We are a personality-centric nation. We thrive on the people who we put in front of us. We seek out people to put on pedestals and then get angry when they let us down. Celebrities, athletes, politicians, musicians, you-tube stars, and even friends and family.
Pastors, Leaders, and Church-goers are just as guilty. In our desire to be more Holy we elevate other pastors on pedestals and when they let us down, we rip them apart. We will elevate great speakers, pastors, evangelists, internet and tv star preachers, or maybe even our own pastor onto a great platform and then follow them rather than the Christ they preach.
I am here today to say, that if we want to reach the world, we have to stop elevating anyone other than the Holy Spirit. If we want to have a relationship with Christ, nothing is more important than the still small voice within us, as it is the voice of the only one that deserves the throne of our lives! I mean, should we elevate mere men or the one who created man? This goes for the church as well. Should you elevate the one who preaches and teaches Christ over Christ and His Spirit?
Observe with me the words of Jonah 2:8...
Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.
Jonah 2:8 (ESV)
Those who worship false gods
turn their backs on all God’s mercies.
Jonah 2:8 (NLT)
Idolatry goes beyond little hand carved things. It goes to the heart of the person. What are you elevating. Think about it, if you follow man, you turn your back on the mercies that are available to you from following Christ alone. It matters not who the man is. This week, we lost a great man of God, Billy Graham. Billy Graham never drew attention to himself. He never said, "Follow Me." He never said, follow my example. He never drew the attention on himself. As a matter of fact, he seemed to be a very humble man preaching a simple message. Jesus Christ and Christ Crucified. He would always say, Christ is the one who changed my life and can change yours as well. The finger was always pointed to Christ and His Spirit. Far too often, we are eager to follow people and we will say, the Spirit told me to follow people. Sorry, but the Spirit never says follow a person, it always says, "Follow Me." If the you say the spirit says follow a person, that is not the spirit, but your heart and the Bible says, ""The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?" Jer 17:9
Today, I come to you to say that no one person, no activity, nothing on earth can compare to the grace and love of Christ Jesus our Lord and the Guidance of the Holy Spirit! My goal to convey to you tonight is that if you want life more abundant, it will not come from people, but from the spirit! We cannot be deceived by the tricks of this world and the following of people. Even the church carried warnings about following personalities rather than understanding the power of Christ.
For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
1 Corinthians 3:4-6
See life more abundant does not come from following people, but from the fullness of the Spirit. Let me tell you something. You follow people and they WILL let you down. Probably sooner than later. I will testify to that and anyone who is honest will do this. But, our salvation, our walk, our redemption, our grace is not found in personalities, but in the person of CHRIST!
The power of Christ astounds me to my very core. There is so much strength in resting in the knowledge of the power and peace that come from resting in the assurance of His Spirit. Spirit leadership gives us sometime that the world can never give. ABUNDANCE! See the leaders of this world are out for their own praise: politicians, celebrities, athletes, and others are out to see themselves elevated. The great thing about God and following Him. We elevate him and then HE gifts us... With peace, with His Spirit, with His joy, with His comfort, with His contentment, With Eternity!
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
John 10:10 (ESV)
How does the thief do this?
Basically through the failure of the world to deliver on the promises it has given you.
This more abundant life is the the fact that God is calling you unto himself. When the maker of heaven and earth calls out to you, He is not calling you to a life of mediocrity, He is calling you to the fullness that you can only have through Him.
Celebrities will not fulfill this, that special someone will not fulfill this, your friends will not fulfill this. God alone in the power of His Holy Spirit provides this abundant life.
My 2 Cents for today...