LIFT HIM UP - CHANGE THE WORLD

BY PAMELA STEELE -
Leader of MOMLIFE

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to myself.” John 12:32

This scripture has been simmering on the back burner of my mind for weeks now.
What does this really mean? Is there a deeper revelation other than the obvious?

When Jesus spoke these words, the Bible tells us that he was speaking of the manner in which he would die. Of course, we know that Jesus was nailed to a cross and raised up for all to see in that wretched moment of torment. But, is there more? 

My long meditation of this scripture took me to thoughts of the harvest … the harvest of souls still without the Lord - souls searching for that missing piece, Jesus. Questions came to mind such as, “How do we bring souls to a saving knowledge of Christ?” “What truly is our part in this process.”

When we try to “get somebody saved," it can be a very frustrating experience. We may try to convince them with our superior Biblical knowledge. We may try to tell them how much better our life is since we found the Lord. We may explain to them the ways their life could be richer, more fulfilling, more peaceful , etc., if they would make Jesus the Lord of their lives. None of these things are wrong or bad. In fact, we have been given the great commission to preach the gospel to all the world. The Bible also tells us to, “…study to show ourselves approved … “. However, it is not our intellect, our solid grasp on apologetics or our tales of deep, rich, spiritual experiences that bring any person to Christ.

The Bible clearly tells us that no one comes to Jesus unless the Father draws them (John 6:44).

So, what is it then? What is MY part? What is OUR part? As I pondered and prayed about this, the words of John 12:32 kept ringing up in my spirit. “If I be lifted up … I will draw all peoples to myself.” What would it look like if we lifted Jesus up? How does that translate into our daily lives? What affect does this have on those around us?

A common phrase heard in Christian circles comes to mind-“Exalt the Lord.” To exalt literally means to praise, acclaim, worship, magnify or glorify. It also means to uplift, raise, lift, heighten or elevate. In essence, it means to lift up the Lord. To magnify his name. To praise him. To glorify him. The use of the phrase “lift up/exalt the Lord” refers to a state of worship. Something interesting happens when we choose to worship the Lord. As we exalt him and lift him up, our perspective begins to change. As we shift our focus onto Jesus, we start to see things differently. We feel things differently. In the very act of worship-exalting the Lord-we are brought higher. As King David prayed in Psalms 61:2, “…when my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I,” we come up to that rock, Jesus, our strength and our source.  

“When we worship and spend time in His presence, we begin to change more into His likeness. We experience more of His character in our lives. Things like love, joy, peace, grace, mercy … grow in us! We become more and more like the one we spend time with.” ~ Pastor Charlotte Quist 

As we spend time to exalt the Lord in worship-to lift him up-who He is starts to be reflected more and more in us. This makes us different from the secular world around us. This makes us stand out from the crowd. We can start to emulate peace in the middle of the storm. We can draw on His grace in trying situations and with difficult people. We begin to respond differently in our places of work and to these around us. Our “road rage” starts to tame and we start to operate in a level of peace that defies our physical reality. The character of Christ becomes more and more evident in us to others. He is being lifted up to be seen in us.

To the outsider, the onlooker, we become peculiar. This is what it means to be the salt of the earth, folks! You are lifting up Jesus in your own personal time. You are spending time-lifting Him up, and that reflection of Christ is drawing people in. Charles Spurgeon says, “The world doesn’t read the Bible. The world reads Christians.” The world can sniff out a fake a mile away. Authenticity comes from time spent with the Lord, in His presence. The richness of our private time with the Lord, is evident in our public lives. I love Act 4:13 where it says, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” Lord, let this be so of us!

Not only do we lift Jesus higher in our worship, but in our daily lives. What does that look like? Lifting Jesus higher in our day to day lives, means that we submit our need to control outcomes. We surrender our pride and our need to be right. We surrender our agendas to His. It means that in all that we do, we seek His direction and His purposes. This can often seem counterintuitive to the world’s perspective, but, that is ok! In Isaiah 55:9 it says, “His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.”

What situations are you facing in your life right now? Broken relationships? Sickness? Poverty? Anxiety and depression? Is the current state of the world driving a wedge between you and your family? These things are hard! But they are also temporary. Jesus said, “In this world you WILL have trouble. BUT, take heart, for I have overcome the world.” Nothing that we are facing collectively or in our private lives is coming as a surprise to God. He promises he will bring good from it for you. Trust Him in the process. Let him guide you through it. He’s not going to leave you in your brokenness. He who began a good work in you is faithful and He will complete it. He will be glorified in it!

When we start to lift Jesus higher than our circumstances, that means we humble ourselves and we say, “God, what is your opinion of this situation?” We lower ourselves and we humbly give preference to Him. As we do this, we will again look different. In James 4:10 it says to “…humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and in due time he will raise YOU up.” This is interesting to me, especially in light of the fact that we’re talking about lifting Jesus up-not ourselves. We, the body of Christ, each of us carry the Spirit of the Living God in us! As we humble ourselves before the Lord-giving His purpose and direction preference over our own ideas and agendas-He will lift us up. Why? It’s not so that we can be glorified. It’s so that He will be glorified. “… let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory/exalt/lift up your Father who is in Heaven.” Matthew 5:16
It’s for His glory. It is to draw people to Him.

Considering the inevitable act of humility that unfolds as we lift Jesus to the highest priority in our lives, it is interesting to ponder the oft quoted scripture in regards to a glorious harvest of souls, 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, HUMBLE themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and heal their land.” Again in the humble act of making Jesus higher, the world will see and be drawn to Him.

As we develop a habit of lifting Jesus higher in our daily lives and in our worship to the Lord, there will come an overflow from our hearts. From the overflow of our heart, our mouths will speak. Another way we lift Jesus higher is to tell others about him-to declare his goodness and greatness to others. This is not the first step, this is the result of developing closeness with the Lord. This is the result of choosing to humble ourselves and live a life determined to make Jesus the highest priority over everything else. This is the result when His opinion and purposes begin to matter more than our own. The words of that song are ringing up in my soul, “Nothing else matters. Nothing in this world will do. Only you … Jesus be the center.”

Do you want to see change in the world? Do you want to see people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? A wise man once said to me, “You can protest and picket all you want, but until the heart of man is changed, nothing is going to change.” The world needs Jesus. The harvest is ready! Your family needs to see Jesus in your life. Your neighbours need to see Jesus in your life. Your co-workers need to see Jesus in your life. The world needs the hope and the light we have because of Him! How is that going to happen? What are we to do?

Simply put-lift Jesus higher! Make Him the highest priority. Surrender your pride and humble yourself before the Lord. Make the Word of God the standard by which you base your decisions. Make time with him in worship, exalting him and praising him your place of solitude and strength. Then, he says, “…I will draw all peoples to myself.” This, my friends, is how we change the world.


Posted in , , ,
Tagged with , , ,

No Comments