We are in the middle of a series on LEADERSHIP.
The first week we covered the definitions of LEADER and BOSS.
The second week we covered practical examples of Old Testament Leaders.
The third week we covered background on why Jesus is the ultimate LEADER. We saw the Jesus leads by giving a reason and a value. Jesus appeals to our Long Term self-interest in a logical fashion. Jesus thinks and expects us to think.
Last week we covered Bible passages dealing with Jesus' examples of LEADERSHIP. Jesus is perfect. EVERYTHING He leads us to do results in maximum profitability. However, the choice to do it is our responsibility.
We wrap up this series this week by looking at how profitability is the reason behind the Bible passages concerning Jesus' LEADERSHIP that are hardest to understand.
In an earlier post, I stated that prayer is one of the hardest doctrines to resolve. It only takes a couple of questions to identify the contradictions in a person's worldview...Do our prayers control God? Do our prayers change God's mind? Why does God answer some prayers and not others? What is God's WILL? What is prayer?
Some of the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. (Luke 11:1-4) Of course, Jesus gave them the perfect prayer. It is known as the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus followed the template we discussed in the post on prayer AND He took each area to the extreme.
“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.”
The first part of the prayer identifies we are praying to God and recognizes His abilities and authority in order to build our faith. It also gives up the will of the praying person completely to God.
Notice, the third sentence in the prayer says that God's Will does NOT happen on earth as it does in Heaven. In fact, Jesus is telling us that WE are responsible for God's Will being done on earth as it is in Heaven, otherwise why are we stating this? Is Jesus wasting our time or telling us something that isn't a fact?
Looking at the opening of this prayer: Is there a more perfect way to handle the identification of God and recognition of His power? It seems Jesus has done everything but asked for a value and cited Justice.
“Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
The Justice reference is the second sentence in this portion when Jesus says we should tell God we forgive every one who is indebted to us. Jesus says to forgive everyone. Is there a way to get more value than forgiving everyone instantly? This requires us to have our emotions under control.
As for the part where we ask for a value, remember, this is the perfect prayer. The most profitable way to ask for a value in the Long Term would be to remember to receive all our value in a spiritual manner. Jesus forgoes getting any more value here than what is necessary. Jesus treats the physical as a hurdle by asking God for just enough value (daily bread) to help him through the day.
Remember, a "hurdle" is something that requires a specific minimum investment in order to achieve profitability AND does not continue to give the same return when more is invested. We need a minimum amount of food to keep existing so we can continue to be profitable. However, asking for more food than what is necessary would actually hurt our profitability.
The other value Jesus says we should request is a spiritual value. He says we should ask not to be led into temptation. This prayer is also focused on preventing unprofitability through temptation. Notice, Jesus tells us to ask God NOT to lead us into temptation. Does God lead us into temptation? Again, if it were NOT so, Jesus is wasting our time or stating something that is NOT a fact.
James 1:13-14 says:
"Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed."
At another time, we will look at how God "leading us into temptation" is different than God "tempting us". For now, we will focus on how this passage actually raises another interesting point: The Lord's Prayer is a CORPORATE (GROUP) prayer!
James is talking about individuals...let no MAN say when HE is tempted, I am tempted of God...
The Lord's Prayer does NOT say, "MY Father which art in Heaven...give ME today MY daily bread...forgive ME MY trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against ME...lead ME not into temptation...deliver ME from evil..."
This prayer applies to the CHURCH...to the BODY of Christ.
Recall in the post about THE ACTS CHURCH...each body has four areas: mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. Now look at this prayer for the BODY...
MENTAL: Thy Will be done
PHYSICAL: daily bread
EMOTIONAL: forgive us as we forgive others
SPIRITUAL: lead us not into temptation
This is a perfect prayer! You can’t create a prayer that is more profitable than this prayer. Jesus was focused on the spiritual. This prayer tells the BODY to keep the maximum amount of value in Heaven while using the minimum amount of value in a physical sense. In THE ACTS CHURCH post, we saw the ONLY way to "sustain and build" is to address ALL four areas (mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical). This prayer is perfect because it addresses ALL four areas in the most profitable fashion. Notice, this prayer is the opposite of people praying for cars, houses, money, etc.