Sunday, March 27, 2011

March 27, 2011 … One More Enemy of Humility: Selfish Ambition

Passage of the Day: Matthew 20: 20 - 22 - [see underlined] 20 Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of Him. 21"What is it you want?" he asked. She said, "Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in Your kingdom." 22 "You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said to them. "Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?" …"We can," they answered. My Journal for Today: The “Power Play” of James and John with their mother, which we revealed yesterday is an example of yet another enemy of Christlike humility for the human heart which is desperately wicked (as we know of from Jer. 17: 9). Salome, the mother of her “sons of thunder,” was using nothing but selfish ambition, edging for position with the One they perceived as their Messiah; and this is an interaction with Christ, from which we should learn about our own discipleship. First, this maneuver, using relationships for an insider edge, showed how impulsive and immature in their faith these first cousins of Jesus were at the time of this incident. At this stage, as Disciples, these two really didn’t have a clue about what it takes to be a leader in God’s kingdom; and that is surrender and suffering, which are both behavioral outgrowths of humility. It also reveals their pridefulness, which is just the opposite of what they would later learn it would take to become the leaders they ultimately became in God’s kingdom (i.e., humility and meekness). Had they known all of that, I’m sure they would have put the brakes on their mom intervening on their behalf and they would have trusted their Lord to help them become the servant-leader disciples they would become by following their Messiah in surrender. We now know from history and the New Testament, that James and John learned these lessons of life. James, whom we know from historical accounts, was also known of as “James, the Greater” and was the first martyred Apostle [44 AD], who was one of the prime movers in leading the peoples of Spain to the Gospel. His brother John, of course, much later penned his “Revelation” from exile on Patmos (probably some time between 68 – 95AD). But at this stage of their discipleship, as we see these biological brothers in today’s passage, both of these men needed a lot more seasoning as believers and followers of Christ to come to the place where they could become leaders in God’s kingdom. And we should take heart, or at least take pause, from this lesson in discipleship. We should be asking ourselves if we’ve grown in the faith to be in full surrender to God’s Spirit and our Lord. Are we humble and meek of attitude as charged by God through Paul in Phil. 2: 5? Are we ready to be used for God’s kingdom as followers of Christ as He commanded in Luke 9: 23? Are we ready to be an intentional servant first and an anointed leader thereafter, if God has such leadership in His plan as He most certainly did for James and John? I’ll leave that inventory for you; and I’m doing it even as I type this. But it is uplifting for me to know that two such impetuous and impulsively selfish characters such as the “sons of thunder” could become dynamically used for God’s glory when they chose and developed humility and meekness in their character. It points me in the direction of total surrender so that I might move from a focus on self to one focused on the Savior. I’m not there yet; but I pray that that is my direction. My Prayer Today: Prepare me, Lord, for what lies ahead in Your plan/purpose for me. Amen

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