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Freed Living in Christ
We shouldn't claim to know anything that we haven't put into practice. Christ-followers as well as anyone who sincerely wants to know anything will learn by doing. This is both humbling as well as re-assuring; this means it's not enough just to say the right answers.
As we follow Christ, He will develop our spiritual palate for truthfulness and openness before God. Christ will free us to embrace a reality-based spirituality.
This means, if we set out to teach someone something good, then we should make sure, first of all, that we are good. The true quality of our heart will affect (or teach) people more significantly than the nice words that we say.
One of Christ's first lessons for us, as we set out for the first time to follow Him, is to teach us our humble place in His kingdom. He will liberate us from insecurities so we can acknowledge whether or not we have a clue about spiritual realities. We will learn not to be more spiritual than God.
Spiritual awakening of any kind is painful at first, like blood rushing into an arm after it's been asleep for an hour. Soul-baring truth is excruciating for those who are used to measuring their spiritual qualifications according to religious accomplishments. But this is a necessary growing pain. This is a vital part of embracing Christ's reality.
The freedom to embrace Christ's reality is far superior to all the religious success in the world. Gritty soul-inspection leads us to spiritual doors we never new existed. These doors open up to all the heavenly possibilities of trusting Christ.
The Biblical account of the early church is useful for us these days as an example of practical, unassuming spirituality. Though we should not try to imitate them, we should imitate their sincere approach to following after Christ.
The early church was in the business of obeying Christ. There is no other explanation for that church's existence.
Early Christ-followers couldn't have faked their faith because they were the first of their kind. It is impossible to counterfeit something that has never previously existed. It is especially difficult for a large room full of people to simultaneously fake something they've never heard of before.
Even apart from miraculous occurrences, these early believers were such a relationally tight-knit assembly that putting on an artificial, spiritual show would have seemed silly to them. Nowadays, depending on what part of the country you're in, a Spirit-led response to a modern preacher might sound like, "Whoa der Bob, you can quit the yellin and the preachin... where standing right next to ya eh. Why don-cha sit down nice and have some hot cider wid us der eh. C'mon der, Bob be a sport. Give somebody else a chance to get a word or two in now and again eh."
Besides, local churches knew how genuine each other's faith was by experience. People knew how much their friends had been seasoned by trials because they all went through those same trials together. If the church sent anyone out in Christ's name, then these sent-ones (apostles) would have been known by the fruit of their lives to be spiritual ground-breakers.
Another useful reality check for us is, the New Testament church we read about so often couldn't function apart from the Holy Spirit. They literally depended on the God to survive. Can you imagine?
They knew who to recognize as what among them, whether elders, teachers, pastors, prophets, evangelists, apostles or whatever else, because the Spirit explicitly told them these things. These first believers were free to come and go however the Spirit commanded them.
If we still follow the same Savior, then we ought to imitate the earliest church's genuine Spirit-led-ness. They listened to Christ and obeyed Him. He led them and they followed.
Genuine faith is difficult. Reality-based faith is courageously venturing into unknown territory with only one Leader and one Source of confidence: Jesus Christ.
by Patrick Roberts. Find additional resources at www.BooksByPatrick.com
Patrick is an average Christ-seeker. His goal is to turn people to Jesus Christ.
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