“Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the Gospel should live from the Gospel. But I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me.” 1 Corinthians 9:14-22 (NKJV). The Apostle Paul decided to forfeit the rights of something good and God ordained – being paid to preach the Gospel – for a greater, God exalting outcome; that is, to magnify the sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Many would say Paul was being unreasonable, but Paul was not about reasonableness, instead he had had his eyes up to the heavens, to the glory of God.
We also are entitled to many good things; we work hard, we earn an income and we have the freedom to use it for good things. As Christians, the question however is not ‘what am I entitled to?’, the question we should ask is ‘what will glorify God the most?’
It was not sin for Jesus to enjoy the glory He had with the Father before he came to earth. It was perfectly fitting for Him for He was the creator of all things “…all things were made through Him…” 1 John 3 (NKJV). Jesus testified about His former glory “glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” John 17 (NKJV). Jesus had a glory before the world began, and he was entitled to it. Yet he did something, in my opinion, that the angels would think of as outrageous and unreasonable; he became ‘of no reputation taking the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.’ He did this to glorify His father, purchasing a people who would with tears and loud shouts worship his infinite grace for all eternity.
We have one objective in this Christian life, to glorify God because he deserves it. It Is not about ‘our rights’ for we all deserve hell without Christ and the Bible says “He has not dealt with us according to our sins.” Psalm 103:10 (NKJV). I want to share a quick testimony of a family who forfeited their rights: Hennelie was a medical doctor and her husband Werner was a Reverend in South Africa, they had two talented children, one an aspiring writer and the other wanting to be a pilot. They left everything in 2002 to go to Afghanistan and live out the Gospel. Unexpectedly In 2014, after years of faithful service, Hennelie lost her whole family as the Taliban killed her husband and two children. Two years later she was interviewed, and she stated she had no regrets about her decision to come to Afghanistan. Will we partner with her or just look from afar?
Will we follow her example? An even more important question is, will we follow Christ’s example? Jesus said “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:14 (NKJV).
This month’s challenge: What are some of the things you feel entitled to? This month examine your life considering the example that Jesus has set through the Gospel. What are some of the rights you could forfeit to glorify God, reflecting the radical love of the Gospel in your life.