Dear Friends in Christ:
The Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 2:1-5: “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus”
Well, there it is. “Jesus is our good example.” We are to live our lives like He did.
Mark Twain said, “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.” Perhaps the thing most annoying about a good example is its inability to accomplish the same achievement in our lives. Now, a good example can motivate and inspire us but it cannot enable us. Now, unless the person we admire, our good example, can enter into our lives and live his life through us enabling us, what chance do we have?
In verse 13 of the above text Paul reveals to the church that our good example does enter into our lives. He writes: “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” Now let’s think this through.
First God gave the Ten Commandments, followed by 603 additional laws. Some individuals, at least in their own estimation, kept them. They did not understand that we need a new life, not a list. In the Gospels Jesus intentionally set a standard that the Jews could never achieve. Jesus said, “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
(See Mathew 5:20)
It was not a challenge to try harder, but a challenge to give up. He wanted all of us to see that a righteousness that would please God is unattainable. He came along and raised the bar so high that all men would give up trying to jump over it. Jesus said, “I am the Vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me, you can do nothing.” Well, there it is! Abide in Him, and all that He is and has is yours, just as the branch receives the full life of the Vine. Don’t abide, and you will immediately be in the flesh.
LIFE LESSON: When we are abiding, there is no one better than us. At that moment we are an earthly vessel with a perfect life, His life, flowing in and through us. Jesus, our good example is living His life through our bodies. We are literally the body of Christ! What was impossible with man is now possible with God. It doesn’t get any better than that.
That’s it! The mystery has been revealed. “Christ lives in us, the hope of glory.”
(see Colossians 1:27)
ALERT! We have a new discipling tool called “Five Christian Life Alerts”. It is loaded with insights and beautifully illustrated to richly bless and enhance one’s Christian life. So very exciting! It is at the printers now and will be available next month.
We appreciate your continued prayer and financial support. Thank you. Praise be to God!
Growing in His Grace