We have left everything to follow you!

In church yesterday, we sang, “Your Love Never Fails” by the band Jesus Culture. Good song. Mellow. Some truth.

But, and here’s the rub, some “almost” truth. And before you think this not such a big deal, millions of people sing this message, have heard this message, and agree with this message. It isn’t a new message. Jesus Culture didn’t create it. In fact, the fact that they lyrics are part of their song only illustrates how long standing and insidious the message is.

It is the result of failed discipleship within our culture and our churches. So you can see for yourself what I mean, I am simply going to run the problematic lyric in contrast to God’s word. And keep in mind; this is not so much about the lyric as it is about what you believe. The lyric can be fixed with the removal or change of just one word. Your heart and mind and ministry might be fixed in just the same way.

See if you can figure out which word to remove/change (and the lyrics will still align well with the music). See if you can figure out what makes it an even better worship song.

The bridge for the song goes like this:
“You make all things work together for my good”

See how it aligns with scripture…

You make all things work together for my good
Acts 9:16 – I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

You make all things work together for my good
Mark 10:28 – “We have left everything to follow you!”

You make all things work together for my good
2 Cor 6:3-10 – We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”

You make all things work together for my good
Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

You make all things work together for my good
Acts 20:24 – However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

You make all things work together for my good
Matthew 14:9-11 – The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted and had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother.

The failed point of discipleship is the failure to teach that corporate promises and instruction are different than individual promises and instruction. We pick our favorite corporate promises for ourselves, and our expectation that God means them “just for me”. ‘He works for my good’ feels great to claim. But we do not so readily claim another promise for ourselves – to have to be shown ‘how much (I) must suffer for (His) name’. And yet the mature New Testament disciple understands sacrifice, suffering, obedience, calling…

The Bible clearly says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 10:28). The “good” aligns with His purpose. God knows it to be good for us to understand and live out a life of sacrifice, suffering, testimony, obedience, trust, faith, hope. Our joy must be in the good for the gospel – not the good for ourselves.

“We have left everything to follow you!”

If this is what you mean when you sing this lyric, that the “good” you receive is the replacement in this present age and the age to come with God’s version of the stuff and relationships you have sacrificed for Christ, then good for you. If you understand that “my good” to be the potter shaping the pottery to manifest sacrifice, suffering, testimony, faith, hope,… then joyfully sing the lyric.

But if what you mean by “my good” is that God will provide you with stuff you want, health you desire, friendships you crave, recognition you believe you deserve, income, fame, fortune, the solution to all of your problems, then consider that Peter had it right (“We have left everything to follow you”) and you may still have something to learn about this Christian life. The promise of “good” is always dictated by Jesus’ definition of the word and His will in the circumstance.

Oswald Chambers says this:

“Our Lord replies to this statement of Peter by saying that this surrender is “for My sake and the gospels” (Mark 10:29). It was not for the purpose of what the disciples themselves would get out of it. Beware of surrender that is motivated by personal benefits that may result.”

Chambers also says, “We have become so self-centered that we go to God only for something from Him, and not for God Himself. It is like saying, “No, Lord, I don’t want you; I want myself. But I do want You to clean me and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I want to be on display in Your showcase so I can say, ‘This is what God had done for…” (wait for it) “… me.”

That’s right. It’s a better worship song when we realize that the good God does is so much bigger than “for me”; is not all about me; is when I am not my primary concern. But so far beyond the song, it is a better life of worship when it is not about me.

The gospel of Christ is made impotent by believers whose primary concern is self.

Which sounds closer to the Biblical message?
• You make all things work together for my good
• You make all things work together for (Your) good

Pick one to be the expectation of your life with Christ. Surrender to Him with that expectation, and see what good comes from a life surrendered like that!

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One Response to We have left everything to follow you!

  1. Pingback: This is Not About the Lyric | ministrymapping

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