Devotional for Day 35 – 9 Sept 2013
from a lady missionary serving long-term in a restricted access area in Asia
Intention: As Jesus, while on earth, only ever did what He saw the Father doing, so we need to be doing exactly what we see Jesus doing.
Scripture: Let us run the race that is before us and never give up. We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way and the sin that so easily holds us back. Let us look only to Jesus, the One who began our faith and who makes it perfect (Hebrews 12:1-2 New Century Version).
Reflection: As a young Christian, I really wanted to know God’s plan for my life, but was confused about how to find it. Yes, from the Bible I learned valuable principles for life, but nothing seemed to fit my own circumstances.
Then I received the single piece of advice that has kept me on the Way (who is Jesus, after all!) for more than 30 years now: If you do not have a vision for what to do with your life, then make it your vision to be like Jesus. Then He can take you anywhere, and have you do everything that He wants.
You know, the craziest things happen when we get radical instead of just reasonable in fixing our eyes on Jesus, learning in our weak and fumbling way to love, think and act like Him.
- Maybe a relative will be happily surprised when we say something nice about someone instead of criticising.
- Or the police officers will ask “Why?” when they see you chatting with a homeless person – and listen to your answer.
- You might get news that a stranger you shared your testimony with ten years ago believed in Christ as a result and is now on a foreign mission field.
- People from a different ethnic group are suddenly eager to befriend and listen to you when you adopt their meal-time customs.
I still have so far to go in learning to be like Jesus, but those things are just a few encouragements I have received along the way so far.
Prayer: Almighty and loving Father, We thank You for bringing us into Your great family. Thank you for making Yourself small enough for us to see You in Jesus who came to live amongst us. Please forgive us for all the times we have been ‘reasonable’ in our following You instead of simply believing and accepting that You mean what You say. Help us simply to fix our eyes on Jesus, to do what we see Him do; to desire praise from You more than praise from the world. We ask in His name. Amen.
[Blogger’s Comment: Becoming more like Jesus is all about discipleship or growing in godliness and spiritual maturity.
- Becoming a Christian is the beginning of a new life entered through being justified because of the finished work of Jesus on the cross;
- Becoming like Jesus continues through all our life on earth as we are sanctified by the power of God’s Spirit living in us;
- Being like Jesus perfectly is what we obtain in being glorified when we die physically or when He appears again. (Romans 8:28-30, Philippians 3:20-21, 1 John 3:2-3).
Our great salvation, a wonderful grace gift from God because of his great love and mercy for us, is a process, a journey, unique to each one of us. This journey has:
- A past aspect (we have been saved) – our justification.
- A present aspect (we are being saved) – our sanctification.
- A future aspect (we will be saved) – our glorification.
The devotional writer today challenges us to be a radical Christ-like follower of Jesus who throws off any extra baggage, especially any sin, that hinders us in our unique journey of loving, thinking and acting like Jesus. (If you are not clear about these central truths of the Christian life and want to read or study more please write to me or leave a comment below and I will send you more material we have written on ‘Our Great Salvation’.)
My favourite Bible teacher is the Rev Dr John Stott CBE, the English Anglican cleric who was a leader of the worldwide Evangelical movement. He was one of the principal authors of the Lausanne Covenant in 1974. In 2005, Time magazine ranked Stott among the 100 most influential people in the world. When he died in 2010 he left a legacy of over 50 books and commentaries. We had the privilege of hearing him preach 4 messages just before Easter in 1995. He had flown in a small plane (in the middle of a storm) into a small grassy airstrip of the Bible College where we served in the remote Highlands of Papua New Guinea.
In his last message to the Keswick Convention in England in 2007, he preached on the theme of becoming like Christ, saying “I want to share with you where my mind has come to rest as I approach the end of my pilgrimage on earth and it is – God wants His people to become like Christ. Christlikeness is the will of God for the people of God.” After explaining the Biblical basis, Bible examples and practical consequences of this call, his very last words were,
“Is this Christlikeness attainable? In our own strength it clearly is not, but God has given us His Holy Spirit to dwell within us, to change us from within. God’s way to make us like Christ is to fill us with his Spirit. In other words, it is a Trinitarian conclusion, involving the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
This focus is also reflected in a prayer John Stott prayed each morning as his feet hit the floor when rising.
Pray this prayer then continue to ask the Holy Spirit to place on your heart what He wants you to focus on in praying today.
- Pray for a worldwide outpouring of the Holy Spirit for revival and transformation of the nations of the world.
- Pray for a billion people to find Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
- Pray for an end to abortion and for God to turn back the tide of death and immorality that is sweeping the nations of the world.
- Pray for a multiplication of prayer, praise and worship to God across the world as never before, to bring great glory to God.