We have spent a number of blogs talking about “getting out of the way.” Here are the first couple of lines from a post a few weeks ago, “What Jesus Wants”:
We left last week’s post with the question: “How am I in the way?” You can read the post here. Is it possible for us to get in the way of Jesus working? I think the rather obvious answer is yes. In a couple of sentences, last week’s post focused on our purpose as the church, which is to make disciples (Matthew 28). God’s heart is seen here: 9 The Lord isn’t slow to keep his promise, as some think of slowness, but he is patient toward you, not wanting anyone to perish but all to change their hearts and lives. (2 Peter 3:9) How do we get in the way of seeing other people come to follow Jesus? One of the clearest examples of how we can get in the way is when we focus on our wants instead of God’s. Jesus is trying to explain to the disciples how he is going to have to suffer. Peter tries to correct Jesus (yes, he tries to correct Jesus) to which Jesus responds: But he turned to Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are a stone that could make me stumble, for you are not thinking God’s thoughts but human thoughts.” (Matthew 16:23) Wow, Jesus refers to Peter as Satan. Now Peter is not Satan, but Peter is focused on his thoughts instead of God’s thoughts. Peter is getting in the way of Jesus.
By getting in the way, I am speaking to the reality that often times our wants and desires are not the same as the wants and desires that Jesus would want us to seek.
One of my “favorite” verses these days is Galatians 5:17:
17 A person’s selfish desires are set against the Spirit, and the Spirit is set against one’s selfish desires. They are opposed to each other, so you shouldn’t do whatever you want to do.
To say it another way, if we find ourselves only ever doing what we want to do, well, we probably are not doing what God wants us to do.
There are many examples of people seeking to “get out of the way.” We can safely say that Billy Graham and Mother Teresa are two prime examples of people who got out of the way. I am sure their stories are filled with examples of choosing not their wants but God’s wants.
Of course, it is often the not so famous person who made the choice to “get out of the way” who made the most impact in your life. If we look at all of our lives, most likely there is at least one person, if not many more, who chose to get out of the way, to put his or her wants aside and allow God to work.
Who are the people in your life? Who are the people you need to thank? Is it a Sunday school teacher? A youth worker? A mentor or a friend?
But also I ask you to consider, where is God calling you? Where is He asking you to go? What is He asking you to do? What is He asking you to say? What is He asking you to change?
God help me and help all of us, to focus on your thoughts and your ways this day. Amen.
(All scripture cited above from Common English Bible Copyright © 2011)