Section Three: The Lifestyle Characteristics of a Godly Life.
Our current theme: Characteristic Three: Trusting God’s Provision.
Our reading for today: Luke 12: 22-32 (MsgB)
He (Jesus) continued this subject with His disciples. “Don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your inner life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more. Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can’t even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don’t fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you think He’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do His best for you? What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way He works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how He works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very Kingdom itself.
Let’s face it, friends.
Our westernized culture has little, if any, appreciation for plain and simple.
When it comes to evaluating the perceived value of most manufactured products across North America, last year’s model is, well…just that. A 2016 automobile with all the trimmings just can’t compete with the brand new 2017 model. The iPhone 10 will only have public appeal until such time Apple announces their planned release date for the iPhone 11. And certainly, no one in their right mind would be caught dead purchasing a television that isn’t high-def and has a screen smaller than 52 inches!
And so it goes.
So when Jesus speaks to His friends 2,000 years ago about not getting caught up in what we’re serving for dinner or what we’re going to wear on our next outing, it’s kinda hard to imagine what the Master might have to say to us today about The Food Channel or the latest line of breath-taking designs from Calvin Klein or Giorgio Armani.
Yet, I wonder if there just might be a small segment of the population today which is ready to listen and respond to these very important words of Jesus? You see, from time to time, throughout the history of the Church, there have been a handful of wise men and women who choose to step out of the perceived correctness of their society and walk on roads less traveled.
Who knows…maybe you are one such as this?
But here’s the rub.
It’s one thing to have the guts to step out of the contemporary madness of our present-day society, unplugging ourselves from the commercial craziness of the world; and yet quite another to pursue the Kingdom-led lifestyle Jesus is speaking of here to His 1st century followers.
Seeking first, and foremost, the Kingdom of God, or as Eugene Peterson translates it here in The Message Bible, “steep(ing) yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, (and) God-provisions,” is not an easy task by any means. As a matter of fact, if pursuing the rule and reign of God’s Kingdom in our lives were an easy thing to do, I’m guessing there would be a lot more people in the Church who would be doing just that!
But just as it was in Jesus’ day, so it is today. It’s not a popular thing to pull away from much of the glorified trappings of our modern-day world. In fact, to be a full-fledged follower of Christ has always meant that the candidate be willing to become counter-culture, with an edge of peculiarity steeped into their life.
Now, please note that I didn’t say odd…but peculiar!
As I see it, a man or woman who is “peculiar” for the cause of Christ’s Kingdom is one who lives a quiet, peaceful life that causes average folks to scratch their head; but not to the degree that they are not wanting to be around them! John Wimber, my mentor, called this kind of lifestyle being “naturally supernatural.”
So what about you?
What might it look like for you to steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, and God-provisions versus living the typical Americanized lifestyle where owning the newest Apple product, wearing the latest fashions, and being up to date on the latest movie craze are badges of honor?
My sense is that God is inviting a few folks like you and me to step out of the traffic and see what the Holy Spirit might do in this generation for the cause of Christ.
Anybody wanna play?
My prayer: Jesus, Your words spoken so many centuries ago still ring true today. But like Your friends in the first century, I too, find myself clinging to my cultural environment versus allowing myself to let go and let God be all He can be in my life. I choose this day, by the empowering work of the Holy Spirit, to release my unhealthy desires for the things in this world that keep me pre-occupied, so that I might be filled more and more with Your Kingdom power. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So what aspects of modern society are steeping an ugly and tasteless brew in my life? What might it look like to remove those tea-bags and replace them with the clean, wholesome taste of God-reality, God-initiative, and God-provisions?
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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