5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
— Phil. 2:5 NLT
Jesus came to set us free from the captivity of our sins. When we spiritually died with Christ and we were raised up again, we were set free from the powers of this world. Our lifestyles should reflect that death and resurrection. We should live our lives free from old laws and traditions. As Jesus instructed Peter in Acts 11: 9 The voice spoke again from heaven, ‘Do not consider anything unclean that God has declared clean.” But we must never let our liberty be a stumbling block to outsiders or those that are weaker. We should use our liberty in Jesus to attract others to Him. We are to be filled with the Spirit of the Living God and led by His directions. Only the love of God and His Spirit abiding in us can stop us from doing the evil things that the flesh continues to want to do. We should be Spirit-fed and Spirit-led. Will we be accused of trying to be little “Jesuses”? Probably so, but is there anyone better for us to attempt to imitate than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him. 41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. — Luke 2:39-41 NIV
If this Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah, then why would Joseph, Mary and He have to continue to fulfill all the requirements of the law? His birth did not destroy or abolish the law. It was a part of the fulfillment of the law..
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. — Matt.5:17 NIV
The new covenant could not become effective until after His death and resurrection. The forgiveness of sin required the shedding of blood. Jesus lived a life of perfection completely obedient to the Father.
19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. — John 5:19 NIV
Jesus is our example to follow. He has given us a book penned under the direction and inspiration of the third Person of the Trinity. That book is His story. It shows us His character and tells us that He has given us everything we need to live a lifestyle that reflects His character.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. — 2 Peter 1:3 NIV
Read that book daily, meditate on it, store it in your heart, pick scripture passages to pray for yourself and others and spend as much time as possible with the Author. That is our part and we can be assured that if we do our part, He is always faithful to do His.
1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. — 1 Peter 2:1-3 NIV
When we buy a new house and start making plans to move in, the first thing we want to do is make sure the inside of that house is clean from top to bottom. We also have a vision of what we want that house to look like in the future. As we live in that house, it begins to reflect our likes and dislikes. The neighbors who are familiar with that house will notice the changes that are being made. Maybe, not so much the ones inside, but when the outside starts to change they will notice those. Even those just driving by on a daily basis will start to notice the changes that are being made as your new house becomes a home to the new resident. Friends and neighbors will start to comment on how much better the house looks and what a great thing it is for the neighborhood. When we accept Jesus as our Savior and the Holy Spirit moves into our hearts, He does the same thing. He wants His new residence to be cleansed from all the fleshly desires and attitudes. He desires that His new home will start to reflect His likes and dislikes. The work starts inisde, in our hearts. With time and His leadership, the outside will start to change to reflect the changes that have occurred in our hearts. Cleaning and maintaining a home requires a lot of cleaning products and time spent with those products. The cleansing and renewing of our hearts and minds requires a lot of time spent with God and using the cleansing power He provides for us.
26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. — Eph. 5:26, 27 NIV
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. — Psalm 51:7 NIV
Just as the original cleaning of the new home doesn’t last and has to be followed by daily cleanings, so it is with our hearts, they need to be washed in the word every day. If we remain faithful in spending our daily time with Jesus, friends and neighbors will start to notice the difference the new resident in our heart is making in our daily lives.
11 This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.12 We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous. 13 So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. 14 If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. 15 Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them. 16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?—1 John 3:11-17 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
As Christians, most of us, at sometime or other, have met other people and we sensed immediately that they were Christians. There was a kindred Spirit that we could easily identify. This Spirit is God’s Holy Spirit indwelling us and we can feel the love of the other person almost immediately. We must never feel hatred for those around us, whether they be Christian brothers and sisters or not. We must always reflect the love of Jesus by loving others. First, to our own household, then our church, and then those around us. We should never have the attitude of the expert in religious law that Jesus encountered in Luke 10. He asked Jesus, “who is my neighbor”? This was an effort on his part to get Jesus to identify specific people that he should help. This would limit his responsibilities to others. We are to help all those that Jesus puts in our path. It is not God’s will that any should perish. Therefore, it becomes our responsibility to lead as many as possible to Christ by showing them the love of Christ. Our lifestyles should show others that Christianity is not a bunch of “don’ts” and negativism, but that it is a positive relationship with a living Lord.