Yesterday, I started to share my struggle with standing on God’s truth without judging or condemning others. I had been praying for an answer regarding this issue for a long time, but kept searching because I did not like God’s answer. I didn’t like God’s answer because it seemed like such a cliché. I mean who can really love and live like Jesus?
The God’s honest truth is that we can love and live like Jesus. In fact, as Christians, we are called to do so. I stayed stuck for too long thinking it was impossible. Nothing is impossible if we rely on the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
Mark 10:27: Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” (NLT)
Philippians 14:3 “For I can do everything through Christ,[c] who gives me strength.”
They key here is to know that we cannot do it on our own; we must rely on the power of the Holy Trinity. We must remember that apart from Christ we can do nothing. Remember yesterday when I said that in order to love and live like Jesus we have to first imitate Jesus? I went on to explain that not only are we to imitate Christ in action and deeds, but in spiritual form as well. Any of this sounding familiar? We are to have the fruits of the spirit so that people can know just by looking and talking to us that we walk with the Lord. Well, in order to get these fruits we must abide in and obey God. The illustration of the grapevine in scripture speaks more clearly than I ever could:
John 15 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”
You see, if we are not tied to God, we can do nothing. We may be able to get buy for a while, but the first little bump in the road sends us off course. If we are abiding in the Lord, we are able to stand against hurts, pressures, problems, and so forth because we know God is going to give us the strength to endure. The vine sustains; the branches endure; the fruit sprouts and grows. Please note this is an ongoing process. You must choose to abide in the Lord every day. You must choose to put God over EVERYTHING and surrender to his will. The fruit takes time to grow, you must be patient.
So, how do we abide in God or have a close relationship with God? It is my belief that in order to have a strong relationship with the Lord, we must read his word, go to church, fellowship with other Christians, and obey his word.
I was doing okay until the last one, huh? I don’t like obedience any more than any of you, but I have come to realize just how important it really is. We must follow the word of the Lord. Period. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. We may not always like what the scripture says, but we do have to follow it. Some of you are shaking your head again, furious because I am being too harsh and not accounting for grace. There is grace here. If we try and fail, we can go to Jesus for forgiveness, but we must try. This is where we have to be careful. Satan will use failure and grace against us if we let him. You see, if we strive for perfection and fail, Satan will use that failure to stop us from trying again. If we just accept sin in our lives because we live under grace and believe it is impossible to live like Christ, Satan wins as our relationships with God and our growths are stunted. We have to find moderation. We have to know that we are to live a sinless life and strive for it, while also realizing if we are truly trying, yet fail, there is grace to help us back up.
Obeying God is not easy. We have to make hard choices every day. So did Jesus. I was relieved to find that even Jesus didn’t want to do what God was asking at one point, which was shown in the garden of Gethsemane:
Luke 22:42-44 “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. 44 He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. (NLT)
From this scripture you can clearly see that Jesus struggled with this issue. He did not want to have to go through it; however, if it was his father’s will, he was willing. Now, his reluctance was shown a lot better than my usual temper tantrums. Notice he did not cry, whine, or complain; he just asked God to use another way if possible. God got my attention with this illustration. I can hear him saying “watch and learn!” I mean Jesus was in so much agony over going to the cross, he sweat drops of blood. I have thrown a big hissy fit over far, far less. “Watch and learn Missy, Watch and learn.”
So far we have discovered that in order to love and live like Jesus we must first imitate Jesus; in order to imitate Jesus, we must do what he does and develop spiritual fruits such as his; in order to develop those spiritual fruits we must abide and obey Christ. WOW, that is a lot to take in. Next week I would like to finish up the short series by discussing how to humble ourselves in order to love and live like Jesus.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there and until next time, stay safe and God bless,