Summary: Jesus must be our whole life.
It’s a beautiful summer afternoon some years ago at the Naval Air Test Center in Patuxent River, Maryland. The U.S. Navy’s newest jet fighter, the Grumman F-14 Tomcat with both afterburners blazing soars from the runway for a test flight. The first portion of the flight is a practice session for an upcoming Armed Forces day flight demonstration. The practice session is to be conducted over the Chesapeake Bay adjacent to and in full view from the air station.
The F-14 pilot begins his run-in over the bay on the designated heading parallel to the review stand located on the shoreline. A few miles out from the review stand he begins his descent to the desired minimum altitude of a few hundred feet. He double-checks that his flight path will keep him over the water and not endanger any of the spectators on the shoreline. Everything looks good so he lights both afterburners and continues his descent in preparation for a low altitude high-speed fly-by and a vertical climb in front of the review stand.
However at this precise moment something in the cockpit distracts the pilots focus and attention. As the crowd watches in horror, the F-14 never breaks it’s descent but continues and flies right into the water killing the pilot and destroying the jet in a huge plume of water. A momentary distraction of some sort resulted in the pilot breaking his concentration and resulted in him not seeing the water and certain death approaching.
Distractions and loss of focus in our spiritual life, which we may not even be aware of (like the F-14 pilot), can have profound implications for our lives as well. Scripture exhorts us to "fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith." (He 3:1) It is clear that God the Father intended His son Jesus to be the center of all things, with everything under His lordship.
"For Christ must reign until God has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death, for "he subjected everything under his feet." But when it says that everything has been subject, it is clear that he who has made everything subject to Christ is excluded. When everything is subjected to the Son, then the Son himself will (also) be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all." 1Cor 15:25-28
Jesus is to be the center of all our plans, programs, prayers, events, devotions, etc. He is to be not merely first in our lives. He is to be our life! He is not a footnote, an addendum; He is the whole story. Jesus is a jealous God and He wants to have nothing between us. He wants to love us directly with no one or thing between us. He wants to possess us fully.
God the Father expects us to have an undistracted, blazing passion and adoration for His son Jesus. Consider the fact that Our Father was pleased to crush Jesus for our sins, (Is 53:10). Pleased! That boggles the mind. So much He loves us; so much He did for us! Will He accept anything less than an undistracted passion and love for Jesus. We are called to a lifelong undistracted preoccupation and passion with and for Jesus.
God the Father’s passion has always been and always will be Jesus. God wants the glory of Jesus to shine through the whole universe. There is no other glory that the Father wants manifested in our lives. He wants His son Jesus revealed in all his beauty, magnificence, and authority. God has no other plan for the world than Jesus. He is all we have been given to offer mankind.
However sometimes Jesus seems to be obscured and hidden in our presentation of the gospel. He is the presumed subject of the sentence and not the heart of the story. Jesus is hidden there someplace, like a John 3:16 sign at a sporting event. Come join our church is the call we hear frequently. Like it’s a club. The people respond with the appropriate passion, for a club. And they leave, when they don’t like some club rule. Joining your life to the person and lordship of Christ Jesus seems to get lost in the message.
Jesus would give us serious heartburn today with His approach. He would be considered a lousy evangelist. He said all the wrong things. He was not warm and fuzzy. He seemed to make it hard, not easy to follow Him. "If any one desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me." How’s that for an invitation or altar call. Or try this one on for size, "Sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor ... and come follow Me." There would be fewer people joining our church with Jesus front and center as the heart of the message, but they would stick around longer. It’s all about Jesus!