...so Average Joe isn’t that average after all… the moment I met him some 17 years ago, I was blown away by the imprints of God’s greatness all over his life. This gifted young man has blessed so many in the Body of Christ. His heart of compassion for people, his love for strong and effective preaching of the Gospel and his candid and clear communication style are a precious and rare treasure to find…so wonderful to welcome the not-so-average Average Joe in our little blog community here! Introducing my dear friend and fellow-blogger Average Joe.
GUEST POST BY AVERAGE JOE
Who doesn’t love pleasure?
For most of us who live in the “west” or first world, it’s the very sole target of our existence. We get an education so we may have good jobs. We get good jobs so we can feel fulfilled, productive and above all else have money to satisfy our desires.
That’s a gross simplification. I’m sure there’s other stuff in there too. But let me just say God know’s best. And this is what He says about pleasure.
Proverbs 21:17 – “He who loves pleasure will become a poor man;
He who loves wine and oil will not become rich.”
A few weeks ago I shared a sermon on this topic. And in between now and then, I neglected to write a sermon summary for this blog (SORRY!). And I’ve been inspired by some honest writings here to then do my own. So I set up shop on a blog like this one. And I love Heaven4eHome because of her candid nature.
She’s not pretending to be a superstar mum or Christian.
That simply doesn’t exist.
And at the heart of the sermon I preached. I was challenged by the Holy Spirit to be raw as she’d say! And that raw honesty led me to realise I’d been seeking pleasure. Like seriously built my life around it. I prayed because I wanted Jesus to solve my family issues or work troubles.
I secretly hoped God would grow our church and ministry so I could be “somebody” significant (urgh, it’s true I hate to admit it)
But at the heart of my desires was this sycophantic spirit. I was leeching from God. And as soon as a I got into a comfortable zone. I was no longer sacrificing. Not fasting anymore, not being contrite in spirit. Just… kinda coasting comfortably.
Loving pleasure is not real Christianity. That much is obvious. But here’s the challenge before us. In our day to day, moment to moment living.
Have we counted the cost?
Are we sold out for Jesus in a way that is obvious to everyone around us?
We cannot substitute Jesus’ gospel of the Kingdom for a cheap one that says “oh you know, be Christian cos Jesus is cool and He will make you healthy wealthy and wise!” errr all that is kind of true. But seriously incomplete. He also told us to take up our cross and follow Him. God is not sadistic, but he does not want us to indulge in comfort, because that is NOT His Way.
The irony is if we lose our life for Christ’s sake, we find it. I’ve honestly only had true joy, peace and fulfilment when I’m in God’s presence. When I’m hearing from Him through scripture. Dwelling in worship music away from crowds and singing songs for His ears only. That’s the space He want’s us in. Step by step being faithful with the small, and multiplying those moments so they are full. (See parable of the talents Matt 25:14 onwards).
That was the challenge God put before me in Feb 2016. And I pray the First World church awakens to that same call.