To Live as Christ

How am I to live? (This is a question I have often asked myself.)Live-as-Christ_DSC0252

We can sum it up in one sentence…

I am to live as Jesus lived.

So the more important question is how did Jesus live here on earth?

Jesus by His birth, life, and death represented the very definition of humility.

He lived in such a way that no one felt intimidated by Him. Friend or foe approached Him freely. He lived in a way that He had no reputation; if you would have passed Him on the street you probably wouldn’t have recognized Him unless someone pointed Him out to you.

Jesus being fully God and also fully human faced every temptation that we face today. Being fully God He was perfect and did not sin. Jesus as human let Himself be touched by people and He reached out to them too. The children, the lepers, and many others felt the warmth of His hands.

Nothing Jesus did on earth was for His personal gain or selfish ambition. He had many opportunities to use people for His advantage. The crowd that followed Him were ready to make Him king. Jesus could have influenced the rich and intelligent that came to Him in a way that would have pleased them so that they would have willingly helped Him succeed. That is not why He came to earth, He came to redeem mankind.

Jesus was obedient to His father in everything, even in death. He prayed “not my will but Thine be done.” He did only what He saw the Father do.

Now Jesus commands all those who believe in Him to live as He Lived. We must be willing to live in complete humility. As a pilgrim, walking through this life; not working towards fame and fortune. We must be willing to sacrifice our very lives for the sake of the gospel — to take our eyes off of ourselves and focus on the needs of others.

Just as no one was intimidated by Jesus so we should not live in a way that would hinder others from approaching us. Jesus lived a completely transparent life, not hiding any emotions from His followers. We are also called to live in complete transparency, so that the sinner looking on can see Jesus working in us and give glory to the Father. Most of all we are called to love as Jesus loved. The world will know if we are true disciples of Jesus by the love we have for one another.

Looking at life through Jesus’ life style I realize how wrongly my view on life has been. I see now to truly live is, to live as Christ.

—School of Discipleship student

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The Glories in Suffering!

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“For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for his sake.” Philippians 1:29

What a blessing to have studied the book of Philippians and “The Calvary Road” in class the past couple weeks. I certainly feel like I have a greater understanding of suffering and the glories thereof. Time and time again the Holy Spirit has brought me to a place of sweet brokenness, as I am reminded of my Lord Jesus Christ hanging on a cross for me. It remains a mystery to me that God would go about bringing redemption to the world, through the ultimate sacrifice, our Lord Jesus Christ. Seeing as though I will never figure out God or His ways with my mortal mind, I am coming to a place of acceptance and faith realizing that in suffering is a hidden fellowship with God that will not be experienced in any other manner. O WHAT GLORY! WORTHY IS THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN!

—School of Discipleship student

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A Careless Reputation

A-Careless-Reputation-DSC_0171 Near the beginning of my year at School of Discipleship we went through the book “The Jesus Style” by Gayle Erwin. In this book he talked about the characteristics of Jesus, and one is that he was a man of no reputation. It stood out to me at the time, but since then we have gone through many others books and I had forgotten about it, until just recently.

In one of our classes the teacher challenged us to search our hearts to find out what is coming in between us and God. After meditating on this, I realized that though it may sometimes come in different forms, what really hinders my walk with God is my trying to protect my reputation. It causes me to fear obeying God and losing friends. But Jesus had no reputation.

In a way everyone has a reputation, but for Jesus it had no meaning because his reputation was simply who he was. He wasn’t ever trying to be someone he wasn’t, or show off to people; he had no worries of who was, or who wasn’t his friend; he had one mission and that is what his whole life was focused on.

For me it comes back to the thing I struggle with the most: Being real with people and not hiding who I really am. This was one thing I saw in myself a few months ago and it really hit me hard. I thought I had made changes and at least overcome this some what. Now I see that though I may have taken one step, there are still hundreds more to go. I can’t do it, I will only fail. Yet I am amazed with the grace of God, he stands by my side still loving me and telling me his grace is sufficient for me.

And I believe that “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”

1 Thess. 5:24.

—School of Discipleship student

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Sap and Surrender

 

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As my class and I read through How to Pray by R.A. Torrey I ask myself, how do I know if I am abiding in Christ and staying connected to the vine? If I am in Christ and the connected to the sap (the Holy Spirit), I will bear fruit accordingly.

Therefore, to abide in Christ means that I need to be surrendered to God. By surrendered I mean as the Lord shows me areas in my life that I need to give up, that I do. It will be a continuous process of surrendering to the Lord for the rest of my life.

Yes, this is going to take a lot of time. I wish I hadn’t prayed for patience all those years ago. The Lord is finally answering my prayers. If that is the way that it needs to be, then the Lord will give me grace and strength to persevere.

Now the real question is, how will I practically apply or act upon what the Lord showed me?

With the Lord’s help, I will surrender those things in my life that the Lord shows me and to seek to abide in Christ. I may have to surrender on a continual basis, maybe even moment by moment.  Lord, I am going to need your help even more than before. I know You are faithful though, so I’ll make it. No problem.

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Losing Faith and Hope

As Christians and students of the faith we are about the business of gaining insight into God’s character.  It always amazes me how much more we can learn about His character as we move further along in our journeys.

Ever since God made me aware of my call to missions, I have been one track minded seeking out opportunities to go overseas and  joining different missions organizations.  I remember abiding in His strength only and being sold out to Him. I look back on that season with longing often as at that time I was completely sold out to Him.

For past few years I have been task oriented when it comes to my walk with the Lord and obeying His commands. If He tells me to do this or that, I will go do those things but in my own strength. What I didn’t realize is that I stopped abiding in his strength. After a while I became spiritually lazy and would be in self-indulgent. Of course, I would do whatever God told me to, which at the time I thought consisted of the notion of going to another country and dying for him. I began to rely on my walk in the past and therefore became lazy. Since I read the Bible and had learned so many lessons from it, I had the notion I didn’t need to read the Bible anymore. Even though I had no desire to read my Bible I would have gone and died for him.

Recently, my School of Discipleship class went through a book called Calvary Road. When I was reading through it I caught myself thinking that I knew these things, but then God convicted me the next several days saying, “There are so many things you think you know! You lost faith in the blood of the lamb, you lost hope in eternity.” I didn’t realize that I slowly but surely let the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches cloud my judgment. I had become a hearer of the word deceiving myself.

I was reading in the Word and read through Romans 3:25 “whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” The Spirit led me to carefully analyze and consider these things. What is faith? Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction in the things not seen. What is conviction? Conviction is belief. Somewhere along the way I stopped believing. I was running on fumes. But the Lord is faithful and assured me that He is with me always. I am thankful that my logic and judgment does not dictate the truth, such as whether or not there is a God and His Son is Jesus. He has helped me realize that I need to become a Christian who lives by faith and not by experience,  feelings or emotions. He has shown me that reading his word refines my faith in Him. I love His faithfulness.

“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

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Who Wants Some Amazing Grace With a Side of Fries?

The School of Discipleship class here in Canada just recently finished reading Charles Swindoll’s, The Grace Awakening. One point Swindoll made had to do with the significance of giving others the freedom to be who they are.

The way I was best able to apply and more fully understand his point was by imagining what it will be like if I have kids someday. I hope I would be a parent who imparts wisdom and disciplines my children when necessary, but also one who gives them the freedom to be who they are, as well as the room to make mistakes.

I think that this practice of letting others be can be applied not only to parent-child relationships, but to friendships and marriages as well. While there may be times for speaking words of caution and correction to our loved ones, I believe there will also be times when the best thing we can do is to just let them be.

 

 

 

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