I am excited to continue this discussion on what a life with Jesus should look like. Like I have said, this is not an exhaustive study, but I think it will start us on a good road. With that thought I would like to take a side note in this introduction. I guess the question on my mind is: Is this the kind of life that we want to live? I was talking to someone the other day and through the conversation this question came up, “Do you really want Jesus to be number one in your life?” That is what we need to ask ourselves! I think many people want all the benefits of Jesus and His way of life but not the work and responsibility that comes with it. It is funny that even though all the benefits outweigh the work and the responsibilities, people still choose a life contrary to the way Jesus wants us to live. We want to pick and choose what we want in this relationship with Christ and what we like in the Bible. I want to challenge us to examine ourselves and ask ourselves, “Do I really want Jesus to be first in my life? Do I want Him to be my NUMBER ONE?”
Let’s continue looking at scripture about this life with Jesus.
“Some, to be sure, preach Christ out of envy and strife, but others out of good will. These do so out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the others proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely, seeking to cause me trouble in my imprisonment. What does it matter? Just that in every way, whether out of false motives or true, (1) Christ is proclaimed. (2) And in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice because I know this will lead to my deliverance through your prayers and help from the Spirit of Jesus Christ. (3) My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all boldness, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For me, living is Christ and dying is gain.“ (Philippians 1:15-21)
- Our life should proclaim Christ – Whether you want it to or not, living our life proclaims something. The way we respond to people and events in our life is going to proclaim something about what we believe or what we hold to be true. Are our lives proclaiming the things of Christ? When events happen in our life whether good or bad, can people see our love for Him or do they see the love of ourselves.
- Do we rejoice even in the negative – This is sometimes the hardest thing we have to do. I know that when a negative happens our first response in not to rejoice, I totally understand this. But the truth is that if we have chosen Christ we have promises like this, “In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. And He who searches the hearts knows the Spirit’s mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:26-28).” In the passage that we are studying Paul is speaking about a negative that is going on in his life. People are trying to attack him by using the Gospel of Christ. Paul is saying hey even thought this is happening I will rejoice because Christ will be heard about. Think about it, If we respond to a negative in our life the way Christ would is He not being proclaimed and will people not hear and see Christ through us? So, we should stop and rejoice because He took a negative and made something positive and beautiful out of it.
- Is our eager expectation and hope Christ working in me – I wonder if we really understand this? Do we have an eager expectation of Christ in our lives? Is our Hope based on Christ working through us? These are some pretty hard questions to answer and for many of us our gut response is to say, “Yes it is!” But if we are not proclaiming Christ with our life and we are not rejoicing in the negative then how can Christ be our expectation of deliverance or why should He will should up. Through all these things Christ is our hope; He is going to work through us in these situations because He promised to take this negative and make it positive and beautiful.
Just one thing:(1) live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. (2) Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith of the gospel, not being frightened in any way by your opponents. This is evidence of their destruction, but of your deliverance–and this is from God. (Philippians 1:27-28)
- A good question – “Are we living a life worthy the gospel (the good news) of Christ?” The good news is that we have redemption or restoration in relationship with God and others that ends in eternal life with Him in the age to come because of Christ’s death and resurrection even though we don’t deserve it (grace). To rephrase this question, are we living a life that reflects the sacrifice that He has made for us or are we living a life that treats His grace like something cheap and not worth anything?
- A life good character – The word character has been defined as, “How we live when no one is looking.” In other words, do we live like what we say we believe when no one is looking? It is so easy “to say” anything, but do we back it up with actions? I would say that the definition of character should start with intimacy. Let me try to explain. When we are by ourselves do we still live a life that reflects Christ? I believe that many “Christians” live a double life. We all love stories of spies and double agents but the said thing is that many of us are really living that kind of life and we are selling out to the enemy and we have no one to help us. We live in a society that tells us that we do not need intimate relationships in our lives and we are not doing very well. We need to let people know us so well that we can not live a double life because they could see it in our eye. They would be there to remind us that the Holy Spirit is ever present and that we are never really alone. They would stand up to us and with love tell us that we need to stop. It is my prayer that you allow people into your life this way and that you will see how God planned His people to be in intimate relationship with Him and others.
(1) For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to will and to act for His good purpose. Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world. (2) Hold firmly the message of life. Then I can boast in the day of Christ that I didn’t run in vain or labor for nothing. (Philippians 2:13-19)
- Are you shining like a star? – So, we need to ask ourselves are we allowing God to work in us? We see here that He has enabled us to will and to act for Him. Lets break this down a little. The Phrase “to will” is our thinking and desiring process. So, He has enabled us or is in the process of enabling us (He is working in us) to think how He thinks (others before us) and to change that thought into a desire. So now we desire what He desires: deep intimate relationship with us and that His children would have deep intimate relationships with each other. This is seen by the fact that when we are developing these relationships, we are not complaining and grumbling about it because we desire these things. Have you noticed that we we truly desire something we are willing to do anything to get it. Maybe our prayers then should start with, “God, I want your desires for me and for others”. When we are doing this we will stand out in this society like a shining star because this goes against everything that this world is teaching us.
- A life of satisfaction – So I believe that a life with Jesus is a satisfied life. Not that we should be ever satisfied with where we are with Christ. We should strive for deeper relationships in all areas of our lives. But that we are really content in the situations that we find ourselves. Maybe I should say it this way, We are living a life that allows Christ to be my source of satisfaction, not our things or job or anything else. It is Christ and Him alone that gives me purpose and satisfaction.
I am going to stop here for now. I think that there is a lot here to digest and to take in. I want you to really study these things out and dig deep in His word. I know many of you are thinking there is so much more in these passages of scripture. You are right but I am going to come back to some of these later in this blog study. I will show that some things in this life with Christ are hard and it takes guts and determination and the Holy Spirit to live it out. Living this life with Christ is not for the faint of heart, it is not for the weak kneed. It is a life of adventure, courage, and strength that can only come from Him. May this God take you deeper than you have ever been and may you see Him like never before!
In His Grip,