Saturday, July 5, 2014

Walking With Jesus

"For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps..." ~1 Peter 2:21

As we walk and talk with Jesus, the master teacher, He brings us closer to His heart and His ways. His ways are opposite of ours, and our man made wisdom is proven to be foolishness. The ideas of "self fulfillment" and "seeking the self" that the world surrounds us with are proven to be lies. There was no idol of "self" in Jesus. He came to teach us that worshiping ourselves---only serving our own purposes and feelings throughout a lifetime would be to our shame. He tells us we should serve others and die to our selfish desires so that we will find Him. Of course, when the world heard the message that self should not be worshiped, He was slain. "So the Pharisees said to one another, “This isn’t getting us anywhere. Look how the whole world is following him!” John 12:19

"But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty..." 1 Corinthians 1:27

The ideas of elevating ones own self and mapping out life's plan according to one's own desires, to seek money, pleasure, fame and fortune, being strong to "get what we want" run deep in the human heart and in society. Jesus enters the picture, He enters our hearts---and He flips these ideas upside down, He slays them and gently points out that to worship and serve ourselves will lead to our death. We don't like this idea, because to change this idea will mean that the self we thought we were has to be changed. The old self must die, and we must become a new creation with Jesus. Old ideas must be removed, the heart needs a transplant. To worship Jesus and die to ourselves is to choose the weak things in the eyes of the world and shame the things which are viewed as mighty.

“I did not speak on my own. The Father who sent me commanded me what to say. He also told me how to say it.  I know that his command leads to eternal life. So everything I say is just what the Father has told me to say.” John 12:49-50

The idol of "self" causes many to worship other god's. The seeking of pleasure, money, vanity and "following your dreams" becomes as a giant road block and idol we come to worship. To walk on these paths serves no one but ourselves. So many are following self fulfillment yet they are not fulfilled. Emptier than ever they continue on the same path, seeking the next thing and then the next, hoping it fulfills. On this path there is no room for Jesus to be truly worshiped and served. But when we are following Jesus and these things are laid down at His scarred feet, as He takes us by the hand and hold ours---teaches us, we begin to see that the self we served needs to be slain, and the new self and identity in Jesus comes to serve Jesus. We are then a new creation, growing and seeking after the heart of Jesus.

 "What I’m about to tell you is true. Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only one seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
 “Anyone who loves his life will lose it. But anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it and have eternal life.  Anyone who serves me must follow me. And where I am, my servant will also be. My Father will honor the one who serves me." John 12:24-26 

 Following in Jesus' steps, being crucified with Him and becoming new is the foundation of character formation. For men and women following after Jesus, He is our character study. We must be careful whose footsteps we walk in, and what messages we listen to and believe in today's contemporary Christianity. The messages of self and self fulfillment will be preached, but we must look to the One who died so that we may live for the true, life giving message. Many books and studies have been written to help others seeking life find what they are looking for but the answers are only found in Jesus' death on the cross. Many search a lifetime to find their calling. Jesus by His grace makes it easily known. To follow in His footsteps and be taught by Him is our calling, He will guide our steps and not let us stumble. With Him and abiding with Him we will find our life.

There is no true maturity without following in Jesus' steps. He teaches us how to lay down selfishness, put to death false ideas and god's to follow after Him, offering ourselves to Him as His students. To grow into the self Jesus wants us to be requires that we seek after Him with the same zeal that we have sought after other things in our life. Have we shoved Jesus aside for tv, games, entertainment and pursuit of wealth and vanity? Now these things must be set aside, to pursue Jesus with our whole heart.

The true path to life, fullness, joy and character in ourselves is walking the path with Jesus. His death on the cross was not for vanity. It was for salvation, it was an example of how life is to be lived. Live for others, lay yourself at my cross, be crucified with me and you will find life.

"And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked." 1 John 2:3-6

Prayer: "Lord, give me eyes to see and ears to hear your voice telling me the way I should go. Open my eyes and heart to walk your path and give me a new heart. Crucify my old selfish ways with you and show me your new and life giving ways that lead to maturity Lord. Give me discernment to know how to follow only you and your path, and wisdom to know when your truth is being distorted. Show me how to walk the same way you walked and walk beside me. Amen."

"My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galations 2:20

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