Bible Top 1000



The Realm Of The Real
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"In your patience possess ye your souls."
(Luke 21:19)

When one's born again, there's not the same robustness in his thinking or reasoning...for a time, as formerly. We have to make an expression of the new life, to form the mind of Christ. "Acquire your soul with patience." Many of us prefer to stay at the threshold of the Christian life instead of going on to construct a soul in accordance with the new life God's put within. We fail because we're ignorant of the way we're made, we put the blame to the devil instead of our own undisciplined natures. Think what we can be when we're roused!

There are certain things we must not pray about---moods, for instance. Moods never leave by praying---moods go by "kicking". A mood nearly always has its seat in the physical condition, not in the moral. It's a continual effort not to listen to the moods which arise from a physical condition, never submit to them for a second. We have to take ourselves "by the scruff of the neck and shake ourselves", and we'll find that we can do what we said we couldn't do. The curse with most of us is...that we won't. The Christian life's one of incarnate "spiritual pluck".
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"Yes-But...!"

"Lord, I will follow Thee; but . . ."
(Luke 9:61)

Supposing God tells us to do something which's an enormous test to our common sense...what are we gonna do? Hang back? If we get into the habit of doing a thing in the physical domain, we'll do it every time until we break the habit determinedly; and the same's true spiritually. Again and again we'll get up to what Jesus Christ wants, and every time we'll turn back when it comes to the point, until we abandon resolutely. "Yes, but---supposing we do obey God in this matter, what about . . . ?" "Yes, we'll obey God if He'll let us use our common sense, but don't ask us to take a step in the dark." Jesus Christ demands of the one who trusts Him the same reckless sporting spirit that the natural man exhibits. If one is going to do anything worth while, there's times when he has to risk everything on his leap, and in the spiritual domain Jesus Christ demands that we risk everything we hold by common sense and leap into what He says, and immediately we do, we find that what He says fits on as solidly as common sense. At the bar of common sense Jesus Christ's statements may seem mad; but bring them to the bar of faith, and we begin to find with awestruck spirit that they're the words of God. Let's trust entirely in God, and when He brings us to the venture, let's see that we take it. We "act like pagans" in a crisis, only one out of a crowd is daring enough to bank his faith in the character of God.
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Christ-like Examples...

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
(Matthew 5:16)

I know many people who feel it's hypocritical and proud to invite others to follow them as examples of Christ. They say that we're all sinners and nobody's perfect. Yet Paul spoke several times encouraging others to follow him (and us) as he followed Christ and being an example. (Philippians 3:17; 1Peter 5:2,3; 1Corinthians 11:1) One individual in disputing this admonition said: "I take the name of a Christian to be of a much higher standard than you do. It means Christ-like and I have yet to see anyone here in this world fit that discription, but Christ himself. "

How do we reconcile Paul's statements with this idea that nobody can truly be Christ-like? How do we reconcile Paul's directions for us to be 'examples' with that thought?

As far as there being any Christ-like people who are truly living like Jesus... I've know a quite a few. And I don't believe anyone would have any problem calling them "Christians" The Word says the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. (Acts 11:26) If you notice here, it WASN'T the followers of Jesus who called themselves 'christians'---it was those looking on. We should ask ourselves why.

A hint to this might be found in the account of Peter and the cock crowing.. They said to Peter, "Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech betrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man." (Matt. 26; 73, 74)

How did they know Peter was a follower of Christ? Because he spoke like Jesus. We can know this didn't involve just preaching the things Jesus said, because when they said that, Peter began to curse and swear as a way of proving that he didn't follow Jesus. Evidently Jesus didn't talk like that.

The thing that made them "Christians" was the fact that the world looking on could recognize Christ in them.

I've gotten in trouble many times by holding the standard that if we're saved, we must cease from sin---the more evident things (the things that even the world recognizes as 'sin') immediately, the more personal things (individual things that God points out in our lives as hinderances to our walk with Him) and the 'gray' areas...as Christ shows them to us.

Why is our witness so lacking in the world today? Why is the concept of being a Christian such a laughing stock in the world today? Why must we have to TELL people we're Christians? Why do so many youth of 'christian' background go looking for answers in other religions?

Might it be that we're not recognizable as Christians by our actions and our speech (again, not our 'preaching' and 'witnessing' but by our language and attitude) If we live and act just like the sinners around us, how can we expect them to recognize us as Christians? No wonder there's so much religious confusion in the world when the ordinary man looking on can't tell "the cowboys from the indians", so to speak.

As Paul tells us, we are to be examples that others may recognize how Christ wants us to live by our own lives.

Our goal shouldn't be that we're able to call ourselves Christians, but to live in such a way that others will call us Christians.




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