Thursday, April 20, 2023
Learning What it Means to Live
Learning What it Means to Live
by David Brenneman
"And He said, “A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that is coming to me.’ And so he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey to a distant country, and there he squandered his estate in wild living. Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began doing without. So he went and [i]hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he longed to have his fill of the carob pods that the pigs were eating, and no one was giving him anything. But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired laborers have more than enough bread, but I am dying here from hunger! I will set out and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired laborers.”’ So he set out and came to his father. But when he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, slaughter it, and let’s eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate. “Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you never gave me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you slaughtered the fattened calf for him.’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”" Luke 15:11-32 NASB
Learning to truly live takes a right perspective on life. There's a vast, grand, difference between our perspective on life and the life that we ourselves choose to live.
When we come to Christ, we have before us two paths. The one He desires for us and the one we desire.
We're to lay down our desires in favor of what He's wanting to do in our lives in order to bring about the transformed life in Christ that we read about in Romans 12.
One son stayed with his father, doing whatever he was told, and yet missed out on the desire of his father. The other, while beginning as a rebellious son, learned what true life was about. Learned what it meant to live.
We can't have it both ways.
We shouldn't expect the world to understand or to "get it" because they see no value in a life in Christ. The Bible says its foolishness to them. They cannot understand the things of God because they are spiritually discerned.
"For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the understanding of those who have understanding, I will confound.”
Where is the wise person? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has God not made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than mankind, and the weakness of God is stronger than mankind." 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 NASB
We read Jesus further telling us all that we're to deny self, take up our own cross daily, and follow Him. We read Paul's writing of putting off the old self and its practices and putting on Christ.
We're supposed to be grateful for all He's done, for all that He went through to save you and I.
The desires of this world should never be greater than our desire to live as Christ Jesus wants of us in our stay on this Earth. We came to Christ for salvation. We became aliens in this world. We aren't to "live like the natives" as it were. Our citizenship is now in Heaven. It's no longer a reflection of the life we lived to that point but begins to be a reflection of a new life in Christ Jesus.
The world wants us to covet. Wants us to boast in ourselves. Wants us to be all we can be for every selfish reason imaginable. Wants us to pursue every thought and desire that makes us happy. The world wants us to accept everything and everyone just as they are. To stop calling things that the God of the Bible says are sins as sins. To stop telling them that a life without Christ means eternal punishment in a real place called Hell if they die without salvation in Christ Jesus.
The world will do and throw everything it can at people who are Christians to make them believe they are the problem, that they don't understand what living life is about. The world wants Believers to be the ones to think they are crazy.
Many are put to death because of how far this world will go to silence Christians. In the book of John we read that people loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. People don't realize how their thoughts and actions can be evil unless those thoughts and actions are exposed to the Light of Jesus Christ.
The Disciples began to learn how to live when Jesus said "Come! Follow Me!".
Jesus perpetuated this in the Great Commission. Go, make Disciples, teaching them to do all that I commanded you.
Are you doing all that Jesus commanded you? Or are you picking and choosing based on keeping the favor of those around you? Are you living life your way or are you honoring all that Jesus did, and went through, to save you?
If ever an obituary is written of me, I really don't want anything said of my life other than that I did my best to obey and follow Christ. Want nothing mentioned of hobbies or interests. Pointing people to Jesus is what's important to me. The example of the Disciple Andrew.
Our lives are supposed to be lived in such a way that people see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven. We introduce people to Jesus and let Jesus do His work in their lives too. Jesus saves, we do not. No Christian has ever saved anyone. Jesus.
People will indeed think that I am crazy. When we learn Spiritual things, the Spirit works His work in us, we WILL live life differently than the world expects a life to look like. We looked at another passage in an earlier post. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and yet forfeit his soul? What can a man give in exchange for his soul? The Prodigal Son gained the world and lost in every way possible that counted, that mattered.
Will anyone speak concerning how you lived your life as you being a fully devoted follower of Christ Jesus? Or would a description of your life be filled with all kinds of descriptions of things of this world? When we give an account of our lives before Christ, it won't be about our successes or failures in living for us or our contributions to this world. It's about what we did in our lives for Jesus Christ.
Wouldn't that motivate you and I to live our lives in whatever ways that will make the most of our time here?
So what if the world thinks we're crazy for following Jesus. Heaven is filled with people who took that path. Hell has those in it that wish they weren't where they are, many trillions that wished they had another chance.
You have one chance at living life as a fully devoted follower of Christ Jesus...ask Him to help you get it right. He gave His life to give you life. Isn't that reason enough for you to honor Him all the more in how you live your life?