What interferes

Spurred by Bruce's message Sunday from 2 Corinthians 2, I kept envisioning Jesus' triumphant procession, like that of a Roman victor's march. Before taking Communion, I pondered the personal application question, "What interferes with my view of Jesus Christ at the victor's procession?" 

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:14-17

(If you missed this message, you can watch or listen here.) 

I thought of five common obstacles in my view of Jesus. Maybe you relate to one of them.

1. Myself. Too often, I am focused on what I want, when I want it, how I want it. I exalt myself above Jesus. It's not "Thy will be done"(Matthew 6:10) but my will be done.

2. Comparison. I look at what the neighbors are doing, how my friends are dressing or how my co-workers are balancing life instead of focusing on Christ's direction for my today. But we urge you...to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs...1 Thessalonians 4:11

3. Pleasing. It is impossible to make everyone else happy all the time. What is possible is choosing to please an audience of One, Jesus.  Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

4. Busyness. If I don't have time to daily commune with Jesus, how will I ever see Him?  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

5. Fear. Fear and anxiety are blinders. They inhibit us from focusing on Jesus, who promises to take our burdens and give us peace. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3

The apostle Paul had credentials. He could have claimed he had it all together, a very impressive resume indeed. But Paul said, that's all peanuts! And these good things in my life that obstruct my view of Jesus: the fancy degree, the brand new car, the large house in the perfect school district, two-point-five well-behaved children with promise of college scholarships, the perfect yearly vacation...WORTHLESS! 

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith. Philippians 3:7-9

What counts, what matters, what is of value is focusing on Christ in His triumphant procession. Will you choose to confess and repent of any obstacles in your life and focus on Jesus this week?

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9