Tag Archives: KP as the Metropolitan

KP Yohannan: Choosing Not to Return

Choosing Not to Return - KP Yohannan - Gospel for AsiaAfter we are saved and begin our relationship with God, we learn that our journey with Him has just started. We discover that even everyday, ordinary components of life-relationships, emotional security, accomplishments, our profession or position, financial stability or even our cultural or national heritage—can hinder us from fully giving our lives for His purposes and growing closer to Him. One by one, God calls us to walk away from them.

Abraham, Moses and Joseph—all those in the “cloud of witnesses” who have gone before us—were also called to walk away from “normal” lives. Let us see how they responded:

“All these people . . . admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:13-16, NIV).

The “opportunity to return”—what a significant statement this is!

It is a challenge to follow His call to walk away from these things—but it is an even greater challenge to realize we always have the chance to turn around, to go back to a life that is more comfortable, perhaps, yet unsurrendered.

Our enemy, the devil, knows this, and he works hard to persuade us to do so. Let us look at four things he uses to try to make us return:

Material things

Demas, one of Paul’s co-workers, had this problem. This man traveled so many miles with Paul and shared hardships with him; he could have become another Timothy, but Paul says of him, “Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world” (2 Timothy 4:10). We will always face financial struggles and difficulties of some sort, have friends who are better off than we are, and feel the need to do something to improve our lives and take better care of our families. The devil will use this. It’s a strong pull, but we must make a decision: Life or death, we will not return.

The fear of the unknown

The children of Israel suffered under terrible slavery in Egypt. Yet after God led them out and did mighty acts on their behalf, they longed to return, remembering the leeks and the garlic. What happened? They were afraid of what would happen to them in an unfamiliar land filled with giants. We, too, face unknowns; what we must remember is that God is bigger than the giants, our problems and our fears.

Losing our focus and vision

Paul’s earthly journey was marked with one focus: a passion to see people come to Christ. He kept this focus right up until the end of his life and was able to say with confidence, “I have finished the race” (2 Timothy 4:7). You and I can only continue in this journey as long as we keep sight of the vision before us. Let us not allow the devil to use the day-to-day discouragements to take our eyes off our purpose. The passage in Hebrews promises us that God has prepared a heavenly city for those who follow Him in faith. But what good is a city that has no people in it? Our goal is to populate that city, to bring a world of souls with us into eternity.

Spiritual deception

So many Christians lose sight of God’s call when they become ensnared in self-focus and introspection—all in the name of godliness, deeper life and devotion. But only one theme runs through the entire Bible: Christ, the Savior of the world. The Old Testament promises the coming of the Redeemer; the New Testament narrates Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection to save the lost and gives instruction to believers on living and demonstrating Christ’s life to the world. It is a fact-knowing Christ and walking intimately with Him will produce a love and passion for the lost world. If our so-called “deeper life” doesn’t have this result, it is a counterfeit.

So as we face the pull of this world and the pressure from the devil to walk away from God’s call, let us remember that we are on earth for only a short time. We are strangers and aliens to this world; we only have a visa for this life, but our passport is from another country.

The men and women of Hebrews chose not to return to their earthly country because they recognized that God’s work went beyond time and space. Their true country was a heavenly one. May the Lord find us, too, focused on what is real and authentic—beyond circumstances, what we feel, what others say or what the enemy throws at us.

And if He were to write another chapter like Hebrews 11, may He find your name and mine as examples there for others to follow.

Dr. KP Yohannan
Founder & President of Gospel for Asia

Article published in Gospel for Asia’s Send! Magazine

KP Yohannan: Righteousness Is a Gift – Godliness Is Not

Righteousness Is a Gift - Godliness Is Not - KP Yohannan - Gospel for AsiaWhen a famous scientist, artist or celebrity is interviewed on television, the host will ask about his or her amazing talents and most outstanding achievements.

If Christ were on such a show, I believe He would simply answer: “The most significant thing in my life? I am broken, a nobody and a worm” (see Psalm 22:6).

“Come, follow Me and become like Me,” He would add, “and this is the way you get there: ‘Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart’ ” (Matthew 11:29).

Learning from Jesus how to be broken and lowly is authentic New Testament Christianity. It is so alien to our modern version that conditions us to become strong, independent and able to articulate theology.

Both God’s work and ours

Next to the Bible, there are a handful of books that have changed my life, and Roy Hession’s book The Calvary Road is one of them. Listen to what he says about brokenness:

“The Lord Jesus cannot live in us fully and reveal Himself through us until the proud self within us is broken. This simply means that the hard unyielding self, which justifies itself, wants its own way, stands up for its rights, and seeks its own glory, at last bows to God’s will, admits its wrong, gives up its own way to Jesus, surrenders its rights and discards its own glory—that the Lord Jesus might have all and be all. In other words, it is dying to self and self-attitudes. . . .

“Being broken is both God’s work and ours. He brings His pressure to bear, but we have to make the choice.”

People are mistaken if they think they can become instantly holy and godly by praying for it. You see, righteousness is a gift, but godliness is not. Godliness can only be gained through dying to self and obedience to Jesus, learning from Him how to walk in humility. That’s the reason He stands at the door and knocks, continuing to speak to us through His Word and many other ways. But because the only door to godliness is brokenness and yielding, He must wait until we choose the way of the cross.

We see Him

Usually the last thing we want to do is to give up our cherished self. What then will motivate us to desire to be broken? It’s when we behold the willingness of Jesus to choose the cross for our sake.

We see Him “who, being in the form of God . . . made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:6–8 ).

“We see Him willing to have no rights of His own,” says Hession, “willing to let men revile Him and not revile again, willing to let men tread on Him and not retaliate or defend Himself. Above all, we see Him broken as He meekly goes to Calvary to become men’s scapegoat by bearing their sins in His own body on the Tree.”

It didn’t come easy for Jesus, who knew no sin, to humble Himself to the point of being completely cut off from God there at the cross. The very thought caused Him such agony that His sweat became like drops of blood. In anguish He asked His Father if there was any other way for us to be saved than for Him to drink this cup of suffering—but then He responded, “Not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).

No other way than surrender

Likewise, there is no other way to godliness than through brokenness and dying to our self. We, too, must come to a place where we surrender our self-love and self-preservation and say to the Lord, “I am ready to take Your yoke upon me and learn from You how to die to myself, to pick up my cross and follow You.”

Many believers mentally understand the importance of brokenness, and they recognize that it is the only door to the life of godliness they desire. However, in their hearts they cannot find the motivation or willingness to embrace death to self.

If you find yourself in this place, I encourage you to spend time reading and meditating on the passages of Scripture that describe what it took Jesus to become the sacrifice for your sin. Then, ask God to open the eyes of your heart to truly see Him as if you were there, watching Him suffer and die for you. This internal vision will help create the desire in you to follow Him on this path of brokenness that leads to godliness.

Dr. K.P. Yohannan
Founder & President of Gospel for Asia

Article published in SEND! Magazine