Monday, January 9, 2012
Read All About It!
These past weeks, I have been reading and enjoying a book by Brennan Manning titled, The Signature of Jesus. Last year our cell group decided to do a study on Manning’s book, The Furious Longing of God. Since my introduction to his writings, I have purchased a few of his books and have enjoyed reading both his thoughts and his experiences. The Signature of Jesus, has been working on my heart. Manning is up to his usual flair of convicting Christ’s followers of their shortcomings; their sins. I don’t know about you, but I welcome the convictions. I need the convictions. My heart is constantly tossed hither and yon. My tongue is a fire that corrupts my entire person, as James references in his third chapter. Oh, what a sinner I am; a sinner who, without the grace of the Lord, would surely be eternally damned. “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.” John 3:16(NIV) Many Christians believe God to be an angry God. If you are one who believes this, read the Scripture verse above again. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son.” God loves you. God gave his son for you and for me. What a sacrifice, indeed! Jesus loves the Father. He obediently gave his life so you and I might be saved from eternal damnation. It was the only way. Mark 14:36, Jesus prayed at Gethsemane: “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (NIV) As Manning correctly states, most church going Christians are willing to go half way; we are committed to following Christ…..half way. Beyond that, we fail miserably. To follow Christ is to live a life patterned after his. Christ taught that we are to live a life of simplicity, not consumerism. We are to live a life in love; a life that values all people and does not wait to understand. To follow Christ is to live a life in peace. These are the standards Christ taught. These are the principles we are to live by. I am a half way Christian. I am striving, through the Lord, to live in his teachings. I am working towards becoming more Christ like. Would you join with me? It is far better to battle against the world’s standards and fight the good fight of faith; true faith. Perhaps, if enough of us join in the battle, we will make a difference. It must start somewhere. Manning writes that in the early church community, Christians were known by their love. This was so because there were many many Christ followers who practiced the teachings and the way of life of Christ Jesus. We must deny ourselves in order to do this; we must kill off the flesh. But these will be our most treasured blessings. I believe this because I have experienced it. My prayer is that we will all desire to be more like Christ; we will all desire to truly make a difference in our life and in the lives of those around us.