I am using the term “going native” in this context to mean the danger of a believer becoming so influenced by the community they have come to serve that they lose objectivity, purpose, and destiny. That is, they have become salt that has lost its saltiness. In that condition, they become the bland leading the bland.
Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.” (Mark 9:50 NET)
When the time was perfect God came into the world as a baby born of a virgin named Mary. (Galatians 4:4) That is, God became a man called Jesus and lived amongst us. (John 1:14. Matthew 1:21) Jesus lived in the world in absolute obedience to God His Father, thus glorifying God His Father, with the mission to destroy the devil and his works. (Hebrews 10:7, Hebrews 2:14, 1 John 3:8, Luke 4:18) The destruction of the devil and his works was necessary so that we the devil’s captives might be set free to choose to become children of God by a new and living way that He created through His death, burial, and resurrection. ( John 1:12, Hebrews 10:20. 1 Corinthians 15:3,4) During His earthly ministry, Jesus had the following opportunities to go native presented to Him but accepted none of them. (1)
I. Jesus’ earthly parents attempted to relegate Him to living an ordinary life:
Now Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem every year for the feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. But when the feast was over, as they were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but (because they assumed that he was in their group of travelers) they went a day's journey. Then they began to look for him among their relatives and acquaintances. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Jesus were astonished at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were overwhelmed. His mother said to him, "Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously." But he replied, "Why were you looking for me? Didn't you know that I must be in my Father's house?" Yet his parents did not understand the remark he made to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. But his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and with people. (Luke 2:41-52 NET)
While Jesus lived respectfully in obedience to His earthly parents, He made it clear that their relationship would not take priority over serving God His true Father. (Acts 4:18-20) Realize, Satan will attempt to prevent you from entering into your calling utilizing misguided family and/or friends.
II. Satan offered to give Jesus the world and all its people and treasures if He would not pursue His mission.
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their grandeur. And he said to him, "I will give you all these things if you throw yourself to the ground and worship me." Then Jesus said to him, "Go away, Satan! For it is written: 'You are to worship the Lord your God and serve only him.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and began ministering to his needs. (Matthew 4:8-11)
Oh, so many have chosen to possess wealth instead of possessing God. (Matthew 6:24) Satan will attempt to prevent us from fulfilling our ministry by distracting us with cares, pleasures, or contentment (Luke 8:14). We become lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:4).
III. Jesus’ mother Mary misguidingly attempted to push Him into ministry before His time had come:
Now on the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no wine left." Jesus replied, "Woman, why are you saying this to me? My time has not yet come." His mother told the servants, "Whatever he tells you, do it." Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washing, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants, "Fill the water jars with water." So they filled them up to the very top. Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the head steward," and they did. When the head steward tasted the water that had been turned to wine, not knowing where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), he called the bridegroom and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the cheaper wine when the guests are drunk. You have kept the good wine until now!" Jesus did this as the first of his miraculous signs, in Cana of Galilee. In this way he revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him. (John 2:1-11 NET)
Jesus called His mother Mary (1) a polite term for a female; however, this was not the usual way to address a person’s mother. I believe Jesus was clarifying to His earthly mother that He was on a mission in which He would only do and say what He saw His Heavenly Father doing and saying and this took precedence over their relationship. (John 5:19. John 8:28. John 12:49,50. John 14:10) In fact, Jesus’ Heavenly Father had always taken precedence but growing up as part of a nuclear family was obviously part of God’s plan to which He willingly and obediently followed (Luke 2:41-52). Mary, then wisely directed the servants to listen to and obey Jesus. Now, listening and obeying Jesus is always the optimal solution! If Satan cannot prevent or delay you from pursuing your calling to ministry, then he will attempt to get you to set out on it too early, before God the Father’s time.
IV. Jesus’ brothers attempted to push Him into ministry before His time had come:
After this Jesus traveled throughout Galilee. He stayed out of Judea because the Jewish leaders wanted to kill him. Now the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near. So Jesus' brothers advised him, "Leave here and go to Judea so your disciples may see your miracles that you are performing. For no one who seeks to make a reputation for himself does anything in secret. If you are doing these things, show yourself to the world." (For not even his own brothers believed in him.) So Jesus replied, "My time has not yet arrived, but you are ready at any opportunity! The world cannot hate you, but it hates me, because I am testifying about it that its deeds are evil. You go up to the feast yourselves. I am not going up to this feast because my time has not yet fully arrived." When he had said this, he remained in Galilee. But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, then Jesus himself also went up, not openly but in secret. (John 7:1-10 NET)
Jesus did not allow His younger brothers to provoke Him into ministry. If Satan cannot prevent you from pursuing your calling to the ministry he will attempt to have you sidetracked by conforming to one of his established dead religions and their traditions that make the Word of God of no effect. (Mark 7:13)
V. Jesus’ mother and brothers attempted to restrain Him and thus stop His ministry:
Now Jesus went home, and a crowd gathered so that they were not able to eat. When his family heard this they went out to restrain him, for they said, "He is out of his mind." (Mark 3:20-21 NET)
Then Jesus' mother and his brothers came. Standing outside, they sent word to him, to summon him. A crowd was sitting around him and they said to him, "Look, your mother and your brothers are outside looking for you." He answered them and said, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" And looking at those who were sitting around him in a circle, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother." (Mark 3:31-35 NET)
As he said these things, a woman in the crowd spoke out to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts at which you nursed!" But he replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!" (Luke 11:27-28 NET)
Jesus did not allow the misunderstanding of his own family to stop Him from following His Heavenly Father’s call. If Satan cannot stop you from pursuing ministry, he will attempt to discredit you. Leadership is influence and influence comes from the confidence of others in your competence. Consequently, if the confidence of the followers in your competence is reduced, then leadership is undermined and the ministry will fail.
VI. The people of Israel attempted to make Jesus an earthly King thus sidetracking His ministry:
Now when the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus performed, they began to say to one another, "This is certainly the Prophet who is to come into the world." Then Jesus, because he knew they were going to come and seize him by force to make him king, withdrew again up the mountainside alone. (John 6:14-15 NET)
Jesus knew the offer of promotion was based on what He could do for them and not what they would do for God (1) and departed. (John 2:23-25, John 18:36) How many of us have taken promotions in our lives that ended up taking us farther from our God-given destiny? Perhaps we believed the lie that the greater position of influence would complement our ministry, but instead, it competed with it. No, you cannot utilize Satan’s power and authority (Acts 26:18. Ephesians 2:2. 1 John 5:19) to accomplish good! While it may appear to start well, it will not end well. (John 10:10)
VII. Peter a member of Jesus’ inner circle attempted to control His ministry:
From that time on Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. So Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him: "God forbid, Lord! This must not happen to you!" But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, because you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but on man's." (Matthew 16:21-23 NET)
Jesus did not allow a close companion’s misguided concern for His life to derail Him from His destiny and destination. Realize, Satan will even use what seems good to cause the loss of ministry. (Nehemiah 6:1-3)
VIII. The religious leaders of the day attempted to discredit Jesus to stop His ministry:
Then some of the experts in the law along with some Pharisees answered him, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from you." But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. (Matthew 12:38-40 NET)
Now when the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He said, "When evening comes you say, 'It will be fair weather, because the sky is red,' and in the morning, 'It will be stormy today, because the sky is red and darkening.' You know how to judge correctly the appearance of the sky, but you cannot evaluate the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah." Then he left them and went away. (Matthew 16:1-4 NET)
Jesus did not “Go Native” while on His Earthly Mission… He did not lose His saltiness. What about you and me? Have we become salt (1) that is only good for being trampled on?
“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its flavor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people. You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden. People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13–16 NET)
Discipleship for Ministering Christians
- Jesus did not “Go Native” while on His Earthly Mission… What about you and me?
- Would the Real Jesus Please be Lifted Up!
- The Phantom of the Ages
(Security, Wholeness, Success)
Dear friend, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. (3 John 1:2 NET)
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