We are selfless followers of a self-centered God.
The Christian life is about dying to self. It’s about giving up the right to determine the direction of our lives. Our God is our Lord, our Master, and our King. He holds our lives in His hands, and He is free to spend them in whatever way He pleases.
Several years ago many churches debated whether someone could know Jesus as Savior without knowing Him as Lord. This, at the heart, is really a question of authority. Could someone trust in Christ for eternal salvation and yet not recognize His authority in their lives by their absolute obedience?
Jesus walked, talked, taught, and healed with power and authority. He didn’t need to appeal to anyone else to justify His teachings; He was the authority. But to the religious leaders in this passage, that authority was threatening. If Jesus’ authority was from heaven, they knew they had an obligation to obey.
Authority is like that. If you recognize that someone has authority, then suddenly that person has a claim on your life. Jesus knew it too, and that’s why He didn’t answer the religious leaders’ questions outright. Jesus knew they had ulterior motives in challenging His authority, but He isn’t interested in theoretical questions and mind games. He’s looking for followers.
To recognize the authority of Christ is to submit to the authority of Christ. To put it in terms of the argument about Jesus being Savior and Lord, there’s no difference. There’s no Jesus except the Lord Jesus. To follow Jesus at all is to follow Him completely. That’s what it means to be selfless.
But to call God selfish? We might bristle at a suggestion like this. But over and over again, the Bible teaches us that God acts in His own self-interest.
At the beginning of earthly history, God’s purpose was to bless His people so that all people would glorify Him for His salvation. At the end of history, God’s purpose will be fulfilled. Individuals from every nation, tribe, people, and language will bow down around His throne and sing praises to the One who has blessed them with salvation. This is the final, ultimate, all-consuming, glorious, guaranteed, overwhelming purpose of God in Scripture.
God is seeking His own glory from the entire world. It’s the great why of God.
If we want to follow the radical God, then, we must have the same core desire in our hearts.
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