Thursday, August 03, 2017

A False Climax - What God Hates in a Man

To get to the climax is to be at the peak. The whole world is rushing to the climax of almost everything it can think of. Another word for climax in our context is SUCCESS. Most people are attracted to success, yet they avoid the many areas to success. In measuring success today, many ugly yardsticks are employed and people do all manner of maneuvers to be numbered among the successful. False climax, which is getting to the top by cutting corners, remains one of the greatest evils a man can do to himself. Such high points may be points of personal popularity; some great achievements; or a great applause from the crowd. Once it is not God's mark for your life, it can be nothing but false climax, designed by your adversary to rob you of your crown of glory.
False climax confronts everyone that is set apart for something crucial by God. Many fell headlong for it, not suspecting that the real climax of their life engagements was not yet at such points. Many wrote books, celebrated anniversaries, sat down to count past exploits, made monument of such climaxes, knowing not that the real victory, the real crown, the real glory lay elsewhere. Jesus - my LORD and Master had to push His way through this upsurge of several false glories, in order to fulfill God's mandate on His life.
As Christians, we follow the teachings and footsteps of Jesus Christ and would not do anything that is contrary to His ways. Getting to the real climax is to do as Jesus says. Those who felt they have arrived had to shed some things in order to be recognized by God. A rich man came to Jesus and asked Him a question regarding followership and true climax, but Jesus told him plainly that true climax is nothing but living righteously. When Jesus saw how difficult it is for people to willingly obey and follow God's ways, He cautioned His disciples against false climax.
When Peter and the other disciples brought it to His knowledge that they have left everything mundane and followed Him, Jesus was happy and assured them of a greater reward in heaven. To forsake all involves denying self and laying every aspect of self-seeking on the alter of consecration. It is obvious that what leads into every kind of sin/evil, and keeps people from following Christ is selfishness: self-seeking, self-love, self-pity, self-promotion, self-protection, self-pride, etc. When a believer has been able to conquer self, he will be able to readily overcome whatever else that wants to come between him and the love of Christ. In other words, it is the overcomer of self that is the real conqueror of whatever situations or circumstances organized by men or spirits or both, to hinder him from following the Master. It is such a person who will not find it difficult to give up whatever idol: worldly conformity, worldly fashion, love of money, material aggrandizement, position, popularity, pride of life, etc., that wants to come between him and following Jesus. He is the person who is really at the climax.
Evidently, we don't serve God for naught, nor has He commanded the seed of Jacob to seek Him in vain (Isaiah 45:19). There is reward for every labour. Great blessings and fruits accrue both in time and in eternity to those who deny self, forsake all and follow Christ. For one, the Master promises that they will receive back in hundred folds all those things which they apparently lost. This is real, and in keeping with God's eternal principle that when we first seek the kingdom and the righteousness, all other things follow. For another, the bliss of eternity with God is theirs. Great mansions and various kinds of rewards await them in heaven. They as the bride will be with the Bridegroom in the glorious marriage supper of the Lamb. They will rule with Him in the next life. For this reason, we are enjoined to continue to the end, so that no man takes our crown, seeing that the first might be the last and the last first.
However, since God did not call us into a life of abject poverty and struggle, He expects that we don't rush things, but taking them a step after another. Remember that Jesus went international with His ministry. The Greeks and other people came around looking for Him so as to benefit from His ministry, giving out the impression that Jesus had arrived. That looked very much like the climax of His ministry, yet it was a false climax, and Jesus was very careful about that. He escaped being crowned a king severally by people who saw below the point of climax. Any climax that does not allow a man to hit the mark of God's calling on His life is a camouflage. It is a temptation.
One's climax may never be the point of loud shouts and public glare. Do not forget that six days before Jesus was taken to Gethsemane, where He yielded completely to God and drank the cup of bitterness and shame on our behalf, there was a false climax set for Him - the crowd which heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took palm fronds and went forth to meet Him, crying, "Hosanna! Blessed is the king of Israel that cometh in the name of the LORD!" It took grace from my Master to keep on track. He shunned the songs and the accolades of men, and went straight for the commission - death on the cross! It was biblical, the fulfillment of a prophecy. Yet it was not God's mark for Him. The Hosanna crowd of six days past, were the same crowd that later condemned Him with "Away with him! Crucify him!" What a trial of commitment! What a quiet luring away from the eternal purpose of God! What a temptation to climb on the applause of the crowd and be led away into premature but vain glory rather than climb on the cross for our deliverance!

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