Intentional Progress in 2022: Life Lessons From Jesus (Part 10)

by Rick

This morning we continue our journey into this new year with a focus on making “Intentional Progress.”  I shared with you six steps to intentional progress and I will walk through them over the next few weeks.  As a reminder, here are the six steps.

Here are the steps again:

1.  Pray/Discern

2.  Plan/Prepare

3.  Wait/Discern God’s Timing

4.  Execute/Measure Progress

5.  Wait/Faith & Patience

6.  Receive When Harvest Time Comes

We are looking at the first step right now: praying and discerning the will of God.  As we are looking to learn from the life of Jesus, we have looked at John chapters 5, 6, 8, and 12.  Yesterday we crossed over into chapter 14.  I stopped at John 14:10.  Today we will look at 12.

(John 14:12 NLT)  

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.”  

So what does this mean for you today?  A few things.

1.  You are called to do the “work” Jesus did while He was on the earth.  

Jesus said that we would do the “same works” He did.  I think the fact that Jesus used the word “work” may confuse people.  He was not saying work, as in human performance.  He was saying, work, as in the result.  A better word would have been “fruit,” but I don’t believe Jesus used fruit because the people He was talking to would probably not understand it.

To get the point I am making, allow me to remind you of the context of Jesus’ life.  Here are a few quick thoughts to set the stage:

— Jesus came to the earth to get us out of the mess Adam created.

— Adam did not have The Law.  Adam had God’s Spirit living inside of him, and he did all that he did by the grace of God.

— Adam had one rule to follow.  He broke that rule, he lost the Holy Spirit, and he was kicked out of the Garden as a result. 

— Abraham did not have The Law.  Abraham operated in faith, and God blessed him for it.

— The Law was given 400 years after Abraham.  Once The Law was in place, everything changed.  The emphasis was no longer on God and His amazing grace.  It was on humans and their performance; as they attempted to keep the commandments.

— The Apostle John made it plain when he said, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

— Jesus was around people who were focused on The Law, but He was ushering in a dispensation of GRACE!

— The law requires.  Grace provides.

— The law put the spotlight on man and what man had to do for God.  Grace puts the spotlight on God, what He has already done, and what He is willing to do through man.

If you can understand all of that, I will now go back to my statement.  Jesus said, “the same works,” because he was talking to people who understood The Law.  But Jesus could have said, “My life produces the fruit of the Father.  Your life will produce the same fruit.”

In Galatians, Paul did a great job of contrasting the “works of the flesh” and “the fruit of the spirit.”  

— Work is the result of effort.

— Fruit is the result of life.

— Jesus was not a “works” man.  He was a “fruit” man.

In the next chapter, John 15, Jesus explained how He is the vine.  All we have to do to produce the “works” Jesus talked about in John 14 is to be connected to the vine.  We are not the source; God is the source!  We are not making it happen.  God is making it happen by grace; we are just believing and receiving it by faith.    

— For you to do the same works Jesus did, you have to have the same mindset He had.  What is this mindset?  It is, “I can do nothing without the Father.  The words that I speak, they are not my words.  The works I perform are not my works, because I am not the one doing them.”  

— If we ever get to the point where we die to self, we stop relying on our flesh, we enter into God’s rest, and we fully embrace the grace of God, then the works Jesus did, the fruit His life produced, will be the fruit our life produces as well because it won’t be us doing it.  It will be the Father who lives in us, giving us the words and performing the work.  This is #TheGraceLife.

2.  You are called to live the same way Jesus lived.  

In order to be used of the Father like Jesus was used, we must live the way He lived.

— Jesus minimized His humanity at every opportunity.  

— He did not rely on the arm of the flesh for anything.

— He submitted to the Father in all things, He put the Father’s will above His own, and He died to self.

— He did not labor to get things done.  He only labored to enter into God’s rest.

— He knew that when a human is working, God is resting.  But when a human learns to rest, God can work through them.

— God can do through us what He did through Jesus, but we must die to self like Jesus died to self.  We must deny our flesh and selfish impulses, we must discern and submit to the impulses of the Holy Spirit, and we must constantly remind ourselves that we are a human conduit of the divine.  If we do, God will flow through us, He will do things in/with/through us that we could never do without Him, and the world will be amazed as they look at our life.  Because at that point, our life will be God’s life.  It will be the life God planned from the foundations of the world, being manifested through a human who yielded to it.

3.  You are called to make a divine impact in this world like Jesus did.  

— Jesus provided a surrendered human body, and the Father provided supernatural leading and power.  

— The combination of Jesus’ surrender and the Father’s commitment to using Him resulted in Jesus making a divine impact everywhere He went.  

— Jesus touched countless lives, and His impact is still being felt today.  All because He was willing to die to human impulses and allow the divine impulses of the Holy Spirit to be the ones that directed His life.

Do you want to be used of God?  Do you want to impact the world?  Do you want to leave an indelible mark on the lives of others?  You can, if you allow God to do it through you.  The Lord wants to impact the people and the systems of the world, and He will do it through you if you let Him.  

I hope you are enjoying these life lessons from Jesus.  I know I am!

Declaration of Faith

Father, I thank You for teaching me about Your amazing grace.  There was a time in my life when my life was all about me.  I relied on my ability, my power, my strength and my effort.  I thought I had to do everything on my own, and I had to create the life I wanted.  I have now learned that You have already planned an amazing life for me.  And You are willing to make it happen for me, in me, and through me.  All I have to do is believe it, receive it, and die to self so You can live through me to bring it to pass.  I declare that I do.  I enter into Your rest.  I no longer rely on the arm of the flesh.  I fully embrace Your grace.  You live through me, and my life will produce amazing fruit.  Since I am ready to die, I know I am ready to live.  But it is not me.  YOU LIVE THROUGH ME!  This is how I know GREATER IS COMING FOR ME because I am NOT the one doing it!  I declare this by faith!  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and prosper!

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