Monday, November 25, 2013

3 Ways Christ Is Exalted

By Kristen Leigh Evensen
I started writing this post because I felt pressure. 
Pressure to be like everyone else out there producing excellent content. Pressure to use my time wisely. Pressure to practice my writing. Pressure to be better and better and better.

Sigh. My motivations can be so misdirected. So selfish. So negligent of the glory of Christ. Have you experienced anything like this lately?

Oh, thank God for His wonderful grace and abundant mercy! Praise God for His great glory that puts our thoughts and desires back into right perspective. 

One of the best ways to lose sight of Christ is to start replacing Him with other people, other desires, other tasks, other goals. More pointedly, start exalting anything but Christ, and all else in our lives falls out of right perspective.

The glory of Christ is the whole point. 

My glory is not the point. Your glory is not the point. I find that I need to repeat those words to myself on a daily basis. One more time: Your glory and my glory is not the point.

The exaltation of Christ Jesus is the whole point of living, moving and breathing!

Why do we so easily forget? We could be running our race with perseverance, keeping our eyes fixed on Christ and--whoops!--in drops a small thought about how our life's work should look more like that other person's...which leads to us neglect gratitude...which leaves us discouraged and defeated. And that is precisely where the enemy wants us. The struggle with sin that endures within us is ongoing, wrestling for our kingdom-of-self to prevail.

The result of a wandering, idolatrous heart is that we may gain the whole world, but lose our soul because Christ's exaltation--our life's purpose--is no longer our ultimate objective and longing. 

Praise God for rescue and help found in the hope of the cross and the glory of God!

As Christians, our thoughts are to be filled with heaven. We are to stay focused on the only One who is worthy of praise and adoration, whose Kingdom is eternal and absolutely worth fighting for and working for in this life. The exaltation of Christ is the whole goal of your life, of the Church, and of creation!

John the Baptist understood this, when he responded in John 3:22-36 to his disciples asking him about Jesus baptizing people. John teaches them (and us) three important ways that Christ can be exalted:

ONE: Christ is exalted when we direct peoples' gaze to Him. John says, "I am not the Christ" (v.28). Our lives should proclaim, "I am not the Christ, only He is, the wonderful Savior!" When our eyes are fixed on Jesus, and when we proclaim Him with our lives and our words, He is greatly exalted! This is especially needed when we accomplish good works, that the One who is above all might receive all the glory and honor.

TWO: Christ is exalted when we rejoice in the truth and believe. "Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true" (v.33). Christ is exalted when we believe Him. Our lives are no longer our own when we trust Christ as Savior; therefore, our lives reflect Him, His greatness and His lordship. When we believe and are saved, we are living, breathing testimonies to the salvation work of Christ, and lights in a dark, perishing world. Our deepened trust in Christ during trials and wilderness seasons also exalts the name of Christ.

THREE: Christ is exalted when we proclaim the gospel. John gives us a beautiful example of sharing the truth of Christ in right perspective with those questioning him. He shares the good news of Jesus because he is compelled by the glory and greatness of Christ! John must exalt Christ and "rejoice greatly at the bridegroom's voice" (v.29). May our joy in knowing Christ, in reveling in His glory, cause us to exalt Him to others!

Glorious, great Lord, How majestic is Your Name in all the earth! Your redeemed children live to praise You and bring You glory, all the days of our lives. May we practice for eternity by always pointing to Your greatness. Humble us to the areas of our lives where we exalt ourselves; we confess we take our eyes off Christ's glory. Thank You for grace and mercy! Your Name be exalted!

Amen. 

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