Are you serving something greater than yourself?
After the death of Joshua, the people of Israel entered a period of tribal rule. Each tribe was self-governed and the Israelites began to live as a loose confederation rather than as a distinct people group who had been called out of Egypt. This situation led to a culture where every person did what was right in their own eyes. The resulting chaos eventually led to tribes fighting and killing one other.
Their situation improved somewhat under the judges, but Israel would never fully reach their potential to host the glory of God until they were united under David. Once they were unified under God’s anointed and chosen leadership, Israel began to fulfill their destiny as a holy people set apart by God. Once this national unity was achieved, Israel became a model for every other nation on earth to see the difference between those who serve the Living God and those who do not.
I often see this same dynamic at work in the church today. In fact, the Lord showed me in prayer that many Christians today are like Israel after the death of Joshua. Some of these people have been so disappointed by leaders in the church that the concept of serving under a spiritual leader has died in them and so they simply do what they think is best. These people often have no vision for the glory of God in the earth.
Others are like Israel under the judges. They attend church here and there, often scattering their visits all over town. When they aren’t assembling together with the body, they read a blog, watch a video or attend a bible study in someone’s home. But they have no common vision of what God is doing in the earth through His people and they tend to see the world only in terms of how it immediately affects them. The vision of these people is limited to getting the most out of their lives and personal gain or promotion.
In both of these situations, the body of Christ is simply reliving the mistakes of Israel’s past. The result is Christian tribalism, factions within the church where each tribe self-regulates according to the norms for its group, or Lone Ranger style Christianity, which creates a culture of self-promoting covert narcissism. In each of these situations we find criticism, judgement, animosity and sometimes full out war between the saints.
We are kidding ourselves if we think that this will not have the same outcome as it had in ancient Israel and the tragedy is that we fail to realize that are missing the opportunity to present the glory of God to the world. As long as we choose to remain divided we will never fully realize the potential that we have to host His glory.
We need to understand the tradeoff that we are making by following from a distance- we maintain our spiritual autonomy at the expense of manifesting the glory of God in the earth.
This is why I ask if you are serving something greater than yourself. If you have no vision you will wander. If you have a self-serving vision, you will be unfulfilled and disappointed because self is never satisfied. But if you can grasp God’s eternal vision, you will find your part in fulfilling God’s eternal plan for His people in the earth. Rather than settling for mere Christian tribalism or Lone Ranger style discipleship, you can actually run with the great cloud of witnesses.
And what is this eternal vision? It is the same today as it has always been. Father told Moses, Habakkuk and Isaiah that the knowledge of His glory will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. This is Father’s vision statement and He established it out of the mouth of these three witnesses. I believe that His desire for the church is the same now as it was for ancient Israel; that the nations around us could look at the church and see the difference between those who serve the Living God and those who do not.
But this will only happen when we reject our tribalism and cast down the idol of autonomy. This will only happen when we abandon the comfort of having no vision and stop living for the moment. It will only happen when we drag our self-serving old nature to the cross every day and crucify it.
There is greater ground to be taken and there is a greater expression of Jesus living through His people still to come. But in order for this to happen, we need to serve something greater than ourselves. We need to capture the vision of Father’s glory covering the earth and start living towards that end. It is only by uniting under the leadership of His chosen and anointed King- Jesus- that we are able to serve His eternal vision and manifest His glory in the earth.
Have a great week,