Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It's Not About Me

"It's all about You, it's not about me- wherever I go I want people to see your light is shining like the sun in everything that I do; it's all about You."  - Nate Sallie

We live in a world that often seems dominated by resumes.  Status is achieved based on the places you were educated, the positions you have held and the the things you have accomplished in life.  Church is no different.  We want our staffs to have significant pedigrees; we want our volunteers to have rich backgrounds in what ever area of ministry they may serve.  In church as in the "real world," it's all about who you are and what you've done.  But today we remember that the Jesus Revolution says, "Not so fast..."

In Philippians 3:2-11 (The Message) the Apostle Paul reminds us of an eternal truth: It's not about us and our accomplishments, it's all about Jesus.  Paul is explaining to the church at Philippi that they need to be on the lookout for people who think they can align themselves with God simply by the things they have on their resumes.  He is specifically warning them that assuming that someone has become a Christ-follower based on the fact that they have followed Jewish law is a bad idea.  He lists his own very impressive Jewish resume, from circumcision right through his willingness to persecute those who followed Jesus, and points out that if anyone had reason to be confident that the law could make them right with God, it was him. But then he writes this: (Phil. 3: 8-9NIV):  "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him..."   In other words, his resume- everything of note he had ever been or accomplished- was junk.  Only knowing Jesus mattered.  My pastor told us several years ago that the word "rubbish" used in the NIV is watered-down from the original Greek.  So is the term "dog-dung" found in The Message.  The actual Greek word is skubala, and the closest translation is a vile 4-letter word- and it's not poop. (Pastor Matthew made us all repeat the word, then admonished us for swearing in church!). Paul is reminding us that all of the things we do to try to build ourselves up and attain a right relationship with God on our own are just one big, steaming pile of skubula unless we know Jesus.

I spend a lot of time on this blog telling stories about people I know, places I have been and things I have done.  Most you you know my resume- the good and the bad.  And the truth is it's all skubala.  The good will never be good enough to earn my way into the Kingdom of God. The bad has already been forgotten and forgiven through the love of God whose name is Jesus.  It's simply not about us- it's all about Jesus.  Do we need to seek to live holy lives and do good deeds in Jesus' name?  Certainly.  Should we seek to avoid sin?  Absolutely.  But in the end it's not about the past.  It's not about being "good enough."  It's about walking every day with Christ, living so that his radical love can be seen in our lives.  As Paul wrote, it's about "pressing on," and never forgetting that the "prize" is a relationship with Jesus.  It may not look as good on your resume as a Harvard education, but trust me- it's ain't just skubala.  The question becomes this: What is it that defines you?  Welcome to the Jesus Revolution, where the answer is obvious.  Jesus defines us.  

Because of Jesus,

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