The glory and pain of being conduit to the life of Jesus!

     It has been almost 2 years since Michelle and I left the Hawaiian life; coming back to the mainland. There are days that we miss the islands but not the pain being there brought, although that pain had a glorious and great purpose by our Father in Heaven. I had become a very cocky pastor before we left for Hawaii. I used my questioning as a tool to tear down other pastors and ministries in my mind, instead of trying to learn from them. I had gotten so cocky that at one point, I felt the need to remove myself from certain gatherings because of my arrogance. God crushed that in Hawaii, along with other attitudes and the lack of making God my only pursuit.

    Since that time, it has been the foundation to what God has allowed me to teach. Pursuing Jesus and allowing His life to be lived through us as our primary calling. He saved us, not to have us do a bunch of good things for Him, but to live His life through us. In many conversations I have with other Christians, I hear come out of me "Jesus is the only one to ever live the Christian life". Jesus Christ was the only human to ever live the life He calls us to live. He tells His disciples that the life He was living on earth was a result of the Father living the Father's life through Him (John 14:10). Jesus' life was really a conduit to the Father's life.

    What is conduit? It is a pipe that contractors put in houses so they can run wires through the walls, floors and ceilings. Recently our church had one of the ministry rooms remodeled. We wanted tv's hung on one wall with a computer that controlled the power point on another wall. This required the HDMI cables connecting the computer to the tv's to be run through the walls and ceiling. Instead of cutting holes in every piece of sheet rock between those 2 walls, our contractor placed a PVC pipe through the ceiling so that he could pull the wires through to each wall. The pipe was just the avenue for the wires to get from one wall to another.

    In the same way, we are conduit. We are the avenue Jesus lives His life to those around us. He places us where He wants to share His life. When He wants to share the Gospel with someone, He places one of His own around that person and then lives His life through His own. We are vessels that God uses to carry His glory and renown to the world! The Christian life really is that simple. I think we complicate things a little too much. Our calling is to be with God and allow God to live through us. In John 15:5, the principle of source and life is clearly taught by Jesus. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. The branch is a result of the vine shooting a branch out of it. The branch then lives because it is connected to the vine, which carries the source of life and growth. The branch starts fruiting because the vine tells it the time to fruit then provides the fruit for it to bear. Funny thing, the vine will never tell the branch or provide for the branch something that is not characteristic of the vine. I say funny, because many of us attempt things for God that look nothing like God and don't have God's true heart as its purpose. We are the branch and we live our Christian life because the vine both started the work and gives us the life the be lived. We are living as Christians because Jesus both started the work and sustains the work in us. Not only does Jesus sustain us, but He finishes what He started in us (Philippians 1:6).

    This is incredibly simple, but it is also incredibly painful; at-least it is for me. Read that first paragraph again. I was a cocky pastor. The struggle with cockiness is really a result with struggling to have self worth in the eyes of others. When I preach or someone reminds me to just rest in the work of Jesus, in what He has already given to me, it offends my self worth seeking flesh. It offends my desire to be big in the eyes of others and its painful to deal with. Why is it painful? Because my sin loves to hold on like a cancer when God is removing it. There is a battle within me and my soul feels the bombs going off within me. Bombs blow things up and they send pieces of those things flying every where. When my flesh and the enemy attempt to blow my life up, they use the tactic of my self-worth. Then they set that bomb off right in the middle of relationships I hold dear or work that I am doing. All of a sudden I feel like my world is crashing and there is rubble every where.

    When this happens, there is one thing that walks me into failure and lets that bomb stop me from allowing Christ Jesus to live His life. That thing is: not letting the dust settle. If would just wait, I would see that God has moved that bomb to places of safety. When the dust settles, I see that the damage is not really that bad. Sometimes, God moves that bomb to a place in my life that needs to be blown up. When the dust settles I see a stronghold that I could not overcome laying flat on the ground under the feet of Jesus. I then realized that I had made my home of self-worth in buildings that were condemned and were killing me: with the mold of sin and the rats of selfish behavior. Its painful but its also very freeing.

    So why am I writing this today? Simply because God brought me back to this truth again. I have given myself too much to a life of busyness and not a life of intimacy with Him. He recently blew up another bomb that the enemy had placed and the damage was done to the sinful and fleshy attempts I was believing to be true. That building is flattened and I am left with the glorious view of Jesus standing over it. I have a God who knows I can't accomplish what He wants done. I have a God who doesn't ask me to accomplish His work, but simply asks me to let Him live His life through me. Like a branch of the vine, I am really just the conduit to the life of Jesus. I grow because He feeds me, I live and fruit because He provides it.

    I hope you see that your worth, your strength, your life is already provided for you in the person of Jesus. You and I just need to let Him life His life through us! What a glory, what a great God we have!

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