THE GLORY OF GOD IN MAN(Pt. 3)

If you have ever taken a road trip across country with children, you realize it doesn’t take long before the question inevitably comes from the back seat to the front, ‘‘Are we there yet’’? If we are honest with ourselves, the same is true of the process that leads us into a more mature place in Christ. Being fully alive to our true humanity in Him will mean cutting the “umbilical cord”. We must move from any illusions of being who we are not in order to become who were meant to be. This brings glory to God. The apostle Paul gives us the insight into his own true self when he said, “When he who set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace”(Gal. 1:15 ESV). If we learn the secret of being content with whom God has made us to be in Him, it releases us to serve others without hidden agendas. A healthy self-acceptance is what Jesus tells us is the true meaning of the fulfilling the whole Law and Commandments. “Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy soul and all thy strength. And thy neighbor as thyself”(Luke 10:27).

Recall in our last article that the apostle John saw a vision in heaven, that around the thronethere were four living beings, one of which has “the face of an Ox”(Rev. 4:7 NIV).

THE FACE OF AN OX. This is to indicate that God’s thought for Man is that Man was created for duty. In Westminister Abby, in London, England there is a coin portraying an Ox standing in two directions: one before a plow and the other facing an altar. Underneath on the coin it reads “For service or sacrifice”.  Perhaps the apostle Paul captures its meaning, when he writes to fellow believers from a Philippian jail cell.  “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 
 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness”(Philippians 2:5-7 NIV).

As servants of Christ, we are called to the task of giving ourselves to others. Servanthood is one of the least understood and tapped sources of power displayed today, especially in the body of Christ. Why is this? Because true servanthood involves, as Jesus again and again demonstrated, a certain selfless frame of mind about his life. Being a servant is about not retaining your life to yourself. It means recognizing you are not your own to do as you please. As Paul reminds us, ’’For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s’’(1 Cor. 6:20).

Our Lord Jesus did not live for his own concerns or wishes. Rather he lived for and under the eye of his heavenly Father for others. “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life a ransom for many”(Mark 10:45). Jesus lived among us with the plow or the altar in view. The Cross was not something that adorned his neck like a beautiful ornament. But he, figuratively, did carry it daily upon the shoulders of his heart. No matter which way he turned…Calvary awaited him. He knew that without the Cross of sacrificial service there could be no Crown of victory.

To the fallen ego-Self, servanthood is undesirable. Instead of reaching down for the “basin and the towel”(John 13), we by nature want to reach up for the best seat at the banquet, the best throne, and the crown (See Mark 10:35-40). I am reminded of one of the last lines in the Movie, Patton. After leading the American troops to a decisive victory, he is removed from his command. As he is taking his dog for a walk, he becomes as it were the Narrator. He states that in ancient history, one of the scenes of the great conquering hero is that he is paraded through the newly conquered territory in his chariot. In the midst of the celebration and fanfare of victory there is a slave who walks behind him holding a crown over the victor’s head and is said to whisper, “All glory is fleeting”.

As servants of Christ it is good for us to be reminded of this. . . that all our victories are as servants of another. When we have done what we were given to do, let us in servant humility be reminded we are ‘‘unprofitable servants’’apart from His redeeming grace. May Jesus Christ alone be exalted and magnified. To Him belongs all the crowns and honor.

Copyright© Walter Fletcher Jr., 2011. Permission is granted to reproduce this article free of charge, provided that it is not altered in its original form and content. Please direct all correspondence to walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

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