humility and discipleship

crown of thorns

One quality that really impresses God (and it’s not a very long list) is humility.  Humility is one of those things that just when you think that you’ve got it, you don’t.  And it’s one of those qualities of Jesus that is most evidenced in the lives of those who are genuinely seeking to imitate Him.

Jesus is fully God.  He steps into the world as Immanuel “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).  In Colossians the Apostle Paul is writing to address issues that have arisen in the church in which some are questioning the deity of Christ.  He affirms, “God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him (Christ), and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things” (Colossians 1:19-20a).

And yet he “emptied Himself” and became “obedient to death, even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:7-8).  And for this reason we are called to have the very same attitude and mindset as that of Christ Jesus (v5).

Jesus always goes about being “God with us” from a position of humility.  It’s never a power play with Jesus.  The only One who actually has the right to demand everything from a position of power because of who He is, comes to serve and comes to show us what true love and humility look like.

Too often we’re not enough like Jesus.  We manipulate.  We force.  We coerce.  That’s not Jesus….

Jesus’ call upon our lives is if we want to be His disciples we must first deny ourselves.  And I believe humility plays a crucial role.

Jesus never forces Himself on anyone.  “Do you want to be my disciple?  Take up your cross and follow me,” He says.  “Do you want to come and learn and share and be a part of the bigger picture and the things that I am about in the Kingdom?  Good.  Follow me.”  Discipleship is a choice.  Following Jesus is a choice.  And humility is a choice.

When you are full of yourself, God cannot fill you.  Only when we empty ourselves can our God fill us.  Only when we empty ourselves of all pride and all arrogance and all selfishness… only when we “humble ourselves before the Lord” can He then lift us up (James 4:10).

Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the poor in Spirit… (Matthew 5:3).”

Maybe that’s a good place for us to start as well.

Glory to God!

Jason

humility and discipleship

crown of thorns

One quality that really impresses God (and it’s not a very long list) is humility.  Humility is one of those things that just when you think that you’ve got it, you don’t.  And it’s one of those qualities of Jesus that is most evidenced in the lives of those who are genuinely seeking to imitate Him.

Jesus is fully God.  He steps into the world as Immanuel “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).  In Colossians the Apostle Paul is writing to address issues that have arisen in the church in which some are questioning the deity of Christ.  He affirms, “God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him (Christ), and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things” (Colossians 1:19-20a).

And yet he “emptied Himself” and became “obedient to death, even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:7-8).  And for this reason we are called to have the very same attitude and mindset as that of Christ Jesus (v5).

Jesus always goes about being “God with us” from a position of humility.  It’s never a power play with Jesus.  The only One who actually has the right to demand everything from a position of power because of who He is, comes to serve and comes to show us what true love and humility look like.

Too often we’re not enough like Jesus.  We manipulate.  We force.  We coerce.  That’s not Jesus….

Jesus’ call upon our lives is if we want to be His disciples we must first deny ourselves.  And I believe humility plays a crucial role.

Jesus never forces Himself on anyone.  “Do you want to be my disciple?  Take up your cross and follow me,” He says.  “Do you want to come and learn and share and be a part of the bigger picture and the things that I am about in the Kingdom?  Good.  Follow me.”  Discipleship is a choice.  Following Jesus is a choice.  And humility is a choice.

When you are full of yourself, God cannot fill you.  Only when we empty ourselves can our God fill us.  Only when we empty ourselves of all pride and all arrogance and all selfishness… only when we “humble ourselves before the Lord” can He then lift us up (James 4:10).

Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the poor in Spirit… (Matthew 5:3).”

Maybe that’s a good place for us to start.

Glory to God!

Jason

spiritual oxygen

windOur bodies require oxygen.  I’ve heard of some who have argued that a glass of water can wake you up in the morning just as well as a cup of coffee because of the oxygen in the water (I of course do not buy this argument and would never think of starting the day without a cup of coffee, but to each his own….  And isn’t there oxygen, in the water, in the coffee?).  But it is a simple, physiological truth, the body requires oxygen.  An abundance of it.  When we take a deep breath, oxygen fills our lungs, and then floods the central nervous system, circulatory system, etc. with life.  When our bodies are oxygen depleted we do not function to our fullest capacity (those associated with the Tour de France can explain this well).  Without breathing in oxygen the body dies.  And without an abundance of oxygen the body suffers.

The Hebrew word for breath is “ruack.”  The Greek word for it is “pneuma.”  Would it surprise you that these same words (that can be translated “breath”) are also the very words that are translated “Spirit”?  The Spirit of God breathing life at creation.  The Spirit of God breathing life at baptism.  The Spirit of God renewing, empowering, uplifting, filling, flooding the body of Christ with spiritual oxygen today.

goldfish in fishbowlWithout an abundance of oxygen the body suffers.  The body of Christ requires spiritual oxygen.  When we find ourselves (as individuals or as a church) in need of renewal, in need of revival, where do we turn?  To whom do we turn?  The Spirit of God gives life.

James 2:26, “The body without the Spirit is dead.”

Romans 8:11, “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life (spiritual life) to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who gives you life.”

When was the last time that you prayed for the Holy Spirit to fill you?  To breathe life into you?  To renew Christ’s church?  To bring about revival?  To flood the body of Christ with spiritual oxygen?

I wonder what would happen if each of us would pray that prayer and if we were truly open to that prayer being answered?

Glory to God!

Jason

outside the box

outsidethebox

This Sunday at WE we begin a weekly study of the book of James.  I believe that James is an often overlooked letter.  For whatever reason, it doesn’t seem that much of our conversation centers on this letter from Jesus’ brother.  And I really don’t know why….

We often speak of reaching out to the lost.  We often consider how we might impact the world around us.  We often engage in discussion as to how the relevance of Christ might be readily evident in us as His people.  And yet, somehow, no dialogue from the book of James.

James is a letter of faith.  It is a letter of action.  It is a letter of practicality.  And it is a letter of relevance.  Isn’t that the answer to communicating the message of the Gospel in what many cultural anthropologists are calling a “post-Christian” culture?

Faith.  Action.  Practicality.  Relevance.

I’m excited about our journeying together side-by-side through this powerful, wonderful, often overlooked, letter.

James will ask, “Are you facing difficulties in life?  Does everything seem to be coming apart at the seams?”  And then contend, “Let me point you to the One who is bigger than all of that!”

James will probe, “Oh, you think you’re a follower of Jesus because you believe?  Big, whoop-de-do!  Faith is more than belief.  It is opening your eyes and doing something that’s beyond yourself.”

James will question, “Who are you fooling?  You claim to be a disciple of our Lord and yet still have areas of your life that you’ve failed to give Him Lordship over?  Does that really sound like discipleship to you?”

We’re going to call our study: “Outside the Box.”  Because James opens our hearts and minds to a whole other world.  A radical faith that simply cannot be contained.

Glory to God!

Jason