Monday, October 10, 2016

October 10, 2016: Counterintuitive Christlikeness

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2016 - Day 284 

Devotional Song:  … GO TO THIS LINK …  Please take the time to take in a You Tube video of Steven Curtis Chapman singing in song … His Strength Is Perfect, powerfully declares where find our strength to become like Jesus.

Highlight Passage: Colossians 3:2-3 [NKJV] …
12 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 
… If we become what we think (see Prov. 23:7 - NKJV), then we must think the way Christ did/does to become like Him.
Highlight Context: Colossians 2:20-3:4 [NKJV] … USE THIS LINK 
… What Paul was teaching just didn’t seem natural to those he wrote about Christ; … and that’s the point!!

Reference Passage #1 … Proverbs 23:7 [NKJV] …
7 As a man (or woman) thinks in his (or her) heart, so is he (or she) … 
… We become what we think.

Reference Passage #2 … Romans 12:1-2 [NKJV] …
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 
 … Just because something feels natural or is the way the world does it, doesn’t make it right in God’s eyes.

Reference Passage #3 … Galatians 2:20 [NKJV] …
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 
 … When we die to self, we can live for Christ.

My Journal for Today:  … Our Daily Bread author, Tim Gustafson, used the Apostle Paul’s letters to the early church to teach about how counterintuitive Christian living can so often be. He wrote: As we follow Jesus, we find much that is counterintuitive. …. So what are we to do? Paul gave the answer. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above” (Col. 3:1). “You died,” he told people who were still very much alive, “and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (v. 3). 
We are to consider ourselves “dead” to the values of this world and alive to Christ [Gal. 2:20]. We now aspire to a way of life demonstrated by the One who said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (Matt. 20:26).  
Consider what these counterintuitive principles from the Bible might mean for you: “Whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Matt. 16:25). “The last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matt. 20:16). “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10). 

In my youth back in the 60s-70s, when I was trying to find my way in the world, there was a magnetic natural philosophy which drew young people to do wild and crazy things. “If it feels good, do it!” … so the life-leading tenant went. But when I came to Christ, I came to realize that following Him was counterintuitive to what comes naturally.

And that’s what Paul was trying to get across to disciples of Christ in his day, as we read in the principles of discipleship he wrote to various Christians, … all of which apply to us today [see Scriptures above]. The reality is as Steven Curtis Chapman sings (linked song), … we are weak; but in Christ we find strength. Or as Paul wrote to the Galatians [see Gal. 2:20], in Christ we are crucified to self and can now live for the Savior.

Today, I’m challenged to remember that if it feels natural, I must throw up the red-flag of warning and beware of my own nature; … because Christ would want His strength to cover my weakness in avoiding what comes natural.

My Prayer Today: Lord, help all of us who are weak to the natural self to live in counterintuitive Christlikeness. Amen

Blogger Note:  Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries.  If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

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