As we begin this next section in our blog series on 3-C Christian discipleship, it’s vitally important for us to understand that the writers of the New Testament had a serious problem on their hands.
You see, when Jesus came to planet earth, He brought with Him the in-breaking power and presence of God’s Kingdom. It’s that power and presence…the commanding, over-arching rule and reign of God in Heaven, that raised Jesus from the dead. And it’s that same power and presence that secures, for all of us, eternal life, opening the door for pitiful sinners like us to be welcomed back home into the hands of our Loving Creator/King. It’s that unique salvation experience and the spiritual reality of it all that we began to explore in Section One of our blog series.
Being A Believer
Being a Warrior
So when Jesus ascended into heaven, He told His friends to remain faithful to all He had said and done, encouraging them that He would, indeed, return soon, completing the work of salvation that had begun with His birth in Bethlehem, His death on the cross, and His resurrection from the dead just outside the walls of Jerusalem. Listening carefully to what Jesus said, most of His first century followers decided amongst themselves that this second coming Christ spoke about was immanent.
A careful reading of the Gospels and the Book of Acts seems to indicate that many of those living in the immediate wake of the resurrection event were convinced that they simply needed to hang onto their faith, remaining strong in Christ, with the full expectation that the Master would split the skies and return for them within their lifetime.
But here’s the rub…this second-coming event of Jesus didn’t happen like they thought it would! Jesus did promise to return, but apparently that wonderful life-giving event was not going to happen in the first few decades after Jesus’ ascension!
This left first-century church leaders (Peter, John, Paul, and others) with a big problem. So, as we look at the letters from the writers of the New Testament, we find them talking more and more about how the average, run-of-the-mill person like you or me can hold onto this faith in Christ, not just for a few days and weeks…but for an entire lifetime! Suddenly, the Christian life was no longer a short sprint to the finish line, but now, it had become a grueling, cross-country endurance race that must be run with great patience and perseverance.
Thus, we now enter into the gut-wrenching realities that to be a Christian, a dedicated follower of Jesus, you and I must learn to go beyond just the spiritual truths of our faith, and get down-n-dirty with our day-to-day physical existence here on planet earth. So now, I invite you to get real with me and let’s begin a dialogue about earthly things such as how we control our bodies, our tongues, and our actions for the greater glory of God. In this section, we’ll look at very practical matters like how we must learn to love and honor both ourselves and others in order to be the Christ-centered followers the Master wants us to be here in the twenty-first century.
So if you’re ready, let’s, together, pursue these four Personal Characteristics of a Godly Life:
Being Physically Pure
Being Love Motivated
Being Extremely Valued
My prayer: Jesus, admittedly, it would be much easier for me to be swept up into God’s heaven after praying the prayer of repentance. But in reality, You’ve called me to live this life in Christ here on planet earth, dwelling in the midst of a dark and hardened world, yet not becoming a part of it. Holy Spirit, indwell me and empower me to do just that. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Am I really ready to go deep inside my fleshly existence, allowing the power and presence of God’s Kingdom to address things inside me that must change in order for me to keep growing in the love of Christ? Am I willing to let go of familiar and fleshly habits that hold me back from being all I can be in Jesus?
So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?
Over a thirty-six week period, you and I will take a deeper look into twelve key characteristics of a godly life. In other words, we’ll take A Journey into Christian Discipleship. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Journey home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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