Posts Tagged ‘being exemplary’

Being Real

February 3rd, 2014

“God blesses those who realize their need for Him.” Matthew 5:3 NLT.

Sometimes, what you have blinds you to what you could have.

My thoughts and comments today are about “being real.”

Recently my comments were about “Being Exemplary.” That’s quite a lofty aspiration. (See Monday, January 27, 2014, EDL Archive, Ever wondered how “being exemplary” would look in everyday live? I love the Bible for its practical applications. Over the next few devotionals, I would like to consider with you the practical examples that Jesus taught in His Sermon on the Mount, “The Beatitudes.” Read Matthew 5:1-12 NLT. Jesus offers extraordinary, moral and spiritual characteristics of Christ-likeness that define an exemplary life. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3 NKJV. God intends abounding blessings for your life.

(1) To those who prize nothing of their own to boast, God gives all He has to offer. “God blesses those who realize their need for Him, for the Kingdom of God is given to them.” Matthew 5:3 NLT. Spiritual sensitivity is the essential quality for this promised blessing. In my favorite children’s book, “The Velveteen Rabbit,” author Margery Williams, imaginatively describes a child’s stuffed rabbit who has the ambition of becoming “real,” not forever remaining a toy. Upon hearing the process and pain of becoming real, the rabbit, “wished that he could become real without those uncomfortable things happening to him.”

We are much like that; we wish to be people in whom the Kingdom of God flourishes, but “without uncomfortable things happening,” – without becoming real. Not realizing your need for God at all times is either pretense or delusion. Sadly, people seem to prefer God’s blessings on their own terms, not His. Jesus gave a remarkable promise with such a simple qualification. The Kingdom of God – “every place and everything within His rule and authority” – is accessible to those who realize their need – “absolute lack and complete reliance upon God.” Paul writes to people who are being real, “Knowing that you were called to this, that you might inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:9 NKJV.

Not really that complicated is it? Except that there is an inherent pridefulness and pretense of self-sufficiency that limit your willingness to admit such embarrassing need. Sometimes, what you have blinds you to what you could have. Jesus cautioned, “The cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the [Word of God], and it becomes unfruitful.” Mark 4:19 NKJV.

Jesus’ loving warning to the Church in Laodicea is relevant, “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you . .” Read Revelation 3:17-18 NIV. Unrighteous dependence on inadequate things will preempt your reliance upon God. “If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself . . Apart from me you can do nothing.” Galatians 6:3 NIV/John 15:5 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that your life be seen by others as being real.

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Being Exemplary

January 27th, 2014

“Christ . . is your example. Follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 NLT.

Personal example far outweighs impersonal instruction.

My thoughts and comments today are about “being exemplary.”

Maybe you have heard it said, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Such instruction doesn’t work so well in parenting, or relationships of any kind. The problem with such advice is this: personal example far outweighs impersonal instruction. Words take little time, minimal cost, and marginal effort to tell someone what to do. The most accurate instruction is not nearly as effective as modeling. The best teaching, and therefore most enduring learning, includes example and demonstration.

In previous comments last week, I wrote, “As God came into His world by the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, God works today in our world to bring lost people from unbelief to faith as His Word is incarnated in the very lives that have been forever changed.” But how does that work? Paul wrote to Christ-followers, “[You are] known and read by everybody, you show that you are a letter from Christ . . written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God.” 2 Corinthians 3:3-4 NKJV. (See “Living Letters,” EDL, Friday, January 24, 2014). I want to further develop how God achieves that incarnation of truth through the lives of those who know and trust Him as Savior.

Jesus’ expectation and your assignment are clear, “Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” 1 Tim 4:12-13 NLT. Now, that’s a holy mission requiring devotion and sacrifice. How can you and I bring a living word to a world where the plethora of inauthentic words and paucity of worthy examples devalue efforts?

In humility, Jesus understood, “The Son can do nothing of Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son also does [in like manner]. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all He does . . I don’t speak on My own authority. The Father who sent Me gave Me His own instructions as to what I should say. And I know that His instructions lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.” John 5:19-20 NIV/12:49-50 NLT.

The Father modeled for Jesus what He should say and do and the Son wisely followed His Father’s example with His disciples, and with us. As Jesus learned from His Father, He taught by example and modeling all the Father taught Him. To His disciples, Jesus said, “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done.” John 13:15 NLT. In your strength alone, success is impossible. You need the indwelling Word of God and anointing of the Spirit. See Colossians 3:16-17 NIV.

The calling is daunting but the solution is this simple. Christ . . is your example. Follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 NLT. If you will walk as He directs, speak what He says, and do the will of the Father as He did, you are following His example and your life will be extraordinary. “Live as children of God in a dark world . . Let your lives shine brightly before them.” Philippians 2:15-16 NLT. Being ordinary is nothing special; being exemplary is.

My prayer for you today is that you are a shining example of all that is good and holy.

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