Thursday, October 4, 2012

What Are You?

There is no getting around it, Christians are different. We are not different because we set out to be that way but because the Jesus in us makes us different. We can't wake up in the morning and decide that we are going to be more loving today. If we try then it is simply us trying to do things the old way. Before we met Jesus we use to try to improve ourselves and it always ended in failure so why do we think we can still try to do it that way and get different results? No, Christians are different because of Jesus not because we have decided to improve ourselves.

We are different because having the Holy Spirit in us changes things. We are different because we are being transformed by our Father to be just like the first born, Jesus. Our part in it is to get out of the way and allow God to do it. Too often we fight against him in the transformation process, kicking and screaming and refusing to change. That causes quite the confusion in us, like a tug of war. But our God will not fight against us, so if we are determined to live by our old nature he will let us be. But then, we are neither different nor Christian. We may carry the title of Christian but we aren't the real thing.

The Word of God gives us certain signs that we should see in ourselves if we are truly a new creation, truly a follower of Jesus. Again, these are not things we produce in ourselves through self-improvement but things that are produced in us by the Holy Spirit. We find some of these signs in Ephesians 4:

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (v. 2)

Remember the list of the Fruit of the Spirit, meaning the things that are produced in us by the Spirit of God in us:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

The only way these things are produced in us is by spending more time with Jesus. The more time we spend with him the more of his character becomes ours. The more effort we put into that relationship, into surrendering, in keeping in step with the Spirit, the more we will see this character of Jesus in us.

If we are a person who is known for his anger, bitterness, depression, ambition, word breaking, roughness and such, we should know that there is something wrong. We can't claim to follow Jesus and then fail to be like Jesus. We can't conform to these things and expect to last very long. Christianity is not about conforming to rules and attitudes but is all about being transformed by the Spirit with the character of Jesus.

It is not something you learn; it is something you are.

So take stock of who or what you are today. Take note of the direction you are heading in. Consider what others are seeing in you. Ask yourself if your life is being lived to the maximum for God's glory or your own. You have been given the freedom in your choices so choose as you wish to choose. But please, don't claim to be something you are not. Either you are for Jesus, living a completely surrendered life for God's glory, or you are against Jesus, living in your rebellion and pursuing your own direction. You can't be both.

Look to the signs in your life. What are you?

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