Since the apple incident, humanity has believed the lie that it is preferable to live for their desires instead of for God. The instinct has been self-enrichment, self-preservation, self-satisfaction, and self-glorification. But life in Christ is dramatically contrary to those attitudes and objectives. By divine assistance, the Christian understands and submits to these undercurrents of the faith, manifesting a transformed life.
We Die to Live.
He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. John 12:25
Those who put their interests before God, clutching dearly to temporal pleasures and fleeting satisfaction, will perish in their sin. To follow Christ, you must put your old secular and sinful life to death. You must “hate’ your old life in this world to pursue the will of God, looking to the incomparable, eternal inheritance that awaits in heaven. The death of the way you live sounds like an awfully steep price to pay, but it is not. Give your life to Jesus, and you trade a futile and vain existence, bowing to a malevolent taskmaster, for the love of a forgiving God. We are his adopted children, whose burden is light, and our souls rest in the loving arms of Jesus Christ.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
Experience your life transformed, and you will strive and pray for the old self to pass away and for the sanctification by God to have its full effect.
We are Strong when We are Weak.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9
When our circumstance is favorable, and we excel in the affairs of life (with talent and skill given to us by whom?), we have little use for God. When we are weak, beaten down by life’s challenges or misfortune, we are receptive to the will of God and rely on him for strength, wisdom, and endurance. It is his strength that enables righteous character in the face of adversity. We should thank him for the things in our lives that humble us, his grace that gives us the ability to endure those trials, and his strength to lift us up when we are weak.
We Give to Prosper.
Now I say this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows generously will also reap generously. 2 Corinthians 9:6
Generous giving is the behavior of a genuine Christian; it is the opposite of man’s instinct to cherish and cling to wealth. Joyfully giving, freely from the heart, is a beautiful testimony of faith and tangible proof of your love for and confidence in God. I can attest that prosperity, in both tangible and intangible things, is dramatically affected by generosity. Give something meaningful, with the right motives, and you will find that you cannot outgive God.
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:38
Greatness is Found in Humility.
But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. Matthew 23:11-12
The world says greatness is attained by prideful power and dominance. Jesus says if you want to be great, humble yourself and serve others. The greatest man that ever walked the earth was the supreme example of humility. He humbled himself to the point of death so that through him, the world might be saved from sin. Accomplishment in ungrateful arrogance is repulsive; achievement in humble service is to be like Christ.
To Whoever Has, More will be Given.
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Matthew 13:11-12
This scripture is a profound view of how God deals with humanity. Those who believe, who have faith and have accepted God’s truth will receive more of his enlightenment, illumination, and revelation. But those who do not believe, who have rejected Jesus and the word of God, from them any light they may have will be taken away. The longer you refuse Jesus Christ, the deeper your pit of darkness becomes.
God draws men to himself. John 6:44 But his grace is resistible, and the man who rejects the offer of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ is given over to his reprobate, profane and perverted mind. Romans 1:28 God gives man what he wants, we have the free will to choose our path, and those who choose to live without God lose the light of life and will perish in their sin.
A Quote from Tozer.
The Christian is or should be, distinctly different from a person without Christ. I love this from A.W. Tozer’s book The Root of the Righteous:
“A real Christian is an odd number anyway. He feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen, talks familiarly every day to Someone he cannot see, expects to go to heaven on the virtue of Another, empties himself in order to be full, admits he is wrong so he can be declared right, goes down in order to get up, is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he is poorest, and happiest when he feels worst. He dies so he can live, forsakes in order to have, gives away so he can keep, sees the invisible, hears the inaudible and knows that which passeth knowledge. And all the while he may be confounding his critics by his unbelievable practicality: his farm may be the most productive, his business the best managed, and his mechanical skill the sharpest of anyone in the neighborhood.
The man who has met God is not looking for something – he has found it; he is not searching for light – upon him the Light has already shined. His certainty may seem bigoted, but his is the assurance of one who knows by experience. His religion is not one of hearsay, he is not a copy, not a facsimile print; he is an original from the hand of the Holy Ghost.
We have not described a superior saint – merely a true Christian, far from perfect and with much yet to learn; but his firsthand acquaintance with God saves him from the nervous scramble in which the world is engaged and which is popularly touted as progress.
No doubt we shall hear many a tin whistle and see many a parade bravely marching off toward the Four Freedoms or the United Brotherhood of Mankind or the Age of Atomic Progress, and we will be expected to fall in step. Let’s be cautious. We are waiting for the trumpet note that will call us away from the hurly-burly and set in motion a series of events that will result at last in a new heaven and a new earth.
We can afford to wait.”