“Delight yourself in the Lord…” Psalm 37:4
A few years ago I had a life changing experience while preparing for church early one Sunday morning. The text on this particular morning was from Hebrews 12: “…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…” and I was praying through the message and planning the altar call.
I was going to tell a story about a father who was coaching his kindergarten son on how to win the “all class race” which was taking place that day. His son was very fast, but also easily distracted, and the dad knew it didn’t matter how fast he was. If he didn’t run straight, he wouldn’t win. So he made a strategy: “Son, when the race starts I will be directly across from you at the finish line. Don’t worry about who is running next to you, or bother watching your own progress; just focus on me, and run straight into my arms.”
The question I was going to ask our people was: “What’s at the end of your race?” What are you really living for? Is it money? Pleasing people? Your retirement? etc… As I was thinking how powerful this was going to be, a question jumped into my mind which I knew was from the Lord. “What’s at the end of your race?” I knew instantly it wasn’t what I thought it was.
The answer came quickly as well as the consequences of my wrong priorities. “Jesus” was not at my finish line; it was something subtly different called, “Influence for Jesus.” It was plain to me that I had become a worker for God, before I was a lover of God, and equally clear what the costs were of my wrong priorities:
- I wasn’t delighting in God, because my reward was no longer Him, but in how many people I was influencing for Him.
- I had lost my delight in people. I could no longer enjoy people because I always needed them to do something. People were becoming projects that I had to work on instead of people that I could just enjoy.
The final sentence I heard whispered in my spirit was this: “I’m calling you to be My bride, not My PR man.”
A bride represents the Bridegroom in a different way than a promoter does. She knows Him intimately, and has even taken on some of His fragrance. Yes, she can answer all the basic questions, but that is not her joy. Her joy is to be with Him, and her influence is spontaneous, not forced. This is what Jesus wants from us.