Following Christ

Following ChristFollowing Christ

Episode 40

Third episode in the series on Christian Living

A life following Christ may not be what you think. In the last two podcasts, a Christian Life, and Christian Life Restrictions we explored first, what it means to be a Christian and second why it is a myth that a Christian life means you in a world of do’s and don’ts instead of true freedom. In this podcast, we explore some of those rules and look at how living a life that follows Christ is indeed a life of freedom.

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A Life Following Christ and we will explore the freedom, happiness, and joy that a Christian truly has—not just believers!

We strive to live a life following Christ but what exactly does that mean in the everyday? I know that I fail so many times and with this failure, guilt starts to crop up …

As a Christian, I strive for peace yet many times find myself in turmoil due to things I cannot help or prevent. I know in my heart that all that is good comes from God but often we have trials.

Doesn’t living a Christian life mean living a life free from trials, turmoil and living a life that is truly happy?

First, this isn’t heaven. I know that when I looked at a Christian college friend and saw that her life was one big mess – everything that could possibly go wrong in her life went wrong. And I thought at the time, as a believer but NOT as much as her, she told me her entire life was devoted to God… I thought, “If this is how God treats her I’m not sure I want any part!”

I am using my “college self” as an example of lukewarm faith – faith that is not mature and is not tested by fire.

Christians who do walk around glumly are certainly not encouraging those who are borderline or lukewarm Christians. However, that is not what my friend showed me. She showed me that she was going to praise God in all things.

What about all those rules that the Bible gives us on how we should live our lives. Let’s look at some of the Scripture verses beginning in Ephesians 5 do read all of it I’m going to highlight parts of it:

What is Christian Living?

This verse tells us to be imitators of God.

Be Imitators of God

Ephesians 5:1-2 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

 How do we do that? How can we walk as an imitator of a Divine being? Only with the grace of God and His Holy Spirit. Friends, are we really open to God’s will in our lives? Truthfully? I struggle with this daily especially if I am praying – as I am right now for a solution to two problems that have nothing to do with me, and everything to do with my family. There is nothing I can do, it is out of my hands, but I do know and believe that GOD is victorious in all things and for Him, the problem is very minor.

All I can do as a Christian is try to imitate God, with the help of the Holy Spirit… be obedient no matter what the outcome and continue to walk in love (not because I want to but because I will myself to – out of love.)

Ephesians 6-11

“…for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.  Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them…” 

I surely do not want to walk in darkness – and I love the thought that we are children of Light which is goodness and righteousness and truth! That makes me so happy – and that is what it means to walk as a Christian.

In Ephesians 20-21, the verse mentions something I talk about often because I have seen the impact in my life when agreeing to do this…

“…always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”

Thanking God when things are going wrong is something that is a good habit to get into. Each night we try very hard as a family to sit down, pray and thank God for the day. Even if one of my sons says, “I’m thankful that today is over.” He is at the very least still thanking God.

Galatians 5 explains the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-25

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”

And Luke 6:43 

“…For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit.”

Who doesn’t want to have love, joy peace, patience kindness, gentleness, and self-control in their lives? If this is a life following Christ, then sign me up! In addition, the verse in Luke explains that a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. So many times we hear, you will be able to identify other Christian’s by their good fruit. Is this something they can do on their own? No—it is by the grace of God and through the Holy Spirit. So, what about people who are not Christians but “good people?” I’ve always wondered what that meant. How can you be good without God?

The Lord once showed me through a very personal example that we cannot put Him in a box. There are people who do not yet know God but seem to have God in their heart. Are they truly saved? That is a question for the Almighty. A person that I knew, who I would call “a good person,” embraced Christianity at some point in his life and it was through the example of someone he loved. This is a happy ending and many times these endings remain unfinished.

I recently spoke to someone who was making excuses for a spouse who is an unbeliever. He explained the same thing as above, that being a good person was important and it was not up to him to judge. And, I agree, that judging is the job of God. Yet, today in another conversation he explained how his spouse loved a show that centered on a medium – and I explained that mediums typically get their information from the “dark side.” He didn’t believe this and explained that while he didn’t agree with Ouija boards and that could open a dark portal this was different. I directed him to speak to our pastor—this is something that he needs spiritual guidance on, and I am not in the position to give it to him.

Yes, we should love our neighbor as yourself and show others the love of God, but friends do not compromise your faith, even for a loved one.

Colossians 3 explains in detail how to live a life following Christ

Colossians 3:1-4 urges us to put on our new self –our Christian self, one that is focused on a life that is waiting for the time we will be reunited with Christ.

Put On the New Self

“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”

We are urged to put aside all of the sinful and “evil practices” as believers…

Colossians 3: 8-11

“But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—“

Colossians 3: 12

Continues with the verse that explains we’ve been chosen by God. In the last episode of A Few Minutes With God I discussed the belief that many have that as Christians we are restricted because of all the rules, but I explained that it is, in essence, a gift – that faith is a gift that we receive if we are open to receiving, because again—a reminder, we have free will.

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful…”

Look at the verse above and rejoice! Please take the time to look at the words and see which ones speak to you – if you can add the verses I shared today to your journal – write them out, study them and let them penetrate your heart. The Bible spells out the way to live a life as a follower of Christ – and it is so wonderful. It is truly a blueprint for living life to the fullest!

Let’s pray—

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for the gift and the joy of being called by You to a life following Christ –as a Christian I pray you allow me to have a Holy boldness to proclaim Your Name to others and to allow me to walk, each day on the path of righteousness. I ask that you hear all of the needs deep within our hearts, especially for those we now pray…  I ask that you answer our prayers, Lord and you bless those for whom we pray. Please help us to forgive, help us to have all the fruits of the spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control and more – we want every good thing you have for us! Thank you for giving us the time today to spend a few minutes with You and I praise you in everything. I pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 

 

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