We Would See Jesus (excerpt).

February 20, 2008

I found this in my old CCM outreach team files. It’s an excerpt I find myself reading at least once a year as a reminder.

An excerpt from We Would See Jesus by Roy & Revel Hession (emphases added):

“That deep hunger for God is patently lacking, & it would appear that we have lowered our goal in the Christian life to something less than God Himself . . .

Instead of stressing holiness in order to see God, the emphasis is on service for God.

We have come to think of the Christian life as consisting in serving God as fully & as efficiently as we can. Techniques & methods, by which we hope to make God’s message known, have become the important thing.

To carry out this service we need power, & so instead of a longing for God, our longing is for power to serve Him more effectively. So much has service become the center of our thinking that very often a man’s rightness with God is judged by his success or otherwise in his Christian work . . .

To concentrate on service & activity for God may often actively thwart our attaining the true goal, God Himself.

At first it seems heroic to fling our lives away in the service of God & of our fellows. We feel it is bound to mean more to Him than our experiences of Him. Service seems so unselfish, whereas concentrating on our walk with God seems selfish & self-centered.

But it is the very reverse.

The things that God is most concerned about are our coldness of heart towards Him & our proud, unbroken natures.

Christian service of itself can, & often does, leave our self-centered nature untouched.

That is why there is scarcely a church, a mission station, or a committee undertaking a special piece of service, that is without an unresolved problem of personal relationships eating out its heart & thwarting its progress. This is because Christian service often gives us opportunities for leadership & position that we could not attain in the secular world, & we quickly fall into pride, self-seeking, & ambition.

With those things hidden in our hearts, we have only to work alongside others to find resentment, hardness, criticism, jealousy, & frustration issuing from our hearts.

We think we are working for God, but how little of our service is for Him is revealed by our resentment or self-pity when the actions of others or circumstances or ill-health take that ministry from us!

Alas! In this condition we are trying to give others an answer which we have not truly & deeply found for ourselves. The tragedy is that much of the vast network of Christian activity & service today is bent on propagating an answer for people’s needs & problems which few of those propagating it are finding adequate in their own lives . . .

If we make service for Him an end in itself we will be full of reactions & will want to fight back or to break away & start an independent work of our own, & we become more self-centered than ever . . .

This, then, is the purpose of life: to see God, & to allow Him to bring us back to the old relationship of submission to Himself.

This excerpt reminds me of something Eric Alexander said in one of his Shepherd’s Conference messages. He was speaking to pastors & other church shepherds, & he observed that no one today would very readily accept or believe the endorsement of a famous athlete who recommends a particular kind of soda in a commercial (or “pop”, I think he called it :] ). The best way, he said, to know whether that athlete really prefers that brand of soda is to see if he drinks it in the privacy of his own home.

I wonder how many of us — not just pastors & shepherds but any who profess to be followers of Christ — forget the importance of “drinking of” & delighting in God (& His Word) in the privacy of our own homes, in the privacy of our own hearts.

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