Recently there’s been a big out burst of “i don’t need theology/doctrine/religion… because i have Jesus. This is simply an ignorant statement. (ignorance doesn’t mean stupid…it means someone lacks knowledge). People are scared of theology because they don’t understand it.
Theology literally means the study of God and God’s relation to the world. All Christians, if they read their bible, are theologians. It’s not something to be scared of…it’s something to embrace. It will allow you to understand just a fraction of God and the parts of His nature He has revealed to us in His word. Theology can only strengthen your relationship with Christ…it won’t hinder it.
Here’s a theological statement, Jesus loves you, broken down and picked apart. Something we hear all the time, and honestly, this statement doesn’t affect us much anymore. We hear it so much, it’s lost its meaning. Notice how much more meaning a simple statement has, when backed up with theology.
JESUS: the just judge, the high priest, comforter, counselor, Savior, messiah, Son of God, prince of peace, healer, the one whom all things were created by Him and Through Him and He who holds all things together.
LOVES: unconditionally. Which means without condition. Which means there’s nothing you could ever do to separate you from that love. Which means He gave His life, willingly, to save us. The one who made you blameless and righteous.
YOU: the wretched heart. The dead. The evil. The tainted. The slave to sin. The one who would choose your will above His everytime. The thief. The sexually immoral. The liar. The murderer. The disobedient. YOU.
Jesus. Loves. You.
A verse we all know and love. A verse that we’ve all heard and have been comforted by when life seemed unfair. A verse that strengthens the hearts of Christians everywhere.
A verse that we have distorted, and misunderstood.
“Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” - Psalm 37:4
Here’s the problem. Our hearts are by nature, evil.
*side rant* (Many Christians think that if they don’t want it, then God won’t give it to them. They think that God will never give them more than they can handle which is found in the book of… oh yeah, no where. God never promises to not give you more than you can handle. In fact, the exact opposite is true; God will give you what you can’t handle. The point of the Gospel, is that you can’t and He can. If God never gave you more than you could handle then how would His strength through your weakness ever be shown? (2 Cor. 12:7-10) - and that verse also shows us that sometimes God says “no.” Paul pleaded with God three times to take the thorn of his flesh, the messenger of satan, away from him. But God said no. He said “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in your weakness.” That’s why Paul BOASTED in his weakness.) *end side rant*
Anyways, back to our evil hearts… “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” - Jeremiah 17:9
The heart. The one beating inside your chest. The one that leaps for joy the first time you hold that special someone’s hand; the one that feels heavy when you see the half dead puppies on TV with Sarah McLaughlin singing “In the Arms of An Angel” …. You get the point…. Your heart - is the biggest liar you know. Your heart will change emotions under the slightest shift of circumstance. Not only is your heart deceitful, but it is deceitful above all things. Not only is your heart deceitful above all things, but it is also beyond cure. You can not and will not ever be able to fix it. It is beyond cure, so who can understand it then? Well since you can’t. He can. God formed your heart, so I think He knows it a little better than you do.
SO now that we understand that we don’t understand. Lets try now and understand whats really meant.
When you take delight in the Lord, you become dead to sin and alive in Christ (Romans 6). His will becomes greater than yours because you have been crucified with Christ and you no longer live but Christ now lives in you. The life you now live, you live by faith in the Son of God (Galatians 2:20). He will give you the desires of your heart, but when your desires don’t line up with Gods, then you live by faith, knowing that whatever He has willed to happen is ultimately for your everlasting joy, not your circumstantial happiness. Because when we suffer, we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope (trust). And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us (Romans 5:3-5)
Nicholas Herman has a good explanation of this when he says, “We must empty the heart of all other things, because God will only possess the heart alone; and as He cannot possess it alone unless it is empty of all other things … and neither can He do in it what He pleases, unless it is left vacant to Him.”
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” - Galatians 5:24
You see, we serve a God who knew our dreams and our desires before the foundations of the Earth were laid. But He also knew our failures and our shortcomings. He knew that our hearts would deceive us. So He saved us from ourselves. He paid our ransom. He set us free from deceitfulness and bridged the gap for our hearts desire to be whatever His will is.
When the desire of our heart becomes His will, we will surely receive it every time.
We all have a desire to be known.
There’s something deep inside us that yearns for acceptance, prosperity, and in reality, fame. Everyone wants to feel accomplished. To feel like they’ve left their mark in humanity and did something great with their life. But what if I told you the less you become the better? What if I told you that the less people know your name, the more you can do?
This life is but a mist. It’s here one second and gone the next. Like a flower in a field that blooms in the morning, the wind takes it in the afternoon, and by evening the very ground around it doesn’t even remember it was there. Our titles in this world mean nothing. You could be a pastor or civil rights leader, for now. You could be a lawyer or a doctor, for a season. You could be president of the United States but eventually you will die and everything you did in this life will be worth absolutely nothing.
I count my life as nothing. But our lives are significantly insignificant. In the midst of our nothingness there is something worth living for, a hope worth proclaiming, something bigger than ourselves. There is a name that is eternal. There’s a title that never changes. There’s a hope the world needs to hear. That name is Jesus. People might not remember your name, what you did, how much money you made, and how many people you helped… But the church will always remember the commission of Christ that all believers are called to make disciples of all nations. My name is insignificant, but the cross lets me find significance in a fading world.
In order for Christ’s name to be exalted, my name must fade into the background. I must be very conscious of people raising me up on a platform. I must keep my eyes fixed on the Fathers will instead of my own selfish ambitions and tendencies to wander towards fame and glory. I must decrease, so He may increase (John 3:30).
Jesus, the name above all names, the king of kings, ran from fame. The one deserving of the title in which He so justly deserves rejected it while He was on earth so that the Father may be glorified. We see in John 6, right after Jesus had fed the 5,000, the people acknowledged the sign performed by Jesus and the text says in verse 15 that Jesus knew that the people intended on making Him king by force. So what did He do? He withdrew to the mountain by Himself.
Jesus ran from fame and withdrew by Himself. There’s a valuable lesson here: Don’t let people take you by force and raise you up as King. Don’t let people become dependent on you. Jesus didn’t seek earthly fame, He sought to please the Father.Jesus was the Savior of the world. He could have been raised up, and justly so, unlike us. We don’t deserve to be raised up, but unfortunately, people will raise us up, they will by force, make us “kings.” People will depend on us, and we will let them down.
This is why we should always turn people to Jesus. In the words of Matt Chandler, “You are not awesome, and that, is the foundation of your greatest Joy.” The sooner we realize this, the sooner we will set ourselves to search for something not limited like we are to solve our problems. Our happiness is circumstantial, but our joy is eternal.
From famous to faceless. To know Him and to make Him known, not for our own exaltation, but to get out of the way for Him to complete the work in which He already started. We do not give the Gospel power, we only stop hindering it by preaching it, and getting out of the way.