Volume 22, Issue 37 (September 13, 2020)
Choosing Jesus Christ as Our Leader
By Kyle Pope
Every four years the people of the United States take part in an activity which is a privilege of citizenship in a democracy: casting our vote to elect our nation’s leader. While we watch with interest and anticipation regarding the outcome, as Christians we must recognize another election going on each and every day which is much more important—choosing or rejecting Jesus as our personal leader. Choosing Jesus as leader is . . .
I. To Gain a New Motive of Conduct—His Will. The aching desire of any young person under the direction of his or her parents is to “run my own life.” We want children to grow to the point they are able to take care of themselves and make their own decisions. Yet, the irony of this maturity of will is that it is inevitably deceptive. The mature adult must submit his or her will to an employer, to government, to physical needs of the body, to family, and to those around us with whom we interact. No one is ever truly in control of his or her own life (in an absolute sense). We must either submit ourselves to the will of an omnipotent all-loving Messiah, or we are in submission to the will of Satan. Jesus teaches us both by word and example that those who look to Him as their leader must forfeit their own will in controlling their lives and submit wholly to Him as Lord and Master. In Luke 8:34 Jesus said, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let Him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (NKJV). In the garden before His trial and ultimate death, the suffering Savior pled with the Father, “O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39). We must, like Jesus submit our will to the will of God the Father. To do this is . . .
II. To Obtain a New Purpose for Effort—Eternal Life. During the early days of the Soviet Union a staunch Communist novelist named Aleksandr Fadeyev wrote a number of works praising the Communist way of life. His final work, a novel called Happiness sought to explain that true happiness was found in working tirelessly for Communism. In 1956, after the completion of the novel Fadeyev committed suicide by shooting himself. When material life serves as the only reason for human effort enthusiastic perseverance becomes meaningless. In Christ, effort takes on meaning! Paul told the Philippian brethren to “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12-13). The Colossians were told, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:23-24). That doesn’t mean that our effort is easy, but it always has purpose. Serving Jesus as leader is . . .
III. To Receive a New Spirit of Life—Humility and Love. The human heart is a strange paradox. It is capable of great selfless sacrifice and horrifying mindless brutality. Consider two cases on the news in the same week some years ago. In a sign factory fire in Alabama a brave young artist gave his very life going back and forth helping others. That same week, a North Carolina mother was cold-blooded enough to roll her car into the lake with her two young boys strapped in the back seat! Choosing Christ as leader involves changing our heart, mind, and attitude that it might be “Christ-like.” Philippians 2:5 admonishes the believer, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” The humility and love of Jesus Himself becomes our pattern for life. Serving Him as leader is . . .
IV. To Discover a New Field of Interest—the Whole World. We are all very different people. What interests one person may be totally boring to another, while the thing that passionately interests that person is a matter of no consequence to someone else. In Christ there is a sense in which the Christian takes on an interest in the affairs of all men, everywhere, at all times out of a love for their eternal souls. The Lord told the apostles, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Paul claimed, “I have become all things to all men that I might by all means save some” (1 Cor. 9:22). This attitude calls upon us to raise our focus above our own affairs to those of the souls around us. If Jesus is our leader, it leads us . . .
V. To Obtain New Companionship—the Lord’s Church. The American novelist Thomas Wolfe wrote, “The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and to a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence.” The great English poet John Milton observed from Genesis 2:18 that, “Loneliness is the first thing which God’s eye nam’d not good.” Coming to Christ guarantees the faithful convert lifelong companionship with God’s people. John wrote, “That which we have seen and heard we declare to you that you may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). Not only does a Christian have the constant companionship of the Lord, but a relationship of fellowship with the Lord’s people. All of these things make it eternally important for each of us make the choice every day to serve Jesus as the sovereign leader of our lives.