I read some things this morning in my devotional that have actually confirmed areas where God has been “speaking” to my heart…
“Goodness and purity ought never to attract attention to themselves, they ought simply to be magnets to draw to Jesus Christ. If my holiness is not drawing toward Him, it is not holiness of the right order, but an influence that will awaken inordinante affection and lead souls away…” – My Utmost for His Highest
FINALLY! Something clicked in me while reading that. I will share an instance that occurred recently. Someone gave me “permission” to do something that they didn’t mind me doing and in the situation perhaps it wasn’t much of “a big deal” or wouldn’t have made much of difference anyway. They even said, ‘everyone else did it that way’. Yet, I replied ‘I appreciate it, but I wouldn’t feel right to do that’. This person was caring about my time and effort. In a way, they wanted the best for me. Yet, something in me figured that this was wrong and I wasn’t going to compromise even on such a seemingly minor issue. I knew that, although the person was okay with me doing so and others would not know the difference, that the Lord can see everything that I do. So I politely refused even when there was an attempt to persuade me further (and on a couple occassions)… when refused, the person chuckled and said ‘you’re definitely different’. This statement haunted me for many days and gave me an odd feeling. I couldn’t figure out if this person saw this “difference” as an extreme eccentricity and therefore unnecessary, or if this meant they could see my uncompromising nature as a “good thing”. I knew something didn’t sit right with me… was I priding myself in this statement and glad that someone outside of my faith could tell that I was different? I don’t know. I felt strange each time I thought of that phrase, and couldn’t pin-point why. The statement out of My Utmost pretty well sums it up…
I want so desperately to been seen as ‘definitely different’ but deeply my desire is for the glory of Jesus Christ. When people acknowledge that I’m ‘different’ or ‘set apart’, it tends to eat at me, unless they specifically state that they can tell it’s Jesus – then I can praise Him for that because that’s where my “difference” should rest and that’s where I know the difference comes from. I am very cautious in this sense because I despise the attention on me, because I know it feeds my flesh and sinful human nature – my pride and vanity that I hate. My heart’s desire is to be a magnet to Him and a completely empty vessel filled up by the Holy Spirit… not for my own attention or sake of being someone with upstanding character. What would be the point in being different if it was just to be of good character? That would have no purpose or eternal value… that would have no Jesus and therefore would be complete emptiness.
Another thing I read this morning was actually supposed to be read on a different day is the following:
“When once you see a soul in sight of the claims of Jesus Christ, you know that your influence has been in the right direction, and instead of putting out a hand to prevent the throes (extreme pain), pray that they grow ten times stronger until there is no power on earth or in hell that can hold that soul away from Jesus Christ.” – My Utmost for His Highest
This was in reference to John’s statement in John 3:30: “He must become greater; I must become less.”
The less of ME there is, the less of my own personal holiness… and the more of Him, the greater His real and pure holiness will shine.
We Americanized Christians tend to either lead double lives (go to church, then live however we want to other times and hope others don’t find out about it) or we over-spirituaLIES our “goodness” and try to have upstanding high moral character outside of the Cross. Maybe this isn’t everyone, but I’ve witnessed and have done these. I’m seeing more and more the effect that this kind of “Christian living” has on other souls. Kids and people of America are bombarded with Christians… almost every American youth knows what a “Christian” is. They’ve heard the name Jesus, by close to every other peer. But they’re still lost… they don’t know who He really is.
Can a name as powerful as Jesus be so overused that even in it’s purest form, this precious name then falls upon ears and hearts that comprehend but cannot fully grasp it? Have we “successfully” reached the point of diminishing an active, living, all-powerful Savior into a set of rules and a religion? Why has Redemption and the Cross of Jesus Christ become so desensitized in my American culture? The average American Christian seems to have successfully desensitized and sensualized the name of Jesus Christ, whether by our abuse of leading double lives and not being set apart… or by capitlizing on the attention we receive from our upstanding character or moral values. Or by trying to “win souls”… We’ve become a repellant, rather than a magnet to Jesus Himself. Some may find those statements offensive, but if you look at the state our country is in and the youth and you listen closely or pay attention to families and lives – you can’t deny the reality of where our arrogance has blurred people from seeing Jesus in anything we do… “Christian”. Because we tend to “do” things out of our own way, rather than letting Christ have His way in us.
On the other end, I am beginning to realize something even greater… this living Man, Jesus Christ, cannot be desensitized. He is still alive and moving, and if we become less – He will become greater. Fact.
Humans can try to diminish His name… we can try to diminish the Cross… but He is limitless and all powerful and can move beyond this. He can mend broken hearts, heal broken souls, penetrate stubborn lives, change the world. So I’m not going to diminish His love and His powerful name anymore. I need to just be the magnet to draw others to Jesus Christ, the way He drew me…. I cannot influence a life into closer intimacy with Jesus unless I am intimate with Him. I cannot have “good character” and leave it at that. I cannot be different and influence people by my character alone and expect it to draw them to Jesus. My “character” would want to prevent someone from experiences the great pain it takes in order to come to Jesus… but I have to get out of the way, become less – so that He is greater… and so that no power on earth or in hell can keep a soul away from the greatest Love of all time and eternity, Jesus Christ.
More of You, less of me… I wanna be a magnet for people to come to You. That’s it.