/ Joel Hart

Ministry: Leading Others to Glory in Christ Jesus

Serving Jesus is about leading people to glory in Christ Jesus.

Ministry, life, parenting, etc. does not center on our personal and internal achievement goals. Nor does it center on our desires for external fame and praise, being found famous in the sight of others.

Serving Jesus is about leading people to glory in Christ Jesus.

My reflection comes from Philippians 1:25-26, in which Paul writes, “Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.”

Paul writes these words out of context of his personal musings on life and death. “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). Paul ponders whether he would die or live – death presents the presence of God forever, while life presents suffering! Life in prison doesn’t offer the riches of personal achievement. Life in prison does not offer the fame and splendor in the eyes of the world so many crave.

Paul is at the end of his rope, and death itself seems attractive. After all, what would be better than life with God?

All of us reach a time in life when we discover life – this suffering life – won’t itself provide the attainment levels we might desire. Paul was there, and his longing for heaven grew intense.

So why should Paul carry on? Because Paul is entrusted with leading others to glory in Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:26).

Leading others to glory in Christ Jesus is the ultimate expression of self-denial. It is the total surrender of any selfish pursuit of glory. Life becomes about another, the one who is truly glorious.

And leading others to glory in Christ Jesus is the ultimate initiator of genuine self-purpose. For Paul, the other-oriented mission got him off his mental deathbed. The man longing for death and eternity with God (good longings in a very real sense) suddenly has purpose again. He will get up and serve the Philippians so that they might glory in Christ Jesus.

What does this mean for us today? As we contemplate purpose, meaning, significance, and calling in a suffering world, we must make it our particular aim to lead others to glory in Christ Jesus.

All other motives fail. All other motives lead to a despair that ultimately lays hold and works death within us.

How do we do this?

1. We glory in Christ Jesus personally. Only those who have seen the glory can point others to it. Jesus is truly glorious, even when this suffering life is not. Contemplating the glory of Jesus Christ is the deepest form of soul-care.

2. We identify who we are called to lead to glory in Christ Jesus. For me, the leading parts of my list are best summarized in my Gentle Reformation bio: my wife, my 5 kids, and the wonderful congregation at Columbus, IN. Whatever is going on – even if I were in prison itself! (Phil. 1:21-24) – I would have a calling to lead them to glory in Christ Jesus. If you are in Christ, you have those around you that you may in some ways help to glory in Christ Jesus. That's purpose!

3. We focus on where we might lead people to the “progress and joy in the faith” (Phil. 1:25). Progress and joy in the faith will be the means to greater glorying in Christ Jesus. I pray with my wife, talk with my children, and minister among my congregation, and I discover that we all could make that greater progress and joy in glorying in Christ Jesus. Why? Because Jesus is truly glorious – more than any of us have comprehended. So what a journey we are on to continually discover more of the glory we can find in Him.

And if I can be an aid in even one more person this week finding Jesus more glorious, well, that’d be wonderful.

In some ways, this post says nothing profound. Glory in Christ Jesus is somewhat of Christianity 101. But when Paul contemplated life and death, Christianity 101 is what he needed. And it may be what you need today. Jesus is glorious, glory in Him, and go help others do the same.

Joel Hart

Joel Hart

Pastor at Columbus (IN) RP Church. Husband of Orlena. Father of 5 (David, Jenny, Elisha, Esther, Seth). Proclaiming the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

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