Tag Archive: change

A Little Christ in Me

I have recently been reminded that there are a lot of meanings for the word “Christian” in the world today. Everything from the simple “believe and receive”, to “following and obeying”, to a complex religion of “rights, wrongs, and rituals”, and everything in-between. But the true meaning of “Christian” is much more simple, much easier to understand, simply put it is “to be a disciple of Christ”. A disciple is so much more than just a “follower”, Merriam-Webster.com defines “disciple” as “one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another” (emphasis mine). A disciple takes action and “assists” in the spreading of the doctrines after they accept them, rather than just following along for the ride. A disciple of Christ does not “lead from behind”, we are out front, leading the way by the life we live and the fruit it produces…This means we should be digging into the Word to find out what Christ was like for ourselves, so we can become a “little Christ” and assist in spreading the doctrines (principles and teachings) of Christ. How many “Christians” do this on a daily basis?

It was the non-Christian world that first referred to Christ’s followers as “Christians” or “little Christs”; it was because Christ’s followers were different than everyone else. They did not just “follow” Christ’s teachings, they lived and taught them daily. It was easy to see who was a Christian by how they lived their daily lives, and it irritated the world. Is the world irritated with how we live our lives, or do we blend in with the world so well that the difference is unnoticeable? If we  were not to tell someone we are a Christian, would they know it by the fruit in our lives?

And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
Acts 11:26 (NKJV)

Matthew 16:24 says, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” The Greek word used in this text is “akolouthe?” meaning “to be in the same way with”. The word follow used in this verse means much more than to follow someone around, it means to be the “same as” them, to be like them. If we believe this as truth, then we can understand why the disciples were called “little Christs”, they were in the same way as Christ, they were a “mini-me” of Christ.

Salvation itself is a free gift, it cannot be bought, sold or earned (Eph. 2:28). The Bible also teaches us that our “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20); that we may not continue in sin that grace may abound (Rom. 6:1-2); and that the liberty in our salvation is not to be used as an opportunity for the flesh (Gal. 5:13). This tells us that after we are saved we are to walk in the faith of our salvation and as we do so, our lives will change to be more like Christ. We are not to use the liberty given to us by our salvation to continue living in sin, rather we are to use our salvation to live in liberty and freedom from sin…live like Christ.

Everyone commits sin, no one is perfect except Christ, but what makes a Christian different is being repentant of the sin. Repentance is not a feeling of guilt or a feeling on condemnation, rather it is remorse and sorrow for our wrong actions. Christians are “sorry” for our sins, we are remorseful for our actions that hurt the heart of our Heavenly Father and cause separation from His presence. We are to come to Him daily and repent of our sins, that we may be cleansed from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). It is our unrighteousness that separates us from God, for light cannot fellowship with darkness (1 John 1:5-6).

If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
1 John 1:6 (NKJV)

Christians who choose to continue to live in known sin with an unrepentant heart are deceiving themselves and creating a separation from God (Eph. 4:30; 1 Thes. 5:19), possibly believing a lie unto death. Those who believe they are are under liberty to do as they please are deceived, for we were not given our liberty in order to please or satisfy the flesh. These teachings and beliefs are very dangerous and may be jeopardizing the salvation of many. Christ did not call us to “make nice” to fill churches or make friends with the world. He called us to live a life of righteousness and to make disciples (His disciples). He called us to lay down our flesh and take up our cross, that we might show the world His light in us. How much of His light shines through each of us on a daily basis? Are we lighting the world around us?

There is a big difference between “believing” in Christ and being a “Christian”. Even the demons believe and tremble (James 2:19), but they are not saved. Being a Christian means you live your life in such a way that your faith and salvation is evident to those around you.

You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
James 2:19-20 (NKJV)

Each one of us have our own life to live and must walk out our faith with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12). We are all in a different place in our walk, but we are all on the same path, the path of righteousness in Christ. If it is not our goal to walk out our faith and find our righteousness in Christ, how can we call ourselves “Christian”? If we are not following His ways, how can we call ourselves “Christian”? We are to be “in” the world that we may be a light in the darkness, but we are not to be “of” the world, participating and/or condoning its ways. How can we bring correction to those around us if we do not correct the sin in our own life? How can we call others into righteousness if we are not living it ourselves? As Christians, we must set the example for others to follow, the example of a “little Christ”.

A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.
Luke 6:40 (NKJV)

Are you only a Christian on the inside, behind closed doors, or are you a “little Christ” for the world to see and follow? Ask yourself, can others see Christ in you, the way He lived, spoke, and brought correction unto righteousness? Are you striving to be like your Teacher, your Master?

When others look at your life, do they see a “Little Christ”?

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Light of Christ

light on a side of a hill

We often think of God’s grace as His “unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing “(John 1:17 AMP), but it is so much more than this. It is the power and strength to do things by His Spirit that we would otherwise be unable to accomplish. It is by His grace that the impossible becomes possible in our lives. We do not deserve His blessings in our lives nor do we deserve to walk in His wisdom or power, but we do by His grace. His grace is a wonderful thing, a gift that should not be overlooked or forgotten by anyone.

When we struggle and fight with life, we are not walking by His grace. When we feel like we want to quit and cannot go any further, we are not walking by His grace. When the storms of life knock us down, we are not walking by His grace…for it is by His grace we find His strength in our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9). It is through the many storms in our life that we learn to walk by and in His grace, the times when we can look back and see that the Lord was with us in our darkest hour (see my post “Rainbows of Life”).

How much more in our weaknesses do we see the power of God, than in our strengths?  We should not despise our weaknesses, but glory in them, for it is through them at we are able to glorify God! Even Paul said that he would gladly boast in his infirmities (his weaknesses), so that the power of Christ would rest upon him.

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  — 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)

In order to glorify God in our weaknesses, we must let His light shine during the storms of our life, becoming a lighthouse, or a city on a hill. We should not hide our light or keep it to ourselves, but instead hold it up high, letting it shine it brightly for all to see.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. — Matthew 5:14-16 (NKJV)

Just as the light in a lighthouse helps guide mariners safely to shore, the light of Christ shining in us helps others navigate through the storms of life. A lighthouse must be strong and stable, able to stand against the winds and waves of the storm; and its light must shine so brightly that is is able to pierce through the darkness. The lighthouse keeper must stay attentive to the light, making sure it does not go out, or lives might be lost on his watch. He must be prepared at all times, ready to weather any storm that may come against his lighthouse. Each storm helps him prepare for the next one, perhaps showing him a weakness that must be strengthened before the next storm arrives. If we are to be a lighthouse of God, we must be strong and stay attentive to the “Light” that shines in us.

We need to thank the Lord for the storms in our life, thank Him for adversities and people who rub us the wrong way. It is only through these storms that our weaknesses are revealed and we can be made stronger in Christ. We must surrender our will, wants and desires, accept our weaknesses, and allow His strength to carry us through the storm. It is times like these that we need to press into the Lord harder and ask Him to change us, make us stronger, to stand in the midst of the storm.

I can remember the day I learned that I needed to pray for the Lord to give me the strength to make it through, rather than praying for the Lord to remove or change something in my life. I hit my limit and I was done, I could not continue the way I was going, literally. Something needed to change, either me or the situation. I learned that I need to stop and lay whatever it is at His feet and admit that I am at my limit, that I can do nothing without Him. I learned that I could ask Him to change me, to strengthen me to deal with whatever happens in my life.

We can still ask Him to change the situation (or other person), but we need to also accept that it will more than likely be us who He will change to deal with the situation. He very rarely changes the situation, more often He changes us, making us stronger and our light brighter! It is never “fun” to go through a storm, but it is AWESOME when the Lord uses us as a lighthouse in someone else’s storm. Let your light shine, let it shine, let it shine!

We should let the light of Christ shine so brightly out of us, that we become the light at the end of someone else’s tunnel…lighting their way back home. Are you letting your light shine for other’s to see, or are you keeping it to yourself, hiding it under a basket?

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