(Matthew 16:24) – Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. (NKJV; emphasis mine)
We are studying five primary goals of the Christian life, taking each goal in three steps of natural progression: knowledge (head), conviction (heart), and action (hands). All five goals are:
- Living Like Christ
- Proclaiming Christ
- Serving Like Christ
- Worshipping Christ
- Fellowship in Christ
Okay, we’ve looked at how to gain the knowledge (head) we need to live like Christ, and how that knowledge becomes committed conviction in our life (heart). Let’s finish goal number one today by going over some practical action steps (hands). I always chuckle when I hear someone say “if only God would just tell us how He wants us to live, bing-bang-boom, then I would do it.”. When it comes to instruction on practical living, the Bible has much to say. Here’s just a taste from a feast of verse on practical living:
Just Do It
James 1:22-27 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (NKJV)
- You have to do (action), not just hear (head) or you’ll deceive yourself (heart).
- A hearer who doesn’t do is like someone who can’t remember what he really looks like.
- You will be blessed as a “doer”.
- If you think you are being Godly by your “doing” but you don’t control your tongue, you fool yourself
- If you want to be assured of pleasing God, help widows and orphans…
- …and wash away as many of the worldly spots (wicked influence, fleshly pleasure, Godless goals, etc) as you can.
The Great Fall
Matthew 7:24-27 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (NKJV)
- Again, you have to hear and DO
- “Doing” is wise and builds a strong Godly life foundation that can withstand the storms of turmoil and suffering
- Those who hear but do not DO, are foolish (Biblical word for moron, devoid of sense, stupid)
- The foolish non-doer has an unreliable life foundation the will end in a GREAT fall (ruined life, loss, regret)
Galatians 5:16-25 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (NKJV)
- Walk, which is “doing”
- Walk in the Spirit, and the you won’t give in to your flesh so much because you can’t indulge the flesh at the same time you are living by the Spirit; they are mutually exclusive
- Walking and “doing” in the Spirit is liberating; it is the truly free and contented life
- Measure your life by the two lists of evil and good to see to what degree you are walking by the Spirit
- As Christians we have already crucified our fleshly passions and desires; we just keep trying to resurrect them all the time! They are dead, we need to learn to quit trying to raise them from the dead.
2 Timothy 2:15-17 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, (NKJV)
- Diligent: steady, earnest, energetic and painstaking effort
- Diligently work to be approved to God; this is not working towards your salvation, but rather working to live a life that is worthy of the salvation that Jesus gave His life for
- An approved life is a guiltless and regret-free life
- Do not participate in idle gossip or useless arguments, nor get involved in irreverent or vulgar conversations which will always lead to greater sinfulness.
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That’s just a taste of what the Bible tells us about the practical Christlike life. For more, start with John 15 & 16, Matthew 5, and pretty much the whole book of James.
To live a Christlike life, you must first learn what it is (head) through Bible study and the example/teaching of other spirtually mature Believer; allow that knowledge to become the commitment and conviction of your life (heart); and finally, change your life, actions, motives and behaviors to match those convictions (hands).
Tomorrow, should the Lord not return today, we will begin our look at goal two: proclaiming Christ.
Lord God, help us to take the knowledge we gain about Christ and move it into our hearts. Help us to then put our hearts into action by living a Christlike life in all that we say, do and think.. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?