As we embark on this series developing the third component of our Vision Statement: “Living His Word” (the first two are : Building Families & Pursuing the Lord Jesus Christ), it would be very easy to slip into what I have called, “Behavioral Christianity,” that is, attempting to Live the Word in our own strength. This attempt to live the Christian Life in our own strength, on the one hand, produces hypocrites and legalists, who have no integrity, and who foolishly think they can fake living the Life or who foolishly think they can gut out the Word without the Life of Lord Jesus coursing through their spiritual veins, respectively. The Dangler, on the other hand, has integrity, but is caught between the is and the ought: They “ought” to live like the Word, but they “is” not like the Word. So they slip from one teacher to another; one church to another; one Bible study to another until they find the “secret.” But plugging into people, positions, power or possessions just doesn’t cut it….
The “secret,” as Gary Smalley has said is: “We need to plug into the 220 outlet—the Lord Jesus!” (“220”comes from Galatians 2:20—see below.)
So as we plug into the Lord Jesus Christ by faith, He empowers us by His Holy Spirit to Live the Life the Word presents. For example, the Word teaches, “… Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34b NIV84). Now I can try to Love my brother and sister in Christ in my own strength and to some degree I may have some success. (And some may have even more success because they are more disciplined or stronger or whatever…) But if we are truly honest with ourselves, to Love as Jesus would have me Love is way beyond my ability (see Gal. 2:21). I offer a simple prayer of faith to resolve this conundrum: It goes like this: “Lord Jesus Christ, be Love in me toward _______.” Or “Lord Jesus Christ, be in me what my _____ needs right now.” And then He will not only prompt you, but empower you to “go do it”—whatever it is.
This is the Life of Faith when Living His Word. At times He will prompt us to do or say something, but at other times He may prompt us to remain quiet, or merely offer a healing, holy touch. Whatever He prompts us to do, I have found that listening to Him is crucial….
What are some ‘habits’ you use to practice listening for His promptings? Your thoughts?
Main Text— Galatians 2:20–21 (NIV84)— 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!
Additional Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.—Philippians 4:9 (NIV84)
I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.—John 15:5 (NIV84)
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”— John 14:6 (NIV84 emphasis added)
Lord Jesus Christ, I put You on as my Sword Wielder. Empower me to live Your Word as You continue to transform me by Your Holy Spirit. In Your Name, Amen.