Living the Life, Walking the Talk

Shyju Mathew

"Experience the Word of God, in the power of the Spirit."

March 1, 2012

This entry is part 25 of 30 in the series Featured Bible Study: 30 Christian Basics

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Jesus regularly amazes me. The truth is that He should always amaze me.

What He says is staggering. What He does is mind blowing. And yet one of the greatest battles we face is to stop domesticating Him, to stop taming Him, to stop making Him seem like other men and women. Over familiarity and casualness comes simply because we might have read a “story” before, and then we lose sight of how amazing what He said and did really is.

Many Christians lose it, and when they do their life as a disciple becomes less about walking the talk, less about being amazing just as Jesus was amazing and more about getting by, about being blessed, about survival. No longer are they longing to be radical, they stop changing the world, they stop even challenging the world.

Being a disciple of Jesus is about much more than going to church or what you say, about being blessed by a raise at work, about speaking in tongues or seeing someone healed. Don’t get me wrong those things are great and we should be thankful to God for them.

Yet let me walk you through a few things Jesus said and along the way maybe you can ask, “Am I walking the talk and living the life?” (All references below are from the ESV unless otherwise stated.)

1. Who Do You Love?

Luke 10:27, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”

Heart, soul, strength and mind – no part of your being should be left untouched by your love for Jesus. Love Jesus in all that you do and say and think. Love Jesus in the morning when you wake, love Jesus at work or school, love Jesus when you rest and love Jesus when you play. LOVE JESUS!

I had a friend who regularly got very upset with other car drivers in India. Seeing and listening to him I joined in. Then I realised, “How can I love God in driving my car if I am acting so badly to other drivers?” I had become a hypocrite. Think about what you do, is it for the glory of God? How about what you say, Jesus spoke amazingly challenging words about what comes out of your mouth,

Matthew 12:34, 36, 37 For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks…I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Can you say the things you say and say at the same time I love Jesus? If you can’t it’s time to repent.

2. Who Do You Serve?

Luke 10:27 and [love] your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 7:12, 25:40 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets…Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

Jesus connected loving God with loving your neighbor – this is walking the talk.
Have you ever thought about how revolutionary the command in Matthew 7:12 is? And note it is a command not a suggestion. I have heard people talk about this in terms of sowing and reaping, what you want someone to do for you do for someone else, then you will be blessed as Jesus gives it back to you.

Sorry, Jesus doesn’t say that here, He is looking for people who are prepared to serve as an act of worship. This is not serving because you will get something back, but serving because you love and honour Jesus by doing it. Read Matthew 25:31-46, then look for the hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick and imprisoned – and serve them.

Jesus did not ask you to sit around and think about this, in fact it has inspired generations of Christians since the first century to go out and change the world for the better.

People like William Wilberforce who was a leader in the abolition of slavery, Florence Nightingale who did much to develop nursing and caring, Amy Carmichael who worked in Southern India rescuing children from temple prostitution, all worked knowing God had called and equipped them to change their world through loving, caring and challenging. Are you changing your world?

3. What Are You Leaving?

Luke 9:23-24, And He said to all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”

Jesus  said that following Him would be a costly business. A.W Tozer describes the road to the cross like this,

“The old cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. In Roman times, the man who took up his cross and started down the road was not coming back. He was not going out to have his life re-directed.  He was going out to have it ended.”

A missionary with New Tribes said this,

Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter.

Your life is an amazing gift from God. Living life to the full is only achieved by filling it with Jesus and all He has planned for you. Don’t waste your life.

4. Who Are You Blessing?

Matthew 5:43-45 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.

Wow, did you really get that? Now do it!

5. What Do You Lack?

Mark 10:21 “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

What was it that the rich young man lacked? Read Mark 10:17-22 and it is clear that Jesus saw a man who desired God, had acted righteously (at least in the worlds terms) honouring his father and mother, keeping the commandments. Yet Jesus looked at him and loved him knowing he still lacked the confidence to trust God.

He lived his life in self effort, in self righteousness, and whilst that looked good to the people around him it still fell a long way short of God’s standards for his life. It is easy to declare Jesus is my Lord and not fully give control to him.

Are there areas where Christ is not fully and unreservedly Lord of your life – areas you hold back from him because of fear or insecurity, or because you want Jesus and the world (or some part of it)? The perfect love of God casts out all such fears from our lives (1 John 4:18). God declares that His ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8,9). Is it time for you to surrender all to Jesus – fears, hopes, desires? He is faithful and can be trusted to bring something glorious out of it.

6. Are You Living in Spirit and Word?

Luke 4:1-2,4 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days,being tempted by the devil….The devil said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written,‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’”

There has been a lot written about living a victorious Christian life. Undoubtedly Jesus was 100% surrendered to the will of his Father. In that state He was filled with the Holy Spirit and lived the power of the Scriptures, they were not just words in a book but living power from God to defeat every accusation and breathe life into a weary body.

Only then could He overcome the temptation of the evil one, not because of Himself but because of the power God had provided. Loving Jesus and living for Him, cannot be accomplished through willpower or sheer determination – you need God’s power (Philippians 4:13). Get the right balance in your life of the Spirit and the Word of God and victory is possible.

7. What are You Seeking?

Matthew 6:21-22, 33, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Let me finish with two quotes – firstly, from Viola and Sweet’s excellent book, The Jesus Manifesto,

“The reality is that Christ trumps everything. All scripture testifies of Him. The Father exults Him. The Spirit magnifies Him. The angels worship Him. The early church knew Him as her passion, her message, and the unction of her life. Christ was her speciality. He was her bridegroom and head. She specialized in nothing else. …The New Testament writers were totally consumed with Christ. He was their message, their teaching, their proclamation, their very life. And everything else flowed out of intimate fellowship with Him.”

The second is from the Bible, Hebrews 12:2-3 (The Message),

“Keep your eyes on Jesus, Who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God – He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility He plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”

Discuss: What is your greatest motivation in following Jesus?


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