Thursday, December 20, 2012

How Are We Any Different?

If we are so different why are we the same? I keep calling out to Christians that we are different than those without Jesus. We have been made new; a new creation. The Word tells us that we are not to live by the patterns of this world because we no longer belong to it. So if this is true, and I believe with all my being it is, why are we so similar to everyone else? We say the words but we are still living on the surface of the fullness of God instead of plunging into the depth of this new creation.

How much of scripture do we have to read before it starts sinking in? In truth, we can read it all of our days and still never allow it to affect us because we have to allow the Holy Spirit the freedom to do something with it in us. Scripture after scripture tell how we are transformed and now have a different mind and heart, a different perspective, a different way of responding to our environment. We have a greater purpose than survival in this place.

Our purpose is to proclaim Jesus and live by his character. Our purpose is to allow him to glorify himself in us that he would be revealed to the world through us. He is the Light in the darkness and we carry that light but we do not carry him in our strength but by the power of God in us. We are totally different from what we were and have been called to a greater purpose and are being shaped and moulded into that purpose.

It is vital that we understand that we, in our old character, are not able to live the life we are called to. We do not have the resources or strength to get it done. Left up to us, we would rather stay in bed. Left up to us, we would rather leave everyone alone and make our own way in the world. Left up to us, we would live and let live. Left to our own, we would fit into this world. But we are not left to our own. This is what we have to understand:

To this end I labor,struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. (Colossians 1:29)

These are the words of Apostle Paul, the great champion of the Church. This is the man who brought the gospel of grace to the Gentile world, who spent his life with a people who were not his people, understanding that in the new order God had brought through Jesus, he had a new people. Paul did not have the strength or ability to do this. What he did was impossible for one man to do, to endure. But he tells us here that he did not do it in himself, but he struggled with all of Jesus' energy in him.

This is my concern, that we are building too much in our own ability and wisdom, that we are building a shallow church that is void of any of God's power and glory. We are not unintelligent. We are very resourceful. We can do a lot that looks great according to the pattern of this world, but what does it look like from God's perspective? God does not glorify himself by what we do for him but by what he does through us. If we do not understand the difference we have yet to plunge into the depth of his fullness.

Do not be satisfied by what you can do for Jesus. Do not be satisfied with your sand castles, as wonderful and clever as they may seem. Don't build your life on the principles of this world, whitewashed by the vocabulary of the Bible. Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are glorifying God while fulfilling your own desires. Abandon it all. Give it all up. Surrender the whole thing and tell Jesus you want what he wants. Then, let the Holy Spirit lead, trusting he will do the impossible through you while you press on with all his energy. Let's show this world just how different we are in Jesus.

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