It’s all about Jesus!

Philippians 2:9-11 (NIV)
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:9-11 (MSG)
Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.
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“For this reason also [because He obeyed and so completely humbled Himself], God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus ]every knee shall bow [in submission], of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess and openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord (sovereign God), to the glory of God the Father.” -AMPLIFIED

This life and all that we are faced with can definitely be a challenge. What we need to remember and thoroughly understand is; it is not about us, but Jesus. It’s not about me and it’s not about you; period. The World and all that it contains is not focused on us. We are not at the center of the Universe with all eyes focused on us. That place has been reserved for Jesus. And one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is indeed Lord and has always been Lord.

Paul was pretty adamant on where our focus should be placed and why. God has exalted Jesus and placed Him in the highest position. In fact, Paul tells the Colossians that it is Christ who holds us all together. “We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.” -Colossians 1:15-18 (MSG)

Jesus and Jesus alone is the Name that is exalted and holds great power; it is all about Him. Too often we worry about how “we” are being perceived, how we are standing out, how many times we have messed up and others have seen. It is a pride problem actually; which goes back to the beginning of time. Instead we should be focusing on Jesus and humbly accepting our place in His plan.

“All that has happened and ever will happen is moving through time toward that climactic hour when every tongue will confess the lordship of Jesus Christ. Every knee, whether in grateful adoration or under compulsion, will then bow to Him.” -Vernon C Grounds (Our Daily Bread)

It’s all about Jesus. Our focus should never be on ourselves, no matter how great our lives are going, how many promotions we have had, or achievements we have accomplished. Nor should we be focused on how many times we have messed up, blown the opportunities that God has placed in our lives or let someone slip by without sharing God’s love with them. Both of those ways of thinking focus on us as individuals, not on Jesus.

It’s not about me and it’s not about you; it’s about Jesus Christ. He is the One who made a relationship with the Father possible. He is the One who has paid our debt. He is the One who can forgive our sins. He is the One who gave us a hope and a purpose. For this reason God has exalted Him! Let us bow humbly at His feet and acknowledge Him as Lord.

My Prayer:
Lord, forgive me; too often my focus has been placed on “self” and not on you. Too often pride has walked right into my heart and taken a seat on the throne that is meant for you. I acknowledge that you and you alone are King and Lord of all. This life and the things that happen in it are not pointing at me, focusing on me and happening because of me. Instead, they are all part of your purpose and plan and I have the privilege and honor to be part of your plan. Help me to keep the perspective right; You in the star role and me as part of the supporting cast. It is all about you Lord! I humbly bow before you and confess even now that You are King and Lord of all.

Let us live our lives out loud!

James 1:22-24 (NIV)

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

James 1:22-24 (MSG)
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
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“But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth]. For if anyone only listens to the word without obeying it, he is like a man who looks very carefully at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he immediately forgets what he looked like.” -AMPLIFIED

James has just spent the beginning of this chapter speaking of facing various types of trials and points of testing of our faith. He has encourage us that if we are lacking in wisdom to ask God; who gives wisdom generously to those who ask. James then implored us to put aside our pride and reminds us that every good and perfect gift comes from above; from God, who does not change like shifting shadows. (Something that most people tend to have a problem with.)

James then reminds us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and even slower to anger. (Very wise counsel indeed.) In fact, he begs us to get rid of every kind of moral filth and evil; saying to us, “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”

Accept the Word planted in you! Do not just merely listen to it and then carry on with life as usual; letting it go in one ear and out the other. Listen to it and make it part of you. Even the Apostle Paul reminded the Romans of this truth, “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” -Romans 2:13 (NIV)

Be a “doer”! Doers accomplish things. Doers get their instructions from the Father and then go out; to change the World. Doers don’t just talk the talk; they walk the walk. Martin Luther once said “The world does not need a definition of religion as much as it needs a demonstration.” Live your life and love for Christ out loud!

Do not be like that person who walks by a mirror and two minutes later forgets what they look like. If we are hearers only that is exactly what we are like. James tells us in verse 25, “But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.” (MSG)

“We need an outbreak of holy heartburn, when hearers shall be doers, when congregations shall go out from meetings to do things for God.” -Dr. Vance Havner

Be careful that you do not fool yourself into thinking that going through the motions of a relationship with God will be enough. He knows our very hearts and thoughts; there will be no fooling Him. He is looking for a people who will live their lives as living sacrifice for Him; those who will let their light shine. He desires that we live our lives “out loud” for Him; every moment of every day. Will you do it for Him?

My Prayer:
Lord God, I know you know everything about me; even my deepest thoughts and the desires of my heart. You have visited the secret places that I have hidden from others and you know everything about me. My greatest desire, Lord, is to be pleasing to you. Help me to live my life in such a way that you are glorified through me. Let me not be just a listener, but a doer. I want my life to shine the love of Jesus to others. Help me to live out loud for you. Have your way in my life; today and every day.

Have we surrendered all to Jesus; as the living sacrifice that we should be?

Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
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“Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].” -AMPLIFIED

Paul’s words to the Romans were for them to consider their bodies and their everyday lives as a living sacrifice to God. They were to dedicate or commit to God their very beings; all of themselves. Body, soul and spirit were to be a living and holy sacrifice to God; which is a proper form of worship.

“There is actually only one thing you can dedicate to God, and that is your right to yourself. If you will give God your right to yourself, He will make a holy experiment out of you— and His experiments always succeed. The one true mark of a saint of God is the inner creativity that flows from being totally surrendered to Jesus Christ. In the life of a saint there is this amazing Well, which is a continual Source of original life. The Spirit of God is a Well of water springing up perpetually fresh. A saint realizes that it is God who engineers his circumstances; consequently there are no complaints, only unrestrained surrender to Jesus. Never try to make your experience a principle for others, but allow God to be as creative and original with others as He is with you.” -Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest)

Paul encourages the Romans to NOT conform to the ways of this World, but to be transformed. This word transformed in Greek is actually “metamorphoo”; it has the meaning of changing into another form and is the term from which we get our word metamorphosis. Metamorphoo illustrates the process by which one is changed from the inside out. It is a changing which has begun on the inside and continues to transform the individual until everyone can see and notice the difference from the outside too.

Paul tells us that the whole process begins with the renewing of the mind; a mental readjustment. God changes the way we think about things; which in turn changes the way we go about doing things. He also changes our priorities in life. Much of this happens when we immerse ourselves in His Word, as we learn it and study it; it becomes part of us and changes us.

The surrender of one’s will to Jesus is necessary and the prerequisite to living a life of joy and victory; it will be the very turning point. Many people hold back on yielding completely to God because they fear what He may require of them. If we would stop and consider what God has done for us there should be no quandary; this is our reasonable and proper form of service to our King. Our response should be to Him, “Lord, I surrender all to you!”

My Prayer:

Lord, my Father, Creator and King, all that I am is because of you. You loved me enough to rescue me from the very death throes of sin itself. You came yourself to be the sacrificial lamb to pay the price for my sin. You gave all so that I might have eternal life with you. How could I give anything less than my all for you? I give to you all of me as a sacrifice to be used by you. Have your way in and through me; let me be a sacrifice that is pleasing to you, Oh Lord.