What does it mean to be like Jesus?

We shouldn’t be surprised that things are getting worse, should we? If I remember correctly, the Bible explicitly told us that would happen (2 Timothy 3:13). But when things seem to be falling apart in the world around us, we have to constantly re-evaluate what it means to be like Jesus.

Does being like Jesus means we have to be a Republican? Does it mean we have to hate the LGBTQ community? Does it mean that we should cloister ourselves under the ground and wait for the end of Armageddon so we don’t have to expose ourselves to so much sin?

It seems to me that even a lot of people who claim to follow Jesus Christ are confused about how to be like Him in our current world-wide circumstances. Especially Americans. *Mentally preparing for backlash against this post.* I see people posting things like, “Well, they said this,” or “This person said that.” You know what? I don’t care. I want to know what Jesus said. And so here is a list of things Jesus told us to do as a reminder for me and anyone else who needs it.

Photo by Bruno Martins on Unsplash

What does it mean to be like Jesus?

I’m not going to ease into this, so if it smarts… good. I hope it hurts you just as much as it hurts me. Let’s feel the pain together and try to be more like Him, shall we? Feel the burn, people.

“But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, ‘You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.’” – Mark 10:42-45 NKJV

Whatever we think we’re entitled to… we aren’t. It’s just that simple. We are instructed to be servants. We are instructed to be last. Why? Because if we do that, we’re in good company with Jesus… the One who gave “His life a ransom for many.” Jesus sacrificed His own rights and entitlements unto death, and He’s the only one that actually deserved worship, praise, and any other thing He could be given. What should that fact do to our perspectives? God, I pray you would break us. Help us to see things the way You do.

“’Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.’” – Mark 11:24-25 NKJV

This verse is much more than a simple exhortation. Instead, this verse invites us to investigate to the very last recesses of our souls and ask the question, “Do I have anything against ANYONE?” But let’s be specific. I want to ask a question I think every single one of us needs to answer before our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ… Is there a specific group of people we hate? Do we justify our hatred by saying that this group is a group of sinners? Our entire world is one large group of sinners. I am a sinner. You are a sinner. We are all sinners. Jesus came to us while we were still His enemy in sin and died on the cross to cover our sin debt! Why do we assume He can’t do that for everyone?

How many of our prayers (unselfish prayers that honor God and fulfill His purposes in our lives) are hindered because we have things against others? It’s a question worth thinking about.

I’m just going to leave this one here.

“‘Therefore do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” ‘For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.’” – Matthew 6:31-34 NKJV

Also… here’s a verse I think most of us don’t believe anymore.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:10 NKJV

Photo by Drew Hays on Unsplash

How Much Like Him Are We?

Maybe, like me, you’re frustrated with the state of the Church. Every day I have to resist the urge to become disillusioned with other Christians who say racist things or defend hateful positions or blame victims for being violated. It’s hard. They are not accurately representing Christ and that makes actually representing Him a lot harder. These days when I tell non-Christians that I am a Christian their enthusiastic response of meeting someone new dulls. That breaks my heart because it shouldn’t be that way. Jesus was passionate, compassionate, loving, and full of merciful truth. How much like that are we, His followers?

A lot of time I just want to keep to myself as to avoid all the posturing and arguments, but I know that’s not the answer. The only thing that gets me through, that helps me to emerge from my introvert cocoon everyday is to remember what Jesus said, what He did, and how He still transforms hopeless bitter people like I used to be into liberated loving children of His Kingdom.

The Short Version

I know you want me to answer the questioned I posed at the beginning of this post. I could do multiple posts on each (and in some cases I have covered these topics in past posts or in one of my books)… but the short answers are: Jesus would not be a Republican (or any politician… He’s the King), Jesus loves the LGBTQ community and wants to see them come to a saving knowledge of Himself, and to answer the third question… no bunker… we should avoid separating from people who aren’t in the church. In the world, not of the world doesn’t translate to completely apart form the world.

May the verses shared in this post penetrate our hearts, minds, and souls to be the change we need to see in today’s church body. Amen?

“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” – Jesus (via John 9:5 NKJV)

Sincerely adorned,

Kristin

Christian, You Must Stop!

This article has been co-authored by my husband, Travis, and I.

A Christian can be defined as a follower or disciple of Jesus; someone who believes Jesus is the Christ or Messiah.

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Let’s remember what “Christian” is supposed to mean.

“Only God is able to judge righteously therefore His yardstick, the Bible kept in context, is the measure we use to judge with righteous judgement (John 7:24). The same is true when mature Christians point out false teachings in the church; it isn’t the Christian who’s passing judgement, but God’s Word which exposes false doctrine. The mature Christian is really just the messenger who unfortunately often gets an ear bashing from immature Christians who haven’t studied God’s Word sufficiently to understand right from wrong doctrine.” -‘From Fiery Trials to Freedom’ by Marisa De More

Over the past few months, we have seen all different kinds of Christians (including pastors) doing something that deeply grieves Jesus Christ. If you are really a Christian and believe and follow Jesus out of love for Him, then you need to walk as He did (1 John 2:6). Nowhere does the Bible say that it is ok to hate a group of people, or stir up hatred towards them, because they are different. That phenomena is called “xenophobia” (fear of strangers/foreigners), and Jesus never said that kind of behavior was acceptable. In fact, He taught the opposite. He said that we would be hated, but that we were not to hate.

“And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will end will be saved. When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant about his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the mast of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” -Matthew 10:22-28

Do you see? You shouldn’t fear people, you should fear God. What does God tell us to do regarding those that are lost? Should we expel them, exclude them, and hate them? Absolutely not!

Love Not Hatred

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.” -Matthew 28:16-20

I want to emphasize two parts of this verse. The first is that we are to “make disciples of all the nations”. Not the nations we think deserve Jesus Christ. That is pure blasphemy and we see that God dealt with Jonah harshly when he refused to share God’s word in Ninevah. The second part that needs to be emphasized is that we are to teach them to observe all things that Jesus has commanded. That means we ought to be observing the commands of Jesus ourselves. But what did Jesus command?

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love another; as I have loved you, that you love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13:34-35

You may be thinking, “but this verse is in regards to other Christians.” However, if we look at the other teachings of Jesus, we will see that it simply isn’t that exclusive. In several other places we see that Jesus calls us to love our enemies, and not just love them, but care for them.

“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.” -Luke 6:35

Whatever justifications you have been giving for spreading hate, you need to stop now. First of all, you are grieving your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit by doing so.

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth [Keyboard], but that which is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” -Ephesians 4:29-32

Second you are misrepresenting God to everyone around you!

If you are a gentile (non-jew) then you are a foreigner who God has graciously extended the good news of Jesus Christ to.

“Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” -Isaiah 49:6

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” -Ephesians 2:13

“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.” -Romans 10:12

Paul – Former Terrorist

Another common fear is that some of these refugees are actually terrorists. Fortunately for us, God loves terrorists. Paul the Apostle literally terrorized the church. He beat up and dragged people in chains because he thought that he was doing God’s will. He stood by and held the coats of his fellow terrorists as they murdered Stephen (Acts 7:58, 8:3). “Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against disciples of the Lord…” -Acts 9:1

When you read the Bible, the change in Paul is apparent, and God wants to work that same transformation in others as well.

“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” -Jeremiah 32:27 (see also Gen. 18:14).

Single, Young Men

Does the Bible say anywhere that God only wants to save women and children? No, God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (John 3:16).  By deciding who we should hate or love based on gender or age, we are going against this verse. “…who is the Savior of all men, especially to those who believe.” -1 Timothy 4:10 

We are playing god, determining for ourselves whom we should reach out to. It is idolatry, and it is wrong. We must follow Jesus and God’s Word if we are going to identify ourselves as Christians. Of course, there is also the issue of reunification rights, which many people don’t understand.

No More of a Miracle

Do you realize that it is a miracle that God forgave your sins? “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2

According to the principles of justice and holiness there is no reason God should have allowed that to happen, but in His infinite grace and mercy He provided a way through the Sacrificial love of Jesus Christ. He created a way for us to be reconciled to Him and spend eternity in heaven. It is no more a miracle that God could forgive the sins of a terrorist than it is for God to forgive us of our sins. Every person on this planet is God’s creation and God wills for them to be reached with His gospel. When you declare that certain groups of people are not worthy of being helped, you are saying that God’s creation is not worth your time. Do you really want to go against God?

This testimony from Naghmeh Abedini (whose husband, Saeed Abedini a Christian pastor, is in prison in Iran due to his Christian faith) should be enough to encourage us to love Muslims in order to win them to Jesus Christ:

“I remembered coming to the United States 30 years ago with my family in order to escape the war between Iran and Iraq. We were Muslim. But here in the United States we were given the opportunity to hear about Jesus and to accept Him as our Lord and Savior. May we be the Hands and Feet of Jesus to these precious Muslims. That they would know that their Maker LOVES THEM and HE gave His life for them on the cross so that they can be reconciled with God. Oh how I pray for the Muslim nations. I know that Saeed is praying for them as well. May we embrace them instead of rejecting them. May we act in love instead of fear.”

Stop

Please stop. Stop sharing hate inducing misinformation on social media. Stop participating in hateful discussions about refugees and Muslims. You are wrong. You are in sin, and you need to repent.

Please use the internet to research and verify facts from reputable outlets, not fascist and racist blogs or Social Media posts. Use Tineye to search images to see where they came from originally. Above all we should be using God’s Word to determine our world view.

Sincerely Adorned,

Travis and Kristin

For more edifying information on this crisis, please read this article by an involved Hungarian pastor. Also, this article or information on the Hungarian Helsinki Committee. Chinese-Canadian perspective on migrant issue.

The Basics: Trusting God

If You Don’t Know Him, You Won’t Believe Him

This is the second post in the series, “The Basics,” which goes through the basic things we believe as Christians.

Today I wanted to talk more about why it is important to know God. In the last post, “Getting To Know God,” I talked about why it is important to know what the bible is, how to use it, and why we all need to let our relationship with the Lord get way more serious. I quoted many bible verses. The next thing we need to talk about is trusting God.

Trusting God_2 the bible is a love letter

As a Christian there are certain perks (or advantages) that we have, because we know Someone that has inside information into everything. God knows everything that has happened in the past, and He knows everything that will happen in the future. He is all knowing (or omnipotent). In fact He created everything, so He knows exactly how things are supposed to work. Not only does He know, but He gave us the bible, which is a love letter that contains details about how everything in our lives should be approached for maximum joy, growth, and fruitfulness.

Can you imagine what your life would be like if you had a friend that knew literally everything (let’s also try to imagine that this person isn’t extremely arrogant. I know, unlikely, but stay with me). Wouldn’t you ask their advice before you made decisions? Wouldn’t the fact that you knew someone with access to any type of information change the way you live your life? Let me throw one more factor into this hypothetical situation. Imagine you have not known this person for very long and you don’t know if you can trust them. Wouldn’t your ability to trust that person shape the way you behave when they give you advice or information? Read more

Giving Up Rights To Your Husband

Giving Up Rights To Your Husband

While we were visiting the States, I felt a strong urging from the Lord to think about my husband, and what my life would be like if he wasn’t as present in my life. He surrounded me with women, and testimonies of women that were choosing to give up their rights to their husbands. There are seasons we go through in our lives as well as in our marriages. There have been seasons in my life where I felt like a single mother because my husband was working several jobs to provide for us. All of the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of our daughter were my sole responsibility and it was exhausting. Looking back I can see that I did not deal with that season in the best way. I was angry and resentful that my husband chose to be away from us, but that is the completely wrong way to feel about these kinds of situations. He was not choosing to be away from me and our child, he was providing so we would have a place to live and food on the table. Bitterness does not lend itself to common sense. Being angry at our spouse is counter productive and satan knows that. What better way to discourage our husbands than to fight with them when they do have time off?

Frustrated With The Situation

If I was looking at this from a worldy approach I might say something like, “Obviously it is counter productive to be angry at your husband, but it is fine to be frustrated with the situation.” But that isn’t how the bible tells us to deal with things. It doesn’t say, “And thou shall sit around and think about all the ways you wish your life was different.” It tells us to bring our thoughts into captivity. Let’s take a look at 2 Corinthians 10:4-5…

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” Read more