Today I want to talk about your BUT. No, we're not talking about that thing behind you, or that thing you sit on, or that thing you disagree with what your momma gave you.
Today the BUT we are going to talk about is the BUT you keep giving to Christ and others.
I want to spread the gospel, but...
I want to serve my neighbor, but...
I want to study God's word more, but...
I want to follow God, but...
Before we go any further let us clearly state that this is not a "bible thumping." We want to bring to light a dominant trend that is steering us away from a relationship with Christ and thus apart from others.
Let's take a look at a passage from Discipling - How To Help Others Follow Jesus written by Mark Dever:
"True Christian faith is not pig-like. It does not look out only for itself, and it is not lazy. Like Paul, it works. It works for others. It works with the energy supplied by God who works powerfully in us. It works by proclaiming, warning, and teaching. And it works so that others might be presented mature in Christ on the day of his coming."
Well said! So, let us present a question to you: "If you can say BUT to Christ then nothing is stopping you from saying BUT to your neighbor correct?"
Let's break down the passage above to help address this question and see how we can remove the BUTs in our day to day interactions:
True Christian faith is not pig-like. It does not look out only for itself, and it is not lazy
Our example of "I want to serve my neighbor, BUT..." fits this section. To be pig-like is to be selfish or self-serving. Not wanting to serve our neighbors is self-serving. Imagine if you will Christ saying, "I want to help the leper, but I'm tired, so I'll get to it tomorrow." We all know "get to it tomorrow" is code for not going to do it.
Let's look at James 3:13-18
Wisdom from Above
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Where selfish ambition exists, there will be disorder and every vile practice. Take a second and think back to a selfish situation that involved you or someone that acted in selfish desire towards you. Was there disorder? Did vile practice take place?
For us to remove the BUT in "I want to serve my neighbor, BUT... we have to remember verse 17-18: true wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. When we seek true wisdom from above the BUT drifts away, and we start saying, "I will serve my neighbor."
It works with the energy supplied by God who works powerfully in us
God of Endurance
5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
When we allow Christ to guide us, He provides the power needed to accomplish His mission with harmony in one another, in accord with Christ Jesus. It's by His power that we accomplish His good, and together we all unite to glorify Him in all that He does in our lives.
Imagine if you will mankind accomplishing God's work by there own power. No need for his love, guidance, or strength. Where would our focus be? On ourselves and not Him! We must remember that it's by His power, His holy spirit, His love, His guidance that we accomplish His mission.
The saying, "I want to spread His gospel, BUT..." now turns into "I will spread His gospel." Why? Because we tapped into His power, we tapped into His spirit, we accepted His love (and now will share it), and finally, we seek out His guidance.
It is He who will give you the power to remove the BUT in "I want to spread the gospel, BUT..." Tap into that power!
It works by proclaiming, warning, and teaching
"I want to study God's word more, BUT..." We've all said it and been in a conversation where people say it. We hear this more and more, people wanting to know God's word more. But there's always something that keeps them from it. What is it? What prevents you from knowing God's word more? Kids, family, time, fear of not understanding, work, school, etc.
Fact: the more we have people saying this the less we are hearing people proclaim His message, warn against sins in our lives, and more importantly teaching His word.
Let's jump back to the God's power. By tapping into God's power you will desire to know Him deeper. You will seek out, study, and want to teach others about His word. We first must start by tapping into the Holy Spirit. This will lead to a deeper desire to want to know Him more, thus removing the BUT in "I want to spread the gospel, BUT..." and turn into, "I must spread the gospel."
15 And he said to them, Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
And it works so that others might be presented mature in Christ on the day of his coming
"I want to follow Christ, BUT..." Hesitation is a sign of a weak and immature believer in Christ. Yes, you read that correctly. People say they believe in Christ but do not follow.
They hesitate because they are immature in their faith. They have not procured the necessary warning or teaching to see the glories that await them in fully committing their live to following Him.
You see, it's up to us to work hard for Him, thus tapping into His power, and finally leading us to proclaim, warn, and teach those that are hesitant.
Hesitation is a sign of fear. They fear what they do not know. Showing us, they are immature in their walk with the Lord. What do you do with immature people? We teach them to be mature. It is up to us to help them strip away the BUT in "I want to follow Christ, BUT..."
Mature In Christ
28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
Remove the BUT in your walk with the Lord and watch the BUTs be removed in your daily interactions.
Live for His glory... Succeed for His kingdom!
Diving Deeper - Our Path Forward
Diving Deeper introduces material in coordination with our blog post so the reader can dive deeper into the topic.
The Diving Deeper for this post comes from the book Evangelism authored by J. Mack Stiles a series of book from 9Marks on Building Healthier Churches.
Download What Is A Culture Of Evangelism and take the time to investigate what God's path forward for you looks like.