I started to write this piece many many months ago, actually a year ago, just after last Easter when I read a part in the Easter sunrise service about being Jarius’ daughter woke from the dead, EXACTLY like I felt and still feel. I wanted to write this discussion piece because a friend had read us scripture about angry Jesus, overturning tables at the temple… This is truly a processing piece – not a piece that God forced me to write for peace of mind, but a piece I wanted to write – to help me (and maybe others) discuss and figure out WHAT to do as a Christian… thinking about WHAT Christians are to do the day AFTER Easter, during the rest of our days here on Earth… Of what are we supposed to do now?… Awakened in Christ, now what? Just like the song lyric: “It demands my SOUL, my LIFE, my ALL.”
ALL Things To ALL People…, 28Mar
What and how do I – do we – model Jesus everyday? In every life setting? To EVERY person?
Jesus died and rose for us, but we ARE STILL HERE… We are now directed as Christians not JUST to follow Christ, but to BE Christlike… YEAH – that’s right – you and I have HARD WORK ahead of us… It’s not easy being Christlike, but we have to be!!! We are called to obey GOD’S WILL.
The scripture found me, it’s God who vines answers to us in the scriptures…. Blessedly we don’t have to live in a vacuum, we CAN read and discuss scripture freely.
This scripture vined from a counselor/apostle/friend to help answer that great question of WHAT to do to fulfill Jesus’s directive of HIS Father’s greatest commandment – which is to LOVE… BUT HOW?… That is my question for discussion… How to achieve modeling Jesus with EVERY person you meet remains the challenge. This is a challenge we as Christians are required to accept… This IS what comes after Easter, this IS the natural progression one MUST take after a Christian has awakened, one HAS to learn to LOVE unconditionally, like Jesus… To BE LIKE JESUS…
This is true WORK… First because we ourselves are still growing in Christ while we are being asked to be HIM: 1Peter 2: “rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind” and 2Peter 1: “5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love”
Yes, this is WORK – because we just don’t know where people stand, how they register what we say, (and honestly not all folks are pleasant to deal with), and not all understand our motives and some, actually many, expect things from us… Plus, trust me, we all rub some folks the wrong way sometimes… This is where we are required to empty ourselves of our own desires, forget our pride, and BE FILLED with the SPIRIT to fulfill God’s greatest commandment… TO LOVE.
Corinthians 2:15-17 “15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?”
So the scripture that tells us WHAT to do is from Paul, “BE ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE”… 1 Corinthians 9.
HOW? Here is where I long for personal discussions with my fellow awakened Christians… I long to converse with folks about living as Christ IN themselves… I long to study Christians like case studies, of how they have handled the good and the bad coming to them… I will NEVER stop being fascinated by God and HIS children… especially to study how God’s children come to REALIZE that we are ALL SAVED by GRACE and that we are all GOD’S HANDS AND FEET in this world… Some have to learn to accept without understanding, it’s ok, there is NO WAY we CAN understand it all…
When we accept that JESUS lives IN US, then we learn that we are NEW in Christ… It is then we need to learn our new place IN the world but NOT OF the world. (John 17 is an amazing read, showing JESUS’S amazing ability to LOVE.)
Because I long to understand and follow GOD’S WILL, I will ask you and myself this hard question… How are we modeling Jesus? … 2 Timothy 1:7 – “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
In 1st Corinthians 9:19-23 (NIV),
Paul discusses his “Freedom”
“19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible……… I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”
The core of this discussion revolves around multiple ways we can “Be ALL things to ALL people, so that we might SAVE some”… MODELING JESUS… Accepting that our behavior must mirror HIS…. granted we should just FEEL His behavior – we should just FEEL and accept what is the right thing to do, but since God gave us brains, we also have to think these things out… And because we are free thinkers, with free will, we have to direct and sometimes force ourselves to follow God’s law.
It IS an awesome responsibility to have been awakened into working for God and to “BE HIS hands and feet”, by letting HIM work thru us. And so we want to make sure we get this right – to present the right Jesus facet to the people.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
We all have to realize different situations require different approaches, of channeling Jesus’s LOVE and forgiveness and especially His non-judgmental state… and do this NOT for our own agendas, but for GOD’S.
There are multiple Jesus facets – I will present a few here, please let me know any other ones to add to this list, but here’s a start:
1) the angry/frustrated Jesus, and sometimes the quiet Jesus
2) the teaching/encouraging Jesus
3) the forgiving/non-judging Jesus
4) the servant Jesus
5) the listener Jesus
6) the sorrowful “Jesus wept”…
All these are rolled up into JESUS IS LOVE…
All are in the written scriptures for OUR education… All demonstrate Jesus’s teachings and LOVE for us (and Lord knows there were endless teachings that couldn’t fit in the bible)… I doubt I will EVER achieve perfect Jesus attributes, but I ask myself can I try? Can anyone help us figure this out? Well God can…
1) ANGER… Jesus did show anger/frustration, this is very telling in how He was-is human. For example: overturning tables in the temple, rallying against the Pharisees, or telling Judas to get the betrayal done and over with… Jesus knew the fate of so many – that they would NOT make it into heaven with Him, and this must have upset Him greatly, especially since he only had 3 years of active ministry, with no multimedia to the masses… So, how much anger do we demonstrate? Did he and should we cajole the people with the facts that to get to heaven you have to follow Christ commands? Being an encourager works, certainly we are to plant seeds of faith, but how long until we shake the sand off our sandals and move on when people are not open to the Word?
And when is the right time and place to be angry? We should ALL be that angry Jesus at certain times…. find that fire that Jesus had and be honest about it… We all can feel the anger Jesus had for injustices, for stumbling blocks… we all SHOULD evoke some more angry Jesus in us and right the global wrongs – but doing so with LOVE for LOVE’S sake, not ours.
Jesus sometimes demonstrated his anger stone silently… Unbending to Herod and Pilate while on trial…
How long did Jesus endure the pain? HE was stone silent often to those who persecuted HIM… He knew this day would come, He was prepared to follow HIS Father’s command. Instead of complaining, many of HIS words were used to rebuke, to teach, and to REACH those who could continue spreading God’s Word…
So, how my fellow Christians do we model angry Jesus? How do we do this as part of being loving Jesus?
2) TEACH/ENCOURAGE… Jesus wanted to teach because people need to know what to do to make the choice to follow Him to God AND people have to live the way Jesus taught them to live, for world peace, for eternal rest… Jesus is needed to re-cleanse our souls continuously!… We need to plant seeds sharing HIS teachings but doing so with LOVE for LOVE’S sake, not ours.
So, how my fellow Christians do we model teaching Jesus? How do we do this as part of being loving Jesus?
3) FORGIVE/NON-JUDGEMENTAL… Jesus forgave… Forgave publicly in order to teach us how to forgive and taught WHY we are to forgive – so that we will be forgiven.
Matthew 6:15 “But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
And Jesus forgave by assessing the situation and handling each person on a case by case basis… By looking at their heart… We have to FORGIVE, we have to do it for the greater WILL of God, not for our profit… doing so with LOVE for LOVE’S sake, not ours. We are very blessed and down right lucky that Jesus came to advocate for us! John 3: “16 For God so loved the world that HE gave HIS one and only Son, that whoever believes in HIM shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send HIS Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through HIM.”
So, how my fellow Christians do we model forgiving and non-judging Jesus? How do we do this as part of being loving Jesus?
4) SERVE….Jesus the servant takes on our burdens, removes our sins, again and again… Jesus the servant helped His mother with the miracle of changing water into wine. Jesus the servant washes our feet. Jesus was the ultimate servant to God, our father and submitted to the cross… How can we be the servant? We have to do it for the greater will of God, not for our profit… doing so with LOVE for LOVE’S sake, not ours.
So, how my fellow Christians do we model servant Jesus? How do we do this as part of being loving Jesus?
5) LISTEN… Jesus said “let the little children come to me” Matthew 19:14… Jesus listens to us, wants to hear us, longs to hear every word, even if we are not presenting our best attitude. We also need to listen to others… It doesn’t mean we are to do everything, or agree with everything… but, we should listen, listen to God’s children…
Ask them questions, sometimes we are at a loss for words, so listen instead, so that may overhear Jesus speaking to them from inside their hearts.
Of course we should listen and OBEY God ALWAYS – because we should, and because we remember others are watching us to model Christ!
So, how my fellow Christians do we model listening Jesus? How do we do this as part of being loving Jesus?
“Jesus wept”… shortest sentence in the Bible… John 11:35. Jesus was sad about Lazarus, sad about Mary and Martha’s doubting, sad about losing a friend…. All these, plus He already knew us before we were born… He was sad that we doubt God’s faithfulness and most barely know Him, God’s intent for sending Jesus was to be the advocate for us… God reconfigured all HIS plans because of Adam and Eve eating that apple, because we are blind, because we actively ignore wrongs and cause more of them ourselves… Jesus humanized God’s very difficult and sorrowful task to restore order to HIS world… Jesus wept God’s frustration at the lost souls thru no fault of their own – “forgive them for they know NOT what they do”… Jesus cried because HE was allowed ONLY the shortest earthly window of opportunity to be here on earth…Jesus wept… but it is what it is… no one said being a Christian was easy, quick or convenient!
Face it, we have limited time here too… And we would like to plant as many seeds as possible to move as many people as possible to accept Christ, and to bring World Peace, but NOT everyone is going to make it to that joyous surrender… That saddens us, especially when some close to us simply don’t get it… We try, we plant the seeds, but God is the only one who does the watering.
So, how my fellow Christians do we model weeping Jesus? We don’t model HIM… We JUST WEEP! It is OK to WEEP the tears of Jesus…
How, my fellow Christians, do we combine ALL those tasks in order to be LOVING JESUS?
WE JUST DO…
WE JUST LOVE!
Philippians 1:27-29 “…you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him”
It’s not easy folks, Christianity is tough and it is WORK… But it brings JOY… ETERNAL JOY… PEACE for keeping the PEACE here on earth. So keep the faith, keep choosing to clean out our own hearts, removing the logs from in our eyes, keep learning and modeling Jesus for God’s sake. Keep observing others and walking with them… Meet them where they are… Just like Jesus did… Ask them questions… Just like Jesus did….
JUST LOVE, BE ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE…
Freedom in Christ is to “have become all things to all people, so that by all possible means I might save some”
In closing, remember to stay strong my friends – we have the BEST job in heaven and earth – continue to do good – we are LIVING and LOVING FOR GOD!!!
“Living for God
4 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.
7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Suffering for Being a Christian
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”