Over two thousand years ago, a man walked the earth. He challenged the religious leaders of the era. He radically influenced people by the thousands. He was human, yet infilled with a presence, a spirit, not of this world. He was the visible image of an invisible God. He was immortal love clothed with a physical body born from dust. The same rugged hands of a carpenter healed the blind and the lame.
Jesus lived a life of true Christianity. Paul knew it, and followed in those same steps. Throughout the ages, people have embraced the truth of the Gospel, and then put it into action. It’s all about love.
The first step is dying. We were born into this world with one thing hammered into our being. Self. From the moment Adam and Eve ate the fruit, humanity fell. Man took on the very nature of the enemy. Self-conscious. Self-serving. Self. Self. Self.
From His birth through a virgin, to His death by crucifixion, Jesus personified love.
Love is the answer, the solution to self. We grow up with the mindset of the world. We are home schooled in the wrong home. We have to renew our minds. Get rid of the old way of thinking, and embrace love. That doesn’t happen by merely whispering a quick prayer and waiting to hitch a bus ride up to the pearly gates. Jesus said follow Him. That means it’s possible to live the very same life He did on this earth.
I’ve heard this example many times, and it’s one of my favorites. Think about a can of white paint and a stir stick. We are the stick, and Jesus is the can of paint. If you run the stick through the paint, all you see is white paint. It’s completely covered and enveloped by paint, but the stick is still there. We live through Jesus. It’s still us, but all you see is Jesus.
Matthew 5 is filled with “You say, but I say” examples. Jesus was teaching a new way of thinking. He eloquently exposed the lies from satan, while providing the truth that can set us free. The wisdom of man replaced with the wisdom of God. The way that seems right to a man with the way that pleases our Father.
If you read 1 Corinthians 13, truly study that passage, you will discover the blueprint by which we are to live. It’s impossible to put those scriptures into practical use without completely dying to our selves. Love is the antonym of self.
If there was any person in the history of all time who had the right to be angry, hurt, offended, and resentful, it was Jesus. He looked into the eyes of each soldier who punched Him, beat Him, spat on Him, cursed Him, and eventually pounded nails into His hands and feet. If there was any part of His being that was still alive to self, He would have ended it all right there. He would have told His father those people weren’t worth His precious blood. He would have called on Gabriel and a legion of angels to swoop down and take Him back home.
But. He. Didn’t.
He endured it all because He was 100% love.
If we truly want to follow Christ, we have to surrender all of our rights.
Revelation 12:11 says:
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
We are eager to claim the first part of that verse. The blood and our testimony. Those are powerful. Very powerful. But, the last half of the scripture is the key. We can’t love our own lives. We can’t cater to self, our flesh.
If we become love, die to self, and follow Jesus, we will crush Hell every single day of our lives. It’s awesome.
It’s not about us. It’s all about love.