Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 29, 2013 … True Followership

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 149

Passage of the Day #1: 2nd Corinthians 5: 15 [with verses 14-15] [NLT]
14 Whatever we do, it is because Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for everyone, we also believe that we have all died to the old life we used to live. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live to please themselves. Instead, they will live to please Christ, who died and was raised for them. 
Contextual Study for today’s passage: 2nd Corinthians, Chapter 5 [NLT] … Go to this link

Reference Passage #1: 1st John 2: 5-6 : [Whose are we, really!?] …[NLT] … 
3 And how can we be sure that we belong to him? By obeying His commandments. 4 If someone says, “I belong to God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and does not live in the truth. 5 But those who obey God’s word really do love Him. That is the way to know whether or not we live in Him. 6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Christ did.

Reference Passage #2: Luke 9: 23 : [Yes, again!] …[NLT] … 
23 Then He said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow Me."

My Journal for Today: Okay … I’m challenged today in my study of Os Hillman’s devotional. However, in general, I think I came through with the true colors of followership as a Christian in meditating on those scriptures referred to above from my devotional today.

Yes, this morning, my devotional related a projection of the numbers and types of “disciples” who were followers of Jesus during His walk on earth. Hillman related that there were likely several thousand who followed Jesus as hopeful believers, desiring that He truly was the Messiah; but many of these fell by the wayside when Jesus died on the cross. Then there were likely several hundred of more die-hard followers, many of these likely witnessed Jesus after the resurrection; and many of these followed Christ with changed lives, some of them being martyred for their faith.

 Then there were the inner core of “Disciples,” those who truly believed and whose lives were totally changed in their total surrender to Christ in those days of the early church. The most obvious group of those were eleven of the twelve early “Disciples” chosen by Jesus Himself, with a few add-ons after the resurrection, one of whom, Paul, who ended up writing much of the New Testament. These latter were the followers of total surrender, … the “real-deal” disciples of Christ, … the followers who lived as Christ lived and were living examples of “Christlikeness.”

Today, Hillman asked his readers, me included, to which group of followers do we align ourselves? Are we part of the group who acknowledge Jesus as the Christ and hope He is truly the Messiah? Or are we those who’ve really had a life-changing experience; and we’re willing to stand-in-the-gap with our witness for Christ? Or, even more up-close-and-personal, do we identify our lives with that smaller group of disciples who walk-the-walk and live lives as followers of Christ of total surrender, walking with Him daily and living for His glory as His lights in the midst of the darkness of this world (see Matt. 5: 16)? Which are we … Hopeful and broken believerswanton and willful witnesses … or …sold-out, surrendered soldiers?

I don’t want to seem like a bragger here; but I’m casting my lot in the latter camp, though I must admit my self-classification as “sold-out” or “surrendered” may be challenged by others, like my wife, when I’m uncovered in moments of selfishness or self-pity, especially when times get tough. I can have momentary lapses of die-hard followership where I’m not the surrendered soldier I really want to be in my life. But I think my heart is one of surrender; and I choose to come here each day, seeking to surrender my mind and heart to the Mind of God in my desire to get to know My Lord and to be reshaped by His Spirit?

So, if you’re reading along with me here, identifying yourself as Christian, with which group of followers or disciples would you align yourself; and what is your honest evidence for putting yourself into that group? … 
1. Hopeful and Broken Believers – those who know they need a Savior but are followers seeking to find the Lord of life …
2. Wanton and Willful Witnesses – those who walk the walk of faith and are developing a closer and more abiding relationship with Christ daily …
3. Surrendered and Sold-Out Warriors - those who are on the front lines of daily spiritual warfare, fighting the fight of faith and using their Spirit-given gifts to glorify God by living willfully like Jesus.

If, from this classification, you’re moving from #1 to #3 in your life or maybe definitely seeing yourself in #2 or #3, PTL for your witness and your desire to be and live more like Christ today than yesterday and following Him more closely tomorrow than today.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, You know my heart; and You know where I stand in my walk with You; and I so desire to shine Your light more brightly today than yesterday and even more brightly tomorrow. … Amen

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