September 5, 2020

How To Be a Christian (Pr. 22)

Jesus is preparing His disciples for His departure. He warns them of His death and  Resurrection. He warns them of the danger of listening to Satan or our fear and then gives them the basics of how to be a follower and gain eternal-spiritual life:

  • Deny themselves
  • Take up their cross
  • Follow Him

We begin our spiritual life in Jesus by reading the Bible, getting to know about Jesus, growing in love for Him and coming to Him for forgiveness. These are the three things we must “do” to “be rewarded according to what we have done”.(Mt. 16.27). The Romans Reading (12.9-21) gives us clear guidance on what this means:

  1. Deny Self

Self-denial is the opposite of the me culture we live in which is the root of our rebellion and separation from Jesus and His Kingdom. It is fear-based as opposed to love-based. Denying self has sadly been interpreted as failing to love yourself as well as your neighbour and be a beautiful sign of the glory of God. Paul describes real love in action as self denial:

*Honour one another above yourselves 

* Be devoted to one another 

* Share with the Lords people who are in need

* Practice hospitality

* Live in harmony with one another

* Do not be proud

  1. Take up your cross

Your cross is the thing you are afraid of that slowly and painfully kills you. We all have a cross. Common crosses include approval, love, popularity, materialism, sex, food, power and control. Our cross is something that is me-centred. It is not Christ centred. It prevents us from following Jesus and having eternal spiritual live. Jesus tells us to pick it up – uproot it so it can no longer control us and destroy us. This is the essence of salvation or being born again so we can really follow Jesus.

  1. Follow Jesus

Followers of Jesus Christ have made a life changing decision. Followers can expect to be tempted by Satan and persecuted by friends and family. This is why belonging to a fellowship group or church is critical. Solitary Christian is an oxymoron unless you are unable to communicate with  other people. Paul also warns us of the danger of seeking revenge and engaging in spiritual warfare:

  • Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse
  • Do not take revenge… but leave room for God’s wrath
  • Do not repay anyone evil for evil (Rom. 12.17)
  • Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good

This is not easy but it is what we all must do to protect and grow in our spiritual life of joy in Christ

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