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God Will Make You

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God Will Make You

Our world loves leadership. It’s all the rage. We have been trained to relentlessly pursue leadership and the power and wealth that it brings.
If you are a Christian, one thing is blatantly clear: followership is greater than leadership. Scripture says much more about how to follow than it does about how to lead. When the Bible does discuss leadership, it details who should not lead, and it demonstrates how leaders should serve. The Biblical model of leadership is followership.
Leadership corrupts. The only way to be a leader without being corrupted by it, is to learn to be a servant leader and to put others before yourself. Our hearts are corrupt, and we must take steps to reverse that corruption.
No one has to teach a child to sin. A few months ago, my six-year-old son said to my mom (who lives with us), “Grandma…if you don’t tell my dad when I’m bad, I’ll take care of you when you’re old.” Who taught this kid how to be evil? No one. That comes naturally.
So, as sinful people, what do we need to do to avoid the urge to sin? We need to follow a leader who can teach us to do what is right. Most of us learn this lesson from our parents. We follow our parents, and if they’re good parents, we learn and mature.
Our perfect Heavenly Father has promised to assist us in this maturing process. If we follow Him, He will change us. What did Jesus say when He invited His disciples to follow Him? Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19 KJV). It wouldn’t make sense to go up to some fishermen and ask them to lead the Christian movement. They needed to follow first. This verse demonstrates that:
  1. Following requires movement.
The disciples had to leave fishing nets, tax collector booths, and their families to follow Jesus. In order to mature, something in their life had to change. They had to move. In order to become the person God created you to be, you will have to leave your agenda and follow God’s agenda for your life. You can’t become like Christ and stay the same as you are.
  1. God does the making.
Emphasizing the truth that it is God who sanctifies us, reminds us that we are powerless to do it alone. You’re not going to grow by trying harder. The way to change yourself is to focus on Jesus. It’s not about our behavior. It’s about faith, about fully giving ourselves to the Christ agenda.
The story of the sinful woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume perfectly illustrates this point.
One day, Jesus was invited to eat dinner at a Pharisee’s house. As Jesus reclined at the table, a woman who was known in the city for her sinful past heard about the gathering. Undeterred by judgment, she entered with a precious alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume.
Overwhelmed with emotion, she knelt behind Jesus, tears streaming down her face. With deep reverence, she wiped His feet with her hair, kissed them incessantly, and anointed them with the costly perfume. Given the woman’s reputation, Simon the Pharisee silently questioned Jesus’ prophethood.
Jesus responded to Simon’s unspoken thoughts with a parable. There had once been a lender who forgave two debts – one of 500 pieces of silver and another of 50 pieces. Jesus posed a simple question to Simon: who would love the lender more? Simon rightly deduced the one with the larger debt.
Redirecting attention to the woman, Jesus highlighted Simon’s oversights. While Simon had neglected customary courtesies, the woman had lavished care on Jesus’ feet. Jesus declared her sins forgiven, sparking murmurs among the men at the table.
With a final assurance, Jesus spoke directly to the woman. He affirmed her faith as the source of her salvation, and bid her to go forth in peace. In this transformative encounter, forgiveness, love, and faith converged, leaving an indelible mark on those gathered.
I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.
The woman knew that she was a sinner and submitted to Christ. It is the recognition of dependence on God that allows us to be sanctified by Him. Many people will say they believe in Jesus but will never actually follow Him. The Pharisees respected Jesus enough to invite Him to dinner, but their pride kept them from surrendering to His teaching. That’s also the story of Judas. He was drawn to Jesus, but he chose not to adopt Jesus’ agenda for his life.
This is also the story of the Israelites all throughout Scripture. They were God’s chosen people. He gave them a beautiful plan to live in harmony with Him forever, but they chose to go their own way, to worship false gods, and to indulge in sinful behavior. This is our story: Jesus died so that we can live in harmony with Him, but so often we give in to the temptations of this world even though they lead to pain and division.
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.
John Wesley said that salvation includes two gifts of grace: justification and sanctification. That is a concept that is worth reflecting on. When we call ourselves Christians, but don’t become disciples of Jesus Christ by following Him, we accept the first gift of grace (justification) and reject the second gift of grace (sanctification). We accept the justification that comes when our sins are forgiven, but we reject the sanctification that would make us the people God created us to be. When we reject sanctification, we become impotent Christians. However, when we allow the Holy Spirit to sanctify us, we become people who are more obedient to Him and more useful to Him. Don’t accept justification and reject the Holy Spirit’s sanctification.
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