I am the type of guy that needs a game plan. When my wife wants me to go with her to Ikea, I have to know why we are going and what we are going to buy. Wandering around a glorified warehouse turned home-goods store without some sort of goal makes me feel like I’m living a nightmare. As a pastor of Sojourn church, I frequently consider where our trajectory is going. One of my ambitions is to intentionally and continuously set the trajectory of our church to be a community of people who truly worship Jesus.
One thing I have learned from living smack dab in the middle of the deep south is that Jesus is not unpopular. It’s not that Jesus is popular, but he is not unpopular either. What I mean is that in the “Bible Belt,” we think we “understand” Jesus. We carry the mentality that we have had enough of Jesus and we don’t need Him anymore. We don’t fully reject Jesus, but at the same time we don’t cherish, love, and worship Him.
Here is the dilemma I have realized in my own heart: the moment I begin to think that I have Jesus figured out is the moment I realize I never really knew Him to begin with. He was never meant to be a means to a greater end, as if I could use him to gain what I “really” want. I promise you that the life you long to live will only be realized when Jesus Christ becomes the end goal and driving purpose in your life. If we continue to view Christ as a piece on a chessboard we can move around for our own means, we will never know Him as we ought and never cherish, love, and worship Him as He deserves.
My prayer, for my own heart and for the churches throughout the Bible Belt, is for God to revive His church so Jesus would be supremely valued and treasured. My hope for the Church is that by the Spirit, the Risen King would become our primary obsession and the cry of our heart would resound with Paul’s in Philippians 3:7-8, “I count whatever was gain to me as loss because of the surpassing value that is found in knowing Jesus.”
If you desire to know Christ as Paul declared above, or even desire to have this desire, I challenge you to begin where Paul began by praying Ephesians 1:17-19. In this prayer Paul prays for the Church in Ephesus, asking the Father of glory to reveal Jesus by the Spirit and the Word so that they would know Jesus better. This is one of the most important prayers you can pray because there is no greater gift you could receive than the Spirit enabling you to grow in worshipful affection of Jesus. What was available for the Church in Ephesus then is available for our churches in the Bible Belt today. My prayer is that it would be so.