Being different is not a goal itself but a co-product of being a faithful servant of God. When we do God’s will, we will stand out from the crowd. We will be different but God has a way to bring the best out of us. We will be blessed beyond measure.
God wants us to become more and more Christ-like. We are not holy by nature. And we don’t become holy by accident either. We need God’s grace to both save and sanctify us. How does that work?
The more time we spend with Jesus and the more intentional we are about spiritual disciplines, the more the Holy Spirit has freedom to work in us. Discipline is not legalism. Discipline is our friend. Just as obedience and faithfulness are our friends. They will make us stand out from the crowd for sure. But even they will not save us.
We can only be saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. But discipline, obedience and faithfulness will guard our hearts and keep us from evil. They will help us to die to ourselves. They will help us to stay focused on Christ and become more like him.
Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus:
Though he was in the form of God,
he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit.
But he emptied himself
by taking the form of a slave
and by becoming like human beings.
When he found himself in the form of a human,
he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Just as Jesus emptied himself we need to set aside our self-centered ways and wants. This is not a one time event. It takes a lifelong journey of self-emptying ourselves for Christ. We need grace to do so but there’s plenty available if we are interested.
God does not force us to change.
It is up to us to choose discipline, obedience and faithfulness.
It is up to us to lay down our egoistical whims and pick up our cross.
It is up to us to be different for Christ.
I realize this needs to be a daily affair. It does not take long for the Devil to bring temptations into our lives when we forget to cling to Jesus. That’s why discipline, obedience and faithfulness are our best friends. They keep us Christ-oriented and emerged into the curriculum of grace. When we are living in grace, we are truly safe. But if we try to strike on our own, the wolves are ready to attack.
The only way we can safeguard ourselves against temptations is self-emptying ourselves like Jesus did. Jesus could have made it on his own. But he chose to be obedient to his father. He poured himself out. That is the only way for us, too. We need to set aside our privileges. We need to empty ourselves and be filled with the Holy Spirit. We need to be faithful servants of God.
When we choose God, we will be empowered by grace. When we abide in Christ, we can be assured that nothing will separate us from the love of God. When we are filled by the Holy Spirit, we will be different for Christ.
Enable us to self-empty ourselves.
Fill us with your Spirit.
Make us holy like Jesus.
Because you are the source of true life.
Because you are holy and wonderful.
Because you are everything we need.
Do what you want with us.
May only your will happen in our lives.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: How do you safeguard yourself against temptations? Do you dare to be different for Christ?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you decrease and Jesus increase in you!