Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Better Than Life

"Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you." — Psalm 63:3 (NIV)
As I read this passage this morning the Holy Spirit opened my eyes a little bit and then sucker-punched me in the proverbial gut. I love it when that happens... don't you? It is my experience - within my own life - that it is very easy to seek and to follow after Jesus as a means to an end rather than as The End. What I mean is this: when I need to feel better in my life, or if I need to feel validated for "living well," I go to Jesus. When I want people to look at me and think to themselves, "gee, he really loves Jesus, he is awesome," I go to Jesus. I go to Jesus like I would go to a magic genie in a bottle (please do not wonder off here into singing a cheesy song... are you back?... good - maybe that was just me). I go to Jesus for what he can give me - success in ministry or life, pride in the way I have chosen to live, blessing, or even heaven and eternal life. This is wrong of me. My orientation is completely backwards. I am an idolater.

In seeing Jesus as merely a giver of blessing or of good things, I am not worshiping him, loving him, giving my life to him for his glory. I am serving myself. I have, in those moments, made myself and my glory and my comfort and my joy the main thing. Jesus, instead of being worshiped and adored for who he is and for the great love and grace he has shown to me,   is being used. This is idolatry. I have set myself up as my own god. I have dethroned Jesus and have tried to use him as a tool for my glorification.

Praise Jesus that he is gracious and merciful towards us! Praise him that, though he alone is King and worthy of worship, and I have committed high treason against him and have chosen to my self and seek out my own glory instead of his, he still chose to die for forgive me...and not just take away and forget my sin, but to adopt me as his son! This is outrages! This is crazy!

We do not serve and follow Jesus for what he can give us! We do not serve Jesus so we can have a better life! He is better than life. Jesus is better than the blessings he gives! Let us not be like ungrateful and selfish children and go to Jesus for his stuff. How would you feel as a parent or a friend or a lover if your child or friend or lover did not love you for you, but instead only came to you in order to get to and use your stuff? That is not love. That is not friendship. That is hatred, and it is sickening. Let us, then, not seek after Jesus in this way. I say this for myself as much as I would to any other person. Jesus alone is worthy our heart's desires and affections. So let us repent of our idolatry and seek after Jesus, who is better than life.

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