Romans 12;1-2 (NLT), “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”
Claiming our identity is key to the Christian life. Immediately after deciding to trust and follow Jesus we are given a new life, a new beginning, a new identity. We are adopted children of the King who are given the promise of His inheritance. And yet, sanctification (that process of becoming more like Jesus day by day) is progressive. It happens in bits and pieces over a lifetime. We have to continue to be new…in our thoughts and living out the identity Christ has given us as his children. WE are His family of servant missionaries.
When George Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, he famously answered, “Because it is there.” But in a personal letter to his wife, Ruth, he revealed even more about what drove him to climb the mountain. “Dearest, you must know that the spur to do my best is you and you again…I want more than anything to prove worthy of you.” Certainly George’s legacy proved worthy of history’s remembrance. But George’s son, John, wrote something about this too. Proud, but sad, John wrote, “I would so much rather have known my father than to have grown up in the shadow of a legend, a hero, as some people perceive him to be.”
The answer George gave concerning his motives have confronted my own. The mountain “was there,” but so was John, George’s son. The mountain brought a sense of joy and gave a sense of striving for the purpose of life too. Climbing the mountain enabled George to prove worthy of his family. But so would have loving and providing for his family in the ordinary routines of a long life, day upon day. So why did George choose to engage the challenges of the mountain but not the living room?
Why did George Mallory choose the mountain when he understood that it might take his life? Why was Mallory’s pursuit of joy, the meaning of life, the worthiness of family, and the loyalty to complete a task connected more with climbing a mountain than with daily routines of love and life, work and play, in community at home?
Sometimes I get discouraged because I see little results from my ministry. It’s then I have to re-read the story of Noah. He worked for 100 years and didn’t get discouraged. If he did, the Holy Spirit didn’t ensure it was recorded. So if the Lord wants me to work I will work on. I’ve seen transformation of people from death to life spiritually and Noah preached for years without a convert. So I’ve made my mind up: I will do the best I can and leave the results with God.
So Christian! Expect good results and never get discouraged; but if we don’t get good results, let us not look on the dark side, but keep on praying, and in the fullness of time the blessing of God will come.
How I crave words like these spoken to Jesus, “Everyone is looking for you” (Mark 1:37).
Those are “fame” words.
And yet, Jesus is fame-shy. He seemed drawn not to the spotlight but from it. Disciples had to search. He wasn’t tweeting. His blog wasn’t updated. His email responses were not immediate. Where they often found him was alone and in desolate places praying (Luke 5:16).
Do I possess the stamina to go unnoticed? Can I handle being over-looked? Do I have a spirituality that equips me to do an unknown thing for God’s glory?
But God remembers us, even if others don’t. Being remembered by Him means we no longer fear being forgotten by the world.
When I don’t know what to pray I like to look at Philippians 4:6-7 which says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I love this verse because it gives us direct instruction on what to do when we’re needing direction in our prayer lives. Not knowing what to pray isn’t an excuse not to pray. God wants us to come to Him with anything and everything. We could talk to Him about something as simple as our agenda for the day and He would love that time spent with Him.
Pray for guidance, joy, peace, or whatever you need at that point in time. God will NEVER turn you away, no matter how long you’ve been pushing him away.
Jesus knew what it was like to experience poverty (Luke 9:58). Jesus was homeless, so he can identify with those who have to do without.
Jesus knew what it was like to experience exhaustion. Jesus walked everywhere he went. he had to deal with disciples who argued about who was greatest and didn’t get the lessons he was teaching, not to mention religious leaders plotting his death while he healed and fed countless people.
Jesus knew what it was like to be betrayed. He was betrayed by religious leaders and his own family (Mark 3:21). Peter denied knowing him and Judas sold him out for 30 silver pieces.
Jesus knew what it was like to suffer grief. Jesus weeps over the condition of Jersualem (Luke 19:41) AND at the death of a friend, Lazarus (John 11:35). See also Isaiah 53:3.
Jesus knew what it was like to be tempted. Although Jesus never committed a sin, he was still tempted (Hebrews 2:18).
Jesus knew what it was like to suffer. It’s hard for us to find meaning in our suffering this side of eternity. Jesus confided his emotional pain to this disciples (Matthew 26:38). And he obviously endured the physical pain of his extremely gruesome death on a cross.
Jesus knew what it was like to feel forsaken by God. God the Father had to turn his face away from His Son while he became sin on the cross in our place (Matthew 27:46). And as for us, we are never forsaken even though that feeling ight be strongly felt (Hebrews 13:5).
Jesus knows what it’s like to be human. He was fully human. He got hungry and thirsty. He slept. He had to learn things. He grew. He loved. He was glad. He was angry. He prayed. He exercised faith. He read the Scriptures. He cried. As the old hymn What a Friend We Have in Jesus says, “Jesus knows our every weakness.”
What a massive comfort to know that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).
John 14:23 says: Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.”
It is astounding that God Himself would make His home in us. Is there any greater privilege than to be in the fellowship and presence of Almighty God?
We are the choice that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit made. We were created in the likeness of God from the beginning of creation. We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. We are agents of Heaven enforcing Christ’s victory on Earth.
That the God of the universe would want to love us is hard to conceive. That He would want to visit us might be amazing enough, but the triune God is making a home with us!
There is nothing greater than to feel His love and to know that He is listening to me and enjoying my company as I am enjoying His.