As I look through my bullet journal back at this past year, it would be an understatement to say it did not go the way I planned. I never painted the house or garage; I only read 14 out of 20 books I had planned to read; and I certainly did not get down to a weight of 170 lbs. by December 31st. Many things happened along the way that made my list impossible to accomplish. I needed a ton of dental work because I listened to the advice of my former dentist and let things go until it was unbearable. Added duties were placed on me as I was installed as an Elder at the church I attend; which led to other duties I freely gave myself in this category. Add the many trips back to my hometown to help my father who was diagnosed with Leukemia and passed away in September.
I did manage to read the entire Bible in a year.
But that’s not to say that many things were not accomplished. Accomplishing a list isn’t quite the epitome of success. Therefore, let me explain.
The Clarity of Christ
One of the books that I haven’t finished is the 40 day devotional, “Act Like Men” by James MacDonald. As good as the book is for most men, it started off a little flat, and to be honest I haven’t really spent much time soaking it; until I read this morning on chapter 23: The Clarity of Christ. In it MacDonald clearly states why Jesus Christ was the personification of quality manhood: because of the impact He made while on earth when urgency tempered with clarity brought about great results. In the book, MacDonald said that Jesus was all about clarity:
- Jesus was clear about timing.
- Jesus was clear about conflict.
- Jesus was clear about compassion.
- Jesus was clear about His mission.
- Jesus was clear about family.
- Jesus was clear about commitment.
- Jesus was clear about His own identity.
“The list above could be much longer. In summary, Christ knew who He was, why He came, what was worth His time, how long He had, and exactly what to do to advance His mission.” (MacDonald, 156)MacDonald, James. Act Like Men: 40 Days to Biblical Manhood. 1st ed., Chicago, Moody Publishers, 2014.
To sum up his point:
What is even more remarkable that MacDonald doesn’t mention in the book, at least up until this point, is that none of those categories melded or blended into each other, thus working against each other. Jesus’ timing, conflict, compassion, mission, family, commitment, or identity never worked against each other. They were all in one way or another — individually part of a whole. Let me explain.
Take Jesus’ family for instance. Even though He loved His mother and made sure that she would be taken care of after His death by the Apostle John (Luke 14:26), He never allowed His mission to be tampered by His family. In Matthew 12:49-50 when Mary and his brothers were outside wanting to see Him, He pointed to His disciples and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers; for whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother, sister, and mother.” It was as if Jesus was saying, ‘I am already with my mother and brothers.’ Not only that, He never allowed His mother to hamper His timing either as seen during the wedding in Cana when they ran out of wine (John 2:1-5). “My hour has not yet come” was His response to her. Her response to those waiting on tables, “Whatever He says — do it.” The ball was in his court, not hers.
This is also seen in the conflict that came against Him by the Pharisees, Sadducees, High Priest, and all of Rome. Even though it seemed like all hell was against Him, none of it derailed His ministry, mission, compassion, or commitment. It was as if He was able to compartmentalize each individual component, while at the same time fulfilling all the Father’s requests. On the outside one cannot even argue that Judas Iscariot and the leaders of Israel stopped the plans of Christ from fulfilling His objective by murdering Him, because it was the Father’s will that Jesus would die on the cross. Not only that, but every person of the Trinity raised Him from the dead. Nothing could stop His purposes and mission. Not even hell itself.
Even Jesus’ compassion for the destitute and hungry never clouded His clarity for His mission. Those whom He fed in John 6:1-14 were the same ones that crossed the Sea of Galilee to find Jesus to make Him a king (John 6:16) because He made food from nothing (John 6:26-27). Jesus sticks to His mission and teaches a hard lesson that was unbearable for them to hear and left Him (John 6:66).
The urgency was now. The clarity is how.
What should this say about my clarity?
It is an amazing thing when we realize that the mission the Lord gave us, the one we signed up for, is the whole made up of individual parts, not to be clouded by each other but work together as a unit for God’s glory? It’s as if the individual parts of our lives are the hands and feet of Christ within ourselves. My mission is my marriage, my career, my ministry, my talents, my treasure, my commitments, my goals, my family, my conflicts, and my identity. When any of those negate the mission, there’s problems. When will I ever learn that my fleshly ways, my fleshly plans, my fleshly desires, and my fleshly goals are not the same as God’s for my life? With that said, why can’t my ways, my plans, my desires, and my goals be the same as God’s? Isn’t that what clarity is all about; to think like Christ (Philippians 2:5), be like Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), to live is Christ (Gal 2:20; Philippians 1:21), to walk as Christ (Colossians 2:6) to suffer with Christ (2 Timothy 3:12)?
It’s not about doing MORE.
We do the things that are important to us, don’t we?
It’s not about doing more for the kingdom of God, but doing what you personally were called to do. It’s about living as though your calling is a part of you. It is not about balancing your life; its about not allowing your individual parts of your life to affect each other, but to work together for the mission of preaching the gospel (Mark 16:15) and making disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). Share the gospel while with your family. Share the gospel at work tactfully when you are on break. Let your enemies know who you are and Who you belong to and stand for in truth with love. Back up all your works with loving actions and well-intentioned motives.
You’ll be amazed at what God can do.