Defeating the Boom/Bust Cycle
One of the cycles that I would love to see us break as a people is the boom/bust worldview of New Year's resolutions.
Nice try on those resolutions.
You know how it goes, you make promises to do thus and so, and the moment you miss it, you abandon all pretense of continuing and wait for the next New Year to try again.
Seems pretty futile, doesn't it?
Instead of this construct which has been placed on us by our culture, why not walk out this year and the years to come in a more Biblical way?
"Come follow me"
Jesus, when He called the disciples to Himself, didn't invite them to a checklist of behaviors to achieve, but a lifestyle to adopt, His own. He called them to come and walk with Him, interact with Him, eat, drink and lodge with Him, pray with Him and do Kingdom lifestyle with Him. He called them to be with Him primarily, not to do for Him.
Our call to discipleship with Jesus is the same. He calls us to walk with Him and learn His lifestyle, His way of seeing, His thoughts and intents. He even said so, "No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you." (John 15:15)
So our walk is simply put, to become like Him. The only way to do that is to spend time with Him, to intentionally and actively inquire of Him and lean, as it were, into Him and His life.
Obstacles to a Lifestyle
The call to lifestyle comes with a few challenges and none is so great as how we perceive ourselves, or our identity. Make no doubt, there is an enemy and he would love nothing better than to get you mired in your performance (the checklist), so that you forget your identity.
There was an amazing scene in episode two of The Chosen (which you can watch on YouTube or the Vid Angel app), in which James the lesser (little James), asked to talk about Jesus. In the scene, James, who is afflicted and not healed, says that he is disqualified from being sent out with the twelve, because he feels that they are better, more capable and more qualified than he is. In this beautiful scene, Jesus looks at him and says He never wants to hear James say anything like that again. He called James out on his misplaced identity which threatened his life in Jesus.
As the scriptures say in Philippians 4:13,"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." When He calls you, He empowers you and equips you to fulfill that calling. He doesn't call you to futility and failure, but to learning, growing and maturing into Him, "And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." (Ephesians 1:22,23)
When you forget your identity, which does not change when God calls you, you begin to lose hope, because outside of Him, there is no hope. He is the God pf hope; Romans 15:13, "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
This week a friend of mine lost a young man in his congregation who lost hope because he didn't know and accept who he was in Jesus. He chose to end his life in a terrible tragedy which has left even more pain in it's wake. Knowing and nurturing your identity in Christ, creates the greenhouse of believing that invites hope into you no matter what the circumstances are.
Have You Become Fully Alive to this Lifestyle?
There is no real secret formula to this life in Jesus, except surrender. My question to you is, have you done that? Or is it that you hang around the edges of the lifestyle, rooted in identity in Him and have quiet conversations of desperation with yourself in order to disqualify who and what you are already qualified for? Read this portion of the scripture.
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and long-suffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:12-14)
Having one foot in and one foot out is a recipe for disaster. If you haven't fully committed to Jesus because of some strange feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out) in the lifestyle of the world, then I urge you and plead with you, surrender to God and commit to Him fully! Give into the call of Jesus. Come to Him completely and begin a lifestyle, not a checklist to grow continually into Him!
This weekend, we are giving away bookmarks to read through the Bible in a year. This is to begin a lifestyle of being in the scriptures and meeting with Jesus daily there. Join us for it!