Up until a year ago, life was all about me.
Sure, I was a Christian who loved God and people, but something was missing. My wife and I even spent four years in a ministry, but something was still sorely lacking in our lives. There had to be more to this Christian walk than just living like everyone else. Where was the joy? Where was the peace?
How was I any different than unbelievers? I would get mad when something didn’t go my way. I was easily frustrated. I let the opinions of other people shape my identity. I blamed God for the bad things that were happening in my life. I prayed and read my Bible, but they became acts of routine and not fellowship.
Then we started watching messages from Todd White and Dan Mohler. If you have never heard of these guys, I encourage you to look them up on YouTube. Wow. Up until that point, I had never heard truth preached as clear and sound. The scriptures came alive, and I felt a quickening in my Spirit that had long been reduced to nothing more than a pile of darkened embers.
I finally started to realize who I was in Christ, and everything changed.
Jesus makes it very clear what it takes to follow Him. We have to die to self. We have to give up something that we were never created for in the first place. We were never created for us. We were created for God.
I am going to be perfectly honest with you. I’m still growing into that revelation of truly dying to self. I have made huge progress though. Fortunately, it’s not something we have to try and accomplish on our own, because that would be impossible. We can’t wake up in the morning and “try” to be a good Christian. It begins with a more intimate relationship with our Father. It’s a daily process.
When we die to self, there is nothing else to do but become more like God. Ephesians says we are to be imitators of God. What is God? He is love. Our objective on this earth is to become love. Well, what does love look like? It looks like Jesus. Jesus was the visible image of an invisible God. He was love personified. He modeled the Christian life that we need to live out.
Last week, I gave you an example of Jesus acting like us instead of love. You can check it out HERE. Oh, how life would be so different now.
I want to walk this earth just as Jesus did. Loving everyone. Healing the sick. Praying for the blind. Raising the dead. He is living inside of me, so there is no reason not to do those things. It’s all about faith. Just because I might not see things happen when I pray, that doesn’t change the truth of His words. We’re not here to live by feelings. We’re here to live by faith. The Bible says living by feelings is demonic, so why would we want any part of that?
I want to love my wife with God’s love. Not saying “I love you” in order to hear it back. Not praying that God will change things in her for my benefit. If we ever pray that God will change someone just because we have an issue with them or because it would make our lives better, it becomes all about self, and that’s a dangerous place to be in. (I’m not saying I have an issue with my wife. I just want to keep growing in God’s perfect love.)
I want to model Christianity for my kids. If we go to church on Sunday morning, but get angry, frustrated, and pottered by life every other day of the week, then we’re just teaching our kids that being a Christian means going to church. I want them to see the love of God in how I discipline them, father them, and love them. I don’t want to punish out of frustration, because then it’s all about me. If I punish them, it needs to be done in a way that continues to show them their true identity in Christ. I want them to fully understand their created value from God.
I want to stop passing silently by people on the streets and in stores who may never have heard about God and how much He loves them. Who knows that the next person I walk by, without saying a word to, might be contemplating suicide? They may need the hope that I carry inside of me. They may just need someone to love them without expecting anything in return.
I’m done with living for myself and following the way of man’s wisdom. The way that seems right to a man leads to destruction. God’s wisdom leads to life.
What is the legacy I want to leave behind?
It’s simple. Jesus.