Today we continue our series, “As Jesus Is”, under the banner of the overall series for the year, “Supernatural Manifestation.” We have been looking at 1 John 4:16,17 for months. Recently I added Colossians 1 to it. I want to get to back to both passages today, but within the context of something that just happened to me yesterday. I will explain as we go through the message.
The Apostle John said:
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
(1 John 4:16, 17 KJV)
The Apostle Paul said:
“I am happy in my sufferings for you. There is much that Christ must still suffer. And I gladly accept my part of those sufferings in my body for the good of his body, the church. I became a servant of the church because God gave me a special work to do. This work helps you. My work is to tell the complete message of God. This message is the secret truth that was hidden since the beginning of time. It was hidden from everyone for ages, but now it has been made known to God’s holy people. God decided to let his people know just how rich and glorious that truth is. That secret truth, which is for all people, is that Christ lives in you, his people. He is our hope for glory.”
(Colossians 1:24-27 Easy To Read Version)
The Apostle John drives home the message that God is love and that He loves us with an unconditional love. The Apostle Paul drives home the message that Jesus lives INSIDE of us, and that we must be willing to both enjoy the reality of His presence, and deal with the repercussions of it as well. Paul was willing to be a partaker of the suffering associated with presenting Jesus to this world. We must be willing as well. And what keeps us going, when we face opposition, is the fact that God loves us and that we are commanded to love others.
Yesterday I shared my heart concerning the blessing it was to visit the Haitian children we are blessed to provide an education for the in Dominican Republic, and to be able to baptize new converts. As is often the case, the testimony blessed many, but it also drew ire from some. A person accused Isabella and I from “bragging” about what we are doing in the Dominican Republic, while supposedly not doing anything for Dominica, where Isabella is from. Without getting into what we are doing for Dominica, and without attempting to justify anything, my point today is that when you give your heart to God, to do good, and to re-present Jesus in this world, there will be some who come against you, because they came against Him. You must be willing to take it, to keep going, and to never allow anyone to derail you from your destiny.
So what does this mean to you today? A few things.
- When I was first Born-Again and God began to reveal my divine destiny to me, I quickly realized two things. First, God’s blessing is free. There was nothing I did to earn the life God was calling me into. It was a free gift. Second, this free gift came with a high cost. For me to become the person God called me to be, it was going to cost me everything. The life I live now has almost NO resemblance to the life I imagined in my own mind. In order for me to become the person God called me to be, I had to be willing to give up the person I had become on my own. I had to die in order to truly live. And I willingly did it, because I understood that God loves me.
- You must get to the point where you are convinced God loves you. Because if you don’t, you will never give up the life have, for the life God planned before the world began. It is knowing that God loves you and that He will never hurt you, that gives you the confidence to LET GO of your past in order to LAY HOLD of your future.
- When you embrace the life God planned and you start to live “As Jesus is, in this world”, it will be amazing. God will use you to touch and change the lives of others. You will see how one word, one hug, one touch, or one phone call, can get someone out of a bed, save a marriage, restore a relationship, or encourage the discouraged.
- When you start living “As Jesus is, in this world”, you get to participate in Jesus’ power, but you quickly learn that you must also participate in the fellowship of His sufferings. When you start doing what God tells you to do, you will be misunderstood, talked about and flat-out attacked. And the hardest part is that, in most cases, God will tell you that you cannot say a word. God will keep you from defending yourself. He will forbid you from retaliating. So you have to trust Him and allow Him to be your defense.
- Walking with God is amazing, but don’t ever forget that it is also costly. Your destiny is a free gift, that comes with a high cost. It will cost you everything and you will also receive everything in return. Be willing to give up everything and you will live “As Jesus is, in this world”
Closing Confession: Father, this is a year of Great Victory for me. I have died, in order to live. I am dying daily, so You are free to live through me daily, for all the world to see. I participate in Your power, and I also participate in Your sufferings. The servant is not greater than the Master. You were misunderstood, talked about, and attacked. I will be too. And I shall not be moved. I won’t retaliate. I won’t say a Word unless you lead me to. The enemy’s poison cannot stop my purpose. Which is why I boldly declare: “As Jesus is, so am I, in this world!” I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.