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Jesus disengaged Himself from the temporal relationships of 54 THE THRONE ROOM COMPANY Earth, demonstrating a new value system. This value system favored relationships that were eternal. In addition, it would not honor relationships that were not eternal.
His rebuke to His mother and brothers was a rejection of the temporary, earthly family unit. It shook up people's thinking about Jesus. How could He claim to be the Son of Love and then reject the ones He was supposed to love the most? He did so by setting a new standard for love!
Jesus cleansed Himself from life's common goals, such as the support of a natural family community that didn't revolve around God's love as much as the love of one another. Jesus was modeling to us how to pursue higher goals.
Later Paul would admonish his spiritual son, Timothy:
We were never designed to be ignoble, but humanity's fall placed us in this role. Nevertheless, Jesus restored God's desire for us to become a royal people (1 Peter 2:9). We cannot walk in Heaven's nobility unless we cleanse ourselves from all other common identities. Jesus came with words that were sharper than any sword, dividing our understanding about Earth and Heaven, the common and noble, the sacred and the profane.
Unless we enter into our eternal identities, we will not become instruments for noble purposes. We will not enter into a holiness from Heaven. We will not be useful to God. Many people profess faith in God, yet they do not know Him. The reason is obvious—such a relationship costs more than most people are willing to pay.
FOCUS ON ETERNITY 55 Paul also spoke about this in Galatians 4, defining the true call of a child of God. He also interpreted one of the Old Testament stories as a parable for his generation. No longer bound to the things of this world by the old covenant, Paul knew that we could all live as children of true promise. Therefore, we,
too, can express the nature of Jesus:
Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise.
At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does the Scripture say? "Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman's son." Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
—GALATIANS 4:28-31 It is too easy to be successful by means of our earthly identities. We have the examples and strategies of previous generations to instruct us what not to do. We must travel an incredibly narrow road to be successful in the eyes of Heaven.
The Measure of True Success A friend of mine had a vision of Heaven. He saw the outer courts, the inner courts, and the Holy of Holies, where Jesus stood. This friend went first to the outer courts, where he encountered many well-known ministers of the last century who had incredible ministries of teaching, healing, and prophecy.
Surprised to see them in the outer courts, he approached one of the more famous Christians who had lived during the twentieth century, and asked with genuine interest: "Why aren't you inside with Jesus?" The man looked at him with a smile. "Because I loved my ministry more than Jesus. I spent more time with ministry to people than I did with Him." The man had no shame and was clearly grateful to be in the company of Heaven. However, my 56 THE THRONE ROOM COMPANY friend was saddened about his own life.
Then my friend was transported into the inner courts, where he recognized a modern-day hero of the faith. "Why aren't you in the Holy of Holies?" he inquired. This modern-day hero did not take offense at the question but responded truthfully: "I cared more about understanding and wisdom than I did about being with Jesus. My life revolved around an intellectual understanding, not around my relationship with Him." Again my friend was convicted and a little disheartened by what he heard.
Finally he was ushered into the most awesome presence of the Holy of Holies. A radiant love emanated from Jesus. My friend could barely see because of the brilliant light in this room.
Below the throne, he noticed a frail woman holding the hand of God. Searching his memory, my friend could not place her among the leaders of Christendom. Then slowly he walked over to her and discovered that her gaze was fixed on Jesus.
Hesitating at first, he finally interrupted her and asked, "Will you tell me who you are?" Without taking her eyes off Jesus, she replied: "I'm His."
"But how did you get to be in the Holy of Holies?" he asked her.
For a split second, she took her eyes off Jesus to look at him, confused by the question. Her eyes were radiant with the power of His pleasure. She answered: "I just loved Him. All my days on Earth, I only had my love for Him."
"Wow, you must have had an incredible life! What kind of miracles did He do through you?" my friend asked.
She spoke soberly, indicating great brokenness. "Actually, He was the only thing that made my life worth it. I didn't do anything that anyone would consider profound. I just spent my days with Him, because I had nothing else. But He loved me. He is my miracle."
Puzzled, my friend quizzed her further: "Didn't you have a ministry? Some sort of gifting that prepared you for this?" "No," she replied. "I wasn't very good at anything. I didn't FOCUS ON ETERNITY 57 have a good voice to sing to anyone but Him; I didn't have an eloquent speaking ability, so I never taught; I didn't get prophetic words for others. I just loved Him and those He put in my life."
My friend was amazed that someone who seemed to live an unsuccessful ministry life was in the Holy of Holies, so close to Jesus.
This parabolic vision actually depicts how God defines success from Heaven's point of view. It also illustrates how our performance-based attitudes of ministry fall short of what is really important to God.
Jesus is not impressed by our success in anything other than love. As a matter of fact, Jesus demonstrated that He didn't care about our natural success when He spoke in His hometown.
Repeating the words of the prophet Isaiah, Jesus told the people:
Jesus told the people in His hometown that He hadn't come for them but for those who hungered for God. This didn't go over very well with the townspeople; they wanted to kill Him. Did Jesus feel the sting of rejection in His hometown? No, because He did not come to gain their approval. He came to offer them truth. If they were rejecting this truth, they were rejecting God first, then Him. Jesus was not concerned with His own rejection;
He was more concerned with people's rejection of His Father.
In Galatians 5:6, the apostle Paul answers a profound mystery. He tells us the one thing that counts toward our eternal
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself 58 THE THRONE ROOM COMPANY through love.
What good is it if we live a successful life in business, ministry, or family but miss the divine invitation to build eternally? The only thing in this world that truly counts is our love for God, expressing itself as obedience to Him through radical steps of faith.
When our emotions are firmly rooted in loving God wholeheartedly, the world's rejection will not carry a sting. We will have the established love of God as our sure foundation.
1. Do you desire to be influential?
2. What have you lost for the sake of Christ that you now consider to be profit?
3. What do you say is your most valuable treasure?
4. What does your life actually revolve around?
5. Do your answers to the previous two questions line up with each other?
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be
ALTHOUGH WE MAY UNDERSTAND GOD'S VALUESYSTEM, we cannot apply it to our lives until we realize that life is not about us. Furthermore, it is not about us fulfilling a particular role through a ministry on the Earth. If this mindset describes how we live, our priorities will be out of alignment.
As we understand the larger picture, we will begin to align ourselves properly to an eternal value system. We will long more for our future role in Heaven than for our role on Earth.
First Love Our first priority is very much related to the first commandment to love God wholeheartedly. God calls us to fulfill the destiny of Jesus, just as Jesus was called to fulfill the destiny of the Father and the Spirit.
Unfortunately the Church has a self-absorbed focus on building its own ministry models and programs and fulfilling the Great Commission according to its own interpretation. Sadly the Church often misses its higher calling. As the Bride of Christ, we are called to minister in a way that helps fulfill Jesus' destiny and purpose.
If I am absorbed in my own individual destiny—and not first by my love for Jesus—then I will be a lover of my own life.
Those who truly love Jesus will lose sight of their own goals to walk with Him and become part of His eternal reward.
With a right attitude, the Body of Christ will become capable of great acts of love and unity. We will also be able to experience divine union with God. Wrong priorities, however, violate true love.
Some who have heard God's call to serve run over others in their unswerving drive for success. Jesus, however, opposes this mindset as arrogance; such thinking is a barrier against spiritual intimacy with Him.
Christians who do not seek unity with fellow believers may discount the effort it requires as being unnecessary. Some may use an excuse of being "on mission" to avoid being unified, seeking to advance their personal accomplishments. Such INHERITING HIS RE WARD 61 individuals who achieve their goals by working through human systems will sadly discover that God has nothing to do with it.
Many with good intentions may find themselves on the pathway to hell.
At some point, no matter how successful these Christians have been in their labor, they will go through a season where they are completely dissatisfied with their job or their duty— which they often refer to as their "destiny." Some mistake this season as the "dark night of the soul." Contrary to such thinking, though, their season is a gift from God, who seeks to deliver such individuals from their self-centered identities revolving around their desires, not His.
Misguided Endeavors From the moment we personalize our calling and take on a role of responsibility—with any goal other than loving Jesus— our value will be wrapped up in producing worldly fruit. When this happens, we will become ensnared in the human dynamics that actually hinder our ability to fulfill God's destiny. This is why a political system is so prevalent in our churches. Christians begin to segregate themselves based on doctrine, gifting, or style of expression.
But if our focus is to fulfill the destiny of Jesus, complete unity is possible, even among those who embrace different doctrines, gifts, or styles of expression.
Unity that simply exists for the sake of fulfilling the second commandment, with little concern for the first, will fall short. It is "unity for the sake of unity." Coming together and finding a place of "neutrality" is not enough.
Instead, we need to focus on unity for a higher purpose— Jesus Christ! As we answer His spiritual call, we must never become preoccupied with our role in our personal destiny. Our gaze must remained fixed on Him, understanding that our destiny doesn't just belong in Him—it is Him!
62 THE THRONE ROOM COMPANY Discovering Your Divine Destiny In John 17, Jesus prayed that together His followers might experience the same union He experienced with the Father. This is so profound. If individuals, churches, communities, and entire cities would begin to cry out to their heavenly Father for Jesus to claim His reward, our world would be transformed!
The prophet Malachi had something to say about this:
We need to understand God's distinction between doing good and doing evil. God judges us based on the purity of our hearts—not our good intentions.
Are we serving Him, or are we serving ourselves? If we are not serving Him, our hearts are full of impure and carnal motives. Scripture calls us wicked. However, those who turn their hearts fully to God will be counted among His inheritance —His sons and daughters.
The writer of Hebrews takes it one step further, equating spiritual maturity with discernment about what serves Jesus and
what does not:
little mile-markers of faith that we often confuse with the finish line. If we can understand the desperation Jesus feels to inherit His reward, we will never be the same! In fact, Jesus is our reward, and I believe a whole generation will be His inheritance.
Even in the face of death, this generation will see His return.
I think the real issue is not so much that we are waiting for Him but that He is anxiously awaiting us!
A Divine Hunger One day while grocery-shopping, I began to hear a low rumble. Having grown up in California, I had lived through many earthquakes. I expected an earthquake was coming, and so I braced myself for the ground shaking, but nothing happened.
Again the sound came, yet no one around me appeared distressed. At that point, I wondered if I was having a spiritual experience! As I got to my car, the sound in my ears grew louder. Finally I asked, "God, what is happening?" "I am hungry" was His strange reply.
Suddenly I realized those noises were from God's stomach rumblings! He was letting me hear His hunger pangs.