Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”
I truly desire to please God! My “Vision” is to be more like Jesus. The success of my “Vision” depends on two areas – My Priorities & Focus – and these must be developed!
Developing Biblical priorities and perspectives requires…
Regardless of the gifting God has given us, or the proficiency of ability the gifting manifests, it is impossible to please God without complete obedience. The quality of our worship is measured by the level of our obedience.
Saul was a gifted king. He led Israel effectively for a good period until he submitted to the influence of pride and jealousy. God gave him a final opportunity to prove his loyalty, but it appeared it was more important that he pleased the people than pleasing God. Consider what Samuel said…
1 Samuel 15:22 (KJV) “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams” (Emphasis Added).
God placed Saul as King in Israel. Someone said, “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” There was a time when Saul did not think too highly of himself. Although he was taller than most Israelites, he did not “stand-out” until God exalted him. Although he was placed into the position as king, he was to be God’s servant FIRST and FOREMOST! His “power” corrupted his heart and he prized ritual worship above personal worship. Because of this, he lost his kingdom.
1 Samuel 15:23 (KJV) “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king” (Emphasis Added).
Pleasing God is a matter of relationship and righteousness. It is NOT possible to please Him through ritual or religion. Jesus taught this principle…
John 4:23-24 (KJV) “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (Emphasis Added)
Again, I emphasize that Jesus is Lord! Being that He is Lord, He is a King! He came to reveal His Father and manifested His Father’s Love on Calvary. He is the “Model” Servant. You see, a servant of God must exhibit humility while walking with a confident air of majesty. Jesus did this – the Lord became the Lamb!
In keeping with the principle that true worship is a matter of spirit and truth, Jesus revealed that the Father desires to set up His Kingdom (His Throne) in the hearts of His children.
Luke 17:21 (KJV) “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Emphasis Added).
To develop clear Biblical priorities and perspectives requires “absolute” surrender of my rights, and submission of my will to the Will of God. Once again, I used the word “absolute” in reference to God. This is a major spiritual, mental hurdle for us to make because we value our autonomy! Jesus spoke to this…
Matthew 8:18-22 (KJV) “Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead” (Emphasis Added).
Jesus made it very clear to everyone who wanted to follow Him. He told them (us) that it would cost us everything that was dear to them. You see, the King does not have to negotiate with anyone! God does NOT negotiate. Why? He is God, and we are not!
Jesus emphasized the need to count the cost and surrender and submit any conditions they would hold before they followed Him. As God, and as the Father’s Personal Representative, Jesus did not hesitate to demand complete obedience and loyalty.
With God, NO other loyalty supersedes loyalty to Him! No family, friendship, or fellowship loyalty is greater than loyalty to Him. Total, and immediate, obedience to God is required if one desires to please God!
This principle forces us to take account of our priorities. We must not be hesitant deciding to surrender and submit to Jesus Christ even though there are other loyalties that compete for our attention. It required a total commitment for Jesus to accomplish His Mission and realize His Vision.
We hear, “All gave some, some gave all” regarding those who participated in fighting for our freedoms in America. Because He gave His life, the Man, Christ Jesus has the right to demand complete commitment and obedience as His disciples.
1 Peter 2:21-25 (KJV) “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls” (Emphasis Added).
1 John 2:3-6 (KJV) “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (Emphasis Added).
The Man, Christ Jesus did nothing to exalt Himself. Everything He did, He did to please His Father. We must also have such devotion…
Three men worked on a large building project. One was asked, “What are you doing?” “I’m mixing mortar,” he replied. The second man said, “I’m helping put up this great stone wall.” When the third man was asked, he replied, “I’m building a cathedral to the glory of God.” These three men could just as well have been working on a car, a truck, a house, a road, or any legitimate product or service a man or woman might provide. Most people work to earn a living, attain success, or amass wealth. Such reasons, however, must not be the Christian’s primary motive for working. Like the third man in our story, we need to see that what give work eternal value is not the product or service of our labor, but the process of laboring itself – doing the job faithfully to the glory of the Lord. –Author Unknown
Once we’ve aligned our priorities to fulfill the “Vision” that is in harmony with God, we must establish a clear focus to keep us on the right “course.” Our perspective is determined by our vision. What we focus on will determine our direction. We fallen humans tend to take God’s Goodness for granted. We relish, even demand, our right to choose, yet we tend to blame God for what does not work well in our lives and take personal credit for what appears to be the direct results of our wise choices.