But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. Gal 6:14
I am sure that the Apostle Paul could have preached the gospel all the way from the Arctic to Antarctica ten times over, and on foot, until his feet bled blood – and still that would have meant nothing to him. There would have been nothing for him to glory in there.
Did you ever notice that God spoke audibly of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mat. 3:17) before Jesus had began His earthly ministry?
And the Bible does not say that Jesus was glorified before the Father because of all the marvellous works that He did here on earth, but rather because He “endured the cross” (Heb. 12:2).
Paul’s not glorying in his ministry achievements was not false humility on his part. Paul would not glory in them simply because it was a fact that he had nothing to glory in them.
What a revelation! Paul was looking to another glory, the glory of Christ’s cross working in him and producing the character of Christ in him, which thing alone would please God. Paul realized that as far as God is concerned, a personal transformation comprises true glory.
It might be true that God is concerned with what we do for Him; but there is no doubt about the fact that God’s real concern is in what we allow Him to do in our lives to transform us into the image of His Son Jesus Christ.
The church needs to get serious with God. Today there is an emphasis on outside showing, and on works. But during the Early Church you would not have heard of “Paul of Tarsus Ministries”, or “John and James Zebedee Ministries”. The apostles were not concerned with any such outside stuff. Far from even naming a ‘ministry’ after himself, Paul would not even dwell on what he had done. Instead, he emphasized on Christ’s work in him.
This astounding revelation desperately needs to come into our hearts today. There is an incredible work that needs to be done deep within our hearts. If we are to be truly co-joined with Christ, then we need to undergo the same work of death and resurrection that Christ underwent.
Many Christians boast in the things they can accomplish for God. But they will not allow God to touch their lives. They are proud, self-centered individuals, and there is no humility in their lives to allow God to transform them. As a result, every work of the flesh is evident in church today.
It requires humility to acknowledge that a work needs to happen in our hearts. It requires even greater humility to allow that work to take place. The most important thing that we can do in our calling as born-again believers is to allow the cross to bring the sufferings and death of Christ that will transform our lives into the image of Christ.
That is faith. When we are not able to see the work of transformation that needs to happen in our hearts, it is really not faith that we have, even if we are raising the dead. The faith that we can truly boast in is the faith that allows God to change us, change us on the inside. True faith is born of humility.
In other words, God is more pleased with a humble heart than today’s “mighty man of God” syndrome. I know of great preachers who cannot forgive. You can be a mighty man in men’s eyes, but be very small in God’s sight. Pride is a byword in today’s ministry fold. And these same sins are to be found in the lives of millions of Christians today.
That is why we need be on the right foundation, the foundation of Christ, and Him crucified. This is the foundation that will break us as men and bring us to bear the image of Christ, the only thing with which God is pleased.
[Below: Whenever I am at home in Dar es Salaam, this rooster wakes me up every morning]