Discover more of our vision and purpose through devotionals, articles, and new technology opportunities.
WHAT IS HE WORTH?
November 09, 2014
What is our priority?
One of the greatest deterrents to missions and going to the hard places for the sake of the gospel in the modern day church is our fear of suffering. We are in a love affair with our comfort. We have succumbed to the lie that God’s ultimate goal for His followers is their own prosperity and lack of suffering. We have plunged so deeply into our man-centered view of God that we think all He exists for is to make ME happy. We have wrongfully set ourselves up in such a way that we are living as if we ourselves are the center of God’s universe. We do not care about His agenda for this world but instead think God exists to serve us, our desires and our plans.
For some of us, good health and lack of disease or sickness has become our ultimate idol, which we place on the mantle of our minds and live for every day. Others of us bow down daily to the god of wealth and prosperity and see church and prayer merely as a daily avenue to more riches and a bigger house and a more expensive car and nicer clothes and a more extravagant weekend getaway. Others of us pay homage to the god of friends, co-workers and even family. We live for the approval of others and find our happiness and worth in the praise of the person to our right or left or in attaining the next ring on the social or professional ladder.
Missions threatening our comfort
Whichever one it is, whatever god it is that we have wrongfully set up behind all the facades of spirituality and church attendance, if that god is threatened, we are ready to bail all together. Our ultimate desire that has become even more important to us than God Himself has been threatened. And so even though we may be willing to keep attending church and playing Christian, we want nothing to do with the type of gutsy Jesus-following that says “Jesus, I will give anything to follow you, I will do anything to see you glorified, I will go anywhere to make you known”.
This is why there are not more missionaries being sent out to the last unreached, hard to get to remote areas in this world and to the hard to reach Muslim nations of our generation. We are more ready to send bombs and soldiers to many of these people and places than we are to send the gospel and missionaries. Why? Because they threaten our biggest priority. They threaten us with suffering. They have the possibility of disturbing what has become the most important to us, our ultimate idol – our comfort.
“We were sat down to the announcement that Muslim factions, some with ties to extremist Muslim groups that also had a presence in Indonesia, had just hijacked airplanes and flown them into the twin towers in New York City…Not long afterwards we received word that there had been explosions on two different islands in Indonesia. One in a major tourist area had been planted with intent of killing Americans and other westerners and another had been planted at the entrance to the American Embassy in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta. Fighting had broken out on other predominantly Muslim islands as well and the few followers of Jesus that there were in Indonesia were being tortured and decapitated for their faith. We were only months away from leaving for Indonesia and all the sudden we were hit with the stark realization that this was not a game…”What is our message really worth?” I began asking myself… But it had been the same for this Man we claimed to follow. Jesus Himself had come to this world knowing what would happen to Him from the beginning. He knew He would be tortured and murdered on possibly the cruelest device invented by man… Still, He came anyways.” – From page 57 of Prophecies of Pale Skin
Jesus’ approach to suffering
Jesus, in his humanity also faced situations where He had to choose in between His own comfort and suffering for the sake of the advancement of the message of the cross. He cried out with tears to His Father the evening before His crucifixion saying “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.” (Mark 14:36) Jesus did not want to face suffering any more than we do, but His attitude was such that He placed His Father’s agenda above His own and as a result was willing to purchase our ultimate treasure through the very sufferings that He asked His Father to take away!
“God never assured us that our worst fears wouldn’t come true, but as we continued to wrestle with these fears He reminded us that He isn’t just the God of America. He is the God of the universe. Even with all the other things we would be leaving behind, we would never be leaving Him behind. He would be with us every step of the way and there was nowhere we could go where He wasn’t already. Through our doubts and fears, through any hardship or trial we might face He would be with us in it all…God’s Son Himself also had to make the decision to leave the most perfect and comfortable of all places as He said goodbye to living with His own Father in order to come and minister to people like us. He faced the most gruesome trials and torture of all kinds and He knew that it was all going to happen to Him, but He came anyways. We came to the conclusion that because there was no turning back for Him, there could be no turning back for us… The enchanting land of Indonesia had become like a set of gallows to us, but boy were they beautiful gallows. They were nearly irresistible.” – From pages 60-61 of Prophecies of Pale Skin
With Jesus on the throne
Only when we see God for whom He really is, our Ultimate Treasure that no other thing can even hold a candle to, will we finally be willing to place all other lesser joys on the altar for the sake of the advancement of the gospel. Only when we finally smash the idols of comfort and safety and take our own health and wealth off of the throne that Jesus belongs on in our lives, will we finally be able to say “Yes Jesus, I believe you are worth it! I will give anything to follow you, I will do anything to see you glorified, I will go anywhere to make you known”.
“Be very glad, because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world.” 1 Peter 4:13
- If I claim to be a follower of Jesus what should my view be of suffering? What was Jesus’ attitude towards suffering the cross?
- What is my attitude towards Muslim nations and unreached people of other religions? Do I view them with compassion as people in need of a Saviour or do I hate them as enemies?
- If God Himself is not my greatest Joy and my own comfort and safety have become idols in my life, what need to change in my view and priorities to where I can take on the attitude of Christ?
- Read Hebrews 12:1-4 and ponder these verses and how they relate to your own life.
Used with permission. © 2014, D.S. Phillips
The Leaf Book and the Crossed Wood is a thought provoking study on the effects of the Bible and the Cross in an isolated culture in which they had never been previously introduced. Based on the true story found in Prophesies of Pale Skin.
Along with his family, D.S. Phillips lived and worked among the very remote Dao tribe in South East Asia. The Dao tribe is a people group that before they arrived had no written alphabet for their dialect, not a single verse of scripture available to them and no church or religious organisation of any type working among them.
If you would like to purchase the book go to: The Leaf Book and the Crossed Wood