March 20, 2021
We will build a legacy to the glory of God if we actually follow Jesus. Most of us are guilty of following human reasoning, human opinions, human emotions, and human methods. For most, to live the life of Jesus, the price is far too high and the standard far too spiritual to attain unto. Jesus is viewed only as the ticket to heaven and as a sort of “Sugar Daddy” for things wanted and needed. Never is it seriously considered to actually follow him in a lifestyle of being trained and disciplined to the will of the Father, with the sole purpose to carry out the Father’s work on earth. This is hardly ever preached so it is reasoned that no one can attain unto this. Most people just go about their life doing the best they can to love the Lord and be a good person. We talk and sing about being a soldier of the Lord, but we live like children on vacation.
The Word talks about presenting oneself to the Lord in such a way so that we give our bodies as a “living sacrifice” that is “holy” and “acceptable” to the Lord. This is called our “reasonable service.” Then it goes on to instruct us to not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind so that we can “prove” what is that “good, acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1,2). That is just basic “following Jesus.” In another place this is stated as being “conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29), and in another place, it is expressed as growing up into full maturity, a son of God, unto “a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4, esp. vs. 13).
Peter was a work in progress, but he reached a place where he was done with living to the will and lusts of the flesh. He came to the place of living only to do the will of God and pleasing only the Father (1 Peter 4:1, 2). He realized there was a place for all believers to be fully mature and fully established, strengthened, and settled in the Lord. This comes only by submission to God and resisting the devil, who would blind our eyes and deceive us and devour any spiritual growth in our lives (1 Peter 5:5-10).
It is time for us to get past having the mentality of just being a work in progress, although that’s what we are. We are to press on to the mentality of “full maturity” (“perfection”, Hebrews 6) expecting God to fully manifest himself to the world through our obedience (Romans 8:17-19). We are to expect full obedience of ourselves.
Yes, we are to actually follow Jesus. The martyrs down through the ages, from the apostles to today, saw that and followed him to the end (Revelation 12:11). Today, God is calling us to follow Jesus in the fullness of the Holy Spirit for the sole purpose of carrying out the will of the Father. The Word is written to us with the mentality we are to “sin not”. Then it continued, “if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous…” (1 John 2:1). The Word is given to bring us along the road to the expected full maturity, and if we slip along the way, Jesus Christ is there for us to lift us up and set us back on the right path. The normal Christian life is that we do not sin as a practice in any way.
Jesus is the standard of life and ministry (John 14:6). The way he did it is the way we are to do it. That is why he came in the flesh. He came to lead us as the Captain of our salvation to bring “many sons unto glory.” We are to live a victorious life in doing the will of the Father in order to reach the whole world with the good news of his kingdom (Hebrews 2:10). He came to show us that it can be done in the flesh by living by every word of God and by the anointing and leadership of the Holy Spirit, with signs and wonders following the word (Matthew 4:4; Romans 8:13, 14).
It takes waiting on God in true worship, prayer, praise, living by his Word, and hearing his voice unto repentance and obedience. This is how we grow in grace from being greedy little babes on milk, to mature sons of God living only for the Fathers will. As we give ourselves to him, he reveals himself in and through us. In this way we are to follow Jesus, being made “perfect in every good work to do his will…well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ” (Hebrews 13:20, 21).
A Practical Tip Concerning Waiting on the Lord
We all stay real busy, mostly of our own making. It is not easy to “wait on God”, but God speaks to those who will wait upon him, so we want to wait upon God. This might help:
. Make an appointment with the Lord just as you would with a doctor.
. Silence the phone. Put it away from you.
. Take a piece of paper, and a spiral notebook, and a pen to your “place”.
. As you give yourself to the Lord in praise, thanksgiving, repentance, and prayer, write down distracting daily things that comes to mind on your piece of paper or pocket pad. Make just a memo. Write things down in detail that God gives you in your spiral notebook. Continue in this way of clearing your mind by committing daily stuff to the piece of paper or pad, and writing down the things God gives you in the spiral notebook. Stay with it until there is a sense of completion. Leave your session with the Lord praising and thanking for him speaking to you and guiding you. When you have captured what God is speaking to you, then you will also have your list of “things to do” to take care of in daily life. In this way you will be able to follow Jesus making the most of your time, and come to an understanding of the wisdom and will of God for your life (Ephesians 5:15-17).
God wants us to be happy and free and enjoy life to the fullest. Jesus came to give life and life more abundant (John 10:10). Jesus did not come to take our pleasures and toys and good times away. He came to fill our lives with his glory. As we grow in him we discover that the real and lasting pleasure and the real good times and fun things is seeing eternal souls getting saved, and seeing blind eyes open, and the demonically oppressed set free, the maimed to grow new limbs, the dead raised, and signs and wonders abounding. When we experience this pleasure, we look back and ask ourselves, “What in the world have I been doing all this time before this?”
And when persecution and adversity hits, it is joyful and peaceful to be strong and victorious and not deny the Lord or betray his people in any way. To be strong takes a disciplined, trained commitment. If we think otherwise, we are deceiving ourselves. Jesus said “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:23-26). Following Jesus completely is the prize set before us. Let’s press forward and build a legacy of love and faith to his glory! (Philippians 3:7-21)