts and what the results of our actions are concerning Him. Are my actions showing faith in Jesus Christ and what He’s done for me [and] Who He is in me? If I run away from everything that scares me, if I fail to step up and witness to the man on the street corner because he’s big and he’s ugly and a different color, will that glorify God? I think not. So often, that’s what we run away from. We run away from those things that are different than us that we fear and, in fact, fail to glorify God as Jesus did…
Peter [answered], “Lord,…I will lay down my life for You.” Such a common answer for most of Christendom. “Lord, if You will give me what I want, I’ll follow You. Lord, if You will do for me what I want You to do for me, then I’ll follow You. Lord, You meet my need first, and You make my life comfortable, and You fill my pockets with all of the good things, and then I will follow You.” Well, what about following Him before He does those things? What about following Him even when it is inconvenient? What about following Him when your neighbor is obnoxious and spiteful and does the nasty things to you and kicks your dog? You still have to love them because Jesus loves them. And that’s why we don’t want to be here. And that’s why we say, “But Lord, why can’t I follow You now? Lord, why can’t I have what I want now? I’ll lay my life down for You, if You’ll give me what I want.” And this is the amazing thing about Jesus, and this is what keeps me in fear and trembling all the time. This is what causes me to walk the line, because Jesus knows our hearts. He knows me intimately… [Jesus says,] “I know you. I know your heart. I know what your desire is. But I also know what you will and will not do… Will you really follow Me?” And I believe those words ring true still today to each and every one of us. “Will you really follow Me?… Or, are you really following [to get] the things that you want? Are you still really following your own heart rather than My heart?”
But…brothers and sisters, don’t let your hearts be troubled. You know what? Jesus knows you… He knows your heart. He knows your desire for comfort. He knows your desire to have your needs met. He knows, really, what lengths you would go to to honor Him. He says, I am going to my Father’s house, and in my Father’s house are many rooms and there’s one with your name on it. I wouldn’t have told you that unless it was true.
Pastor Dave Elkins