As Christ-followers, we are to live as Paul states in Galatians 2:20a.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Only by living according to this spiritual transformation are we able to experience Jesus living out His counter-culture teachings in and through us. How does living in this life differ from the average Christian life?
Paul shares in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship (masterpiece), created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” He has created each of us to walk with Him in unique kingdom roles and missions, not in self-designated initiatives. His roles and missions are to be our first priority. He has designed, commissioned, and equipped us accordingly. (See Jeremiah 1:5, 9,10) When we pursue these under the control, authority, and power of His Spirit we shall experience Christ working in and through us to impact individuals and cultures just as He did during His earthly walk. Pursuing any other course in life, regardless of how others applaud us, will result in missing much or all of the masterpiece life and impact that God designed.
Walk In His Spirit
God provides His gateway to this masterpiece life through Galatians 5:25 as He commands, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Through this life of abiding in Him, we learn to permit God’s Spirit to both transform us and accomplish His kingdom missions in and through us. We learn to identify when God’s Spirit is in control as He leads through our spirit and when we have taken control and are walking in our flesh (mind, will, emotions, and body). This is imperative, because the Spirit and the flesh are adamantly “opposed to each other” (Gal 5:16, 17). Anything that is sown in our flesh is not of kingdom value. Galatians 6:7,8 instructs, “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Claiming to serve Christ through actions of our flesh is of no kingdom value and is dishonoring and destructive to His purposes, regardless of great intentions. Only Christians who learn to walk in His Spirit shall experience His masterpiece life. We learn to “see” individuals, culture, and mankind’s Christian church with His eyes. Jesus then engages these through us according to our specific roles and missions. We are no longer detoured by emulating others or complying with their expectations instead of Christ’s. The futile efforts of our flesh are replaced with the kingdom effectiveness of God’s Spirit working in and through us. Only as we walk in His Spirit are we able to live the counter-cultural life of Jesus, because He is living it in and through us.
Living in God’s Truth
God created us to stand in His Truths and live the masterpiece lives He designed. Living in His truths results from an ever-deepening relationship as we walk in His Spirit, and He provides biblical and personal revelation.
For many of us, regardless of whether we identify ourselves as evangelical, traditional, charismatic, conservative, or progressive we have decided that our “tribal beliefs” embody all truth about God and the Christian life. We congregate in our “echo” chambers that are dominated by our political, racial, religious, and socio-economic persuasions and are blinded by the enemy to truths that exist in other perspectives, even biblical truths. Church has become a political weapon for furthering our tribal beliefs instead of growing in His Spirit’s revelation of biblical truth. For many, it is a safe haven that supports us as we pursue our flesh’s definitions of secular or spiritual success. Many have laid aside pursuing God’s truths and living the counter-culture teaching and life of Jesus and replaced them with club membership in safe and comfortable “Christianity.” Grateful for salvation, they do not ask, “Whose life am I living – God’s or my own?” They pursue their own.
Lion of Judah and Lamb of God
But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose His seven seals.”
And I looked, and, in the midst of the throne and the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, …
Jesus is both the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God at all times. As we walk in His Spirit, He desires to live in and through us in all of the characteristics that He displayed on earth. He will not force us. Culture and mankind’s church have defined Jesus’s walk and His characteristics, including mercy, justice, and love, according to their cultural interpretations. These have consistently denied the actions of Jesus, the Lion, and have provided pablum definitions of Jesus’ actions as the Lamb. They have placed these expectations on generations of Christians. Our lens for how Jesus lived and desires to live in and through us is to be His walk in the gospels. We are to study them under the revelation of the Spirit and then release Jesus to live in His full identity through us. Importantly, we must be walking in the Spirit. When we are not, we futilely attempt to “act like Jesus” in our flesh and will hurt people and deter His kingdom plans.
This Christian Life Is Not a Game
So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth.
Because you say, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing” – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
Christ has chosen each member of His Body to be His instrument for touching our world in specific ways. If we do not follow His Spirit, He will ultimately accomplish our roles through someone else, but we will have forfeited the incredible life He designed. Our roles in His Church are Not A Game.
He teaches us this in many uplifting and exhorting interactions. Recently, I was serving with an urban ministry (Perish No More) which walks with people where they live. Many are faced with incredible social, economic, justice, and daily survival challenges. PNM serves by asking God what He is doing in both the spirit realm and the natural, and how they are to join Him in this. One evening a young man was killed a few blocks from us. As we prayed for God’s will on many levels, He said, “This Life is not a game! The Christian life for each believer is not a game. The spiritual lives of many unsaved individuals and the masterpiece lives of immature Christians are at stake and depend on His Church. The very lives of many people are at risk every day, and most of them do not know Jesus. Although the immediate danger of death by violence, sickness or addiction is not as imminent in all areas of the world (as it is where we stood), it is just as real. Whether individuals have wealthy and comfortable lives or are subject to tidal waves of danger, they are all facing spiritual death every second. This is not a game!” His followers are to be fully engaged in the unique roles He designed.
We are to set the safe and comfortable imitation of Christianity aside and permit God’s Spirit to transform us so that, as we walk in His Spirit, Jesus lives His counter-culture life in and through us to impact culture for His justice and mercy and amplify the voice of the marginalized.