Saturday, February 16, 2019

If We Like Him, We Should Be Like Him!

Jesus tells us that we need to receive power from the Holy Spirit to become his witnesses (Acts 1:8). That word receive means "to lay hold of." We must purpose to "take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of [us]...," and " on toward the goal..." (Phil 12:8-14 NIV).

While attaining to the resurrection of the dead is a future promise, it is also a present reality for Jesus said, "I AM the resurrection and the life." We must walk in that resurrection power now, just as Paul prayed for the Ephesians:

"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ...may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know...his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead..." (Eph 1:17-23 NIV).

Paul understood that his audience didn’t fully perceive that they had been given the very same power that raised Christ from the dead. How could anyone fully comprehend that all at once? Regardless, this is a truth that we must lay hold of so that we might have a better relationship with the Father, through the Son, and by the Holy Spirit. His power is the key to understanding the love and compassion of God.

We have often felt unworthy to walk in that power because we've felt that we come up short and lack the love of Christ. We haven’t understood that we must walk in the midst of his power so that we might be transformed. We’ve had it backwards! Subconsciously, we thought, "Get right and God can use you." Instead Scripture tells us things like, “For when I am weak, then I am strong,” and “My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Co 2:11, 12:9 NIV). Our weakness is the conduit by which his power flows and that power, according to Paul, is for us who believe.

It is in that spirit that Jesus said, "These signs will follow those who believe." He wasn’t speaking to an elite group but simply those who believe, and then lay hold of what he promised. If we like him, we must be like him!

We become like him by believing (agreeing with) what he has said. Do we want to know Christ? Then we must walk as he did and BE Jesus in the world. We are to do the works of Christ, and greater (Jn 14:12). As we do them, we take another step closer to knowing him better. After all, how can one know a man unless he walk in that man's shoes? That has been the goal all along. We walk by faith, not by what we see concerning our unworthiness. Faith says that in my weakness, I lay hold of the truth that God has made me worthy to accomplish (Eph 2:10). We know him BY walking in faith and we know him by walking as he did. Humility is not displayed by how low we denigrate ourselves, but in how highly we esteem what he has said about himself and what he’s said about us. If he says we are, “More than conquerors,” “The light of the world,” “The salt of the earth,” and other lofty things, who are we to disagree?
"This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus" (1 Jn 4:17 NIV).
"Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did" (1 Jn 2:6 NIV).
If we like him, we must be like him! We must lay hold of what he laid hold of for us.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Think Different!


When Steve Jobs returned to Apple Computer back in the late 1990s, Apple launched an ad campaign using pictures of iconic achievers who went against the grain, like Pablo Picasso, Albert Einstein, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Over their heads were posted the words, "Think Different!" It was an effective and inspired campaign. Like Steve Jobs, God wants us to think different. 

The words, holy, saint, and sanctification, are all forms of the same Greek word, hรกgios, which is normally defined as being “set apart.” Recently, however, I heard someone define holiness as being "different, or of a different nature. It is that quality which sets something or someone apart:

hรกgios – properly, different (unlike), other ("otherness"), holy; for the believer, 40 (hรกgios) means "likeness of nature with the Lord" because "different from the world.” (HELPS Word-Studies)

๐—›๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—š๐—ผ๐—ฑ ๐——๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜?

God’s ways are more than just a better version of what we can conceive, or merely an amalgamation of the best of human qualities. He is different! That’s why Scripture uses words like wonderful, majestic, glorious, awesome, etc., to attempt to describe him. He is full of wonder, majesty, glory, awe, etc. That’s very different!

The thing about different is that it’s…well, different. You can’t conceive of different until you experience different. With God, he is not only different, he is multi-faceted. That means there are many different aspects to God that we can come to know. We know all that is different about him through faith.

๐—™๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ต ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐——๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜

Faith has to do with believing that God’s invisible qualities and blessings become visible to those who believe. This is different from the way we naturally think, and it distinguishes faith from wishful or positive thinking. Faith comes from hope, and hope is built through our experience in our knowledge of God and his faithfulness, based upon Scripture. If our natures are no different than that of those around us, it’s likely we haven’t been seeking and experiencing just how different God is.

๐—˜๐˜…๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐——๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜

Jesus was different. Those who met him noticed he was different.
”No one ever spoke the way this man does…” (John 7:46 NIV)
“…the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” (Matthew 7:28-29 NIV)
“Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” (John 9:32-33 NIV)
Do people ever say these things about us? Are we that different? Different is scary. Different is uncomfortable. By human nature, we don’t seek out or readily accept what is different. But, we’re encouraged in Scripture to seek his kingdom - a kingdom so different, it is not of this world.

๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ธ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐——๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜

When we talk about seeking what is different about God, we’re not talking about some vague, supernatural, or esoteric world. To seek God is to seek him through the Scriptures and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Although we’ve been born into a different kingdom, there are parts of us which haven’t been transformed and been made different. These “unspiritual” parts will not accept, nor will they seek out God’s nature on their own; in fact, they’ll avoid what is different altogether:
“A person who isn't spiritual doesn't accept the things of God's Spirit, for they are nonsense to him. He can't understand them because they are spiritually evaluated.” (1 Co 2:14 ISV)
It takes risk and trust to move forward in the kingdom of God. Like Abraham, we have to trust that God is leading us somewhere. We can’t stay in the same place, we must get on board.

๐—ง๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฎ ๐——๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜ ๐—ง๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป

We need different now more than we’ve ever needed it before. If insanity is doing the same thing over an over, but expecting a different result, by doing so, we’re seeking the rewards of being different without becoming different. It’s like burying our talents in the ground and expecting a return. It’s like carrying a lamp, but leaving the oil behind. Different is a moving train. Taking the same old train, or camping out at the train station will not move us forward. We don’t want to miss that train’s visitation.

As previously stated, we don’t know different until we’ve experienced it. Therefore, we don’t know what to ask for in prayer so that we can move towards different. To keep it simple, we might merely ask the Lord to show us something different and to give us a path forward to reach it. As Watchman Nee said -
“Our prayers lay the track down which God’s power can come. Like a mighty locomotive, his power is irresistible, but it cannot reach us without rails.” ~ Watchman Nee