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 saying 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

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

I’ll Never Say It’s Ok

Today I was working away in the kitchen, making tomato sauce, peanut butter, and smoothies at the same time. I guess I was so busy I didn’t notice a little intruder make his way past the baby gate fortress into my thicket of house maker taskmaster solitude. I looked down just in time to see Timo reaching his hand towards a mop bucket of boiling hot water. When I saw what he was about to do I screamed, “NOOOO!” as loudly as I could. He was in danger, and I needed to be as forceful as needed to prevent him from getting hurt. If I could have reached I would have pushed him away from the water bucket, but thankfully he heard the tone of mommy’s voice and backed away. He looked at me for an explanation and I told him, “It is very hot!” He said, “uuu hot” (he says uuu for it). Then he walked over for me to pick him up and take him out of the kitchen.

We’re Getting Closer

As we get closer to our Lord and Savior coming, this world is getting more and more dangerous. There is a specific danger that many societies used to be more aware of, but as time progresses it becomes more and more acceptable in it’s various forms and frequencies. That danger is sin. As Christians we are called to share about the danger of sin. Just as I was not about to willingly condone Timo getting third degree burns, Christians are supposed to warn the people around them about the dangers of sin. What is so dangerous about sin, you might ask. God’s holy word tells us that, “sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death,” in James 1:15. Hopefully we are also familiar with this verse, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord,” from Romans 6:23. Sin is so dangerous because it leads to death, which can also be stated as eternal separation from our Eternal Father in heaven. Sin leads to the worst possible thing that could ever happen to any human being, eternal separation from God. Let me just state the obvious here, which is that if you are separated from God for all of eternity, that means you will be spending eternity suffering in hell (Matthew 25:31-46). I know most of you know that, but I wanted to make sure not to gloss over that very important destination.

When God tells us not to sin in the bible, it is because He loves us and He knows how destructive sin is to our souls (and many times physical bodies). He is warning us!!! As Christians it is our duty to warn others about the danger and destruction of sin. Let me remind you that Satan, “The their does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” In the rest of John 10:10 Jesus offers that He represents the opposite, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

That is why, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I will never, ever, tell someone it is ok to continue in sinful behavior. Whether that is an adulterous lifestyle, drunkenness, gossip, or whatever other sin the bible teaches us about. If I am loving someone the way Christ demands that I do (Romans 13:9), then I can never tell them it is ok for them to continue in behavior or activity that will hurt them, and possibly keep them from entering into a redemptive relationship with Jesus Christ. That doesn’t mean I can’t warn them in a loving way. If I am going to go around calling people out on their sin simply because they are sinners, and I have no love for them in my heart, I’m not any better than the Pharisees that Jesus confronted.

This week in the media there have been two stories revolving around two popular bands in Christian circles, Switchfoot and Jars of Clay. Switchfoot (who does not even call themselves a Christian band, although their fruits speak for themselves that these guys are obviously Christian) has been getting harassed by protestors claiming that they are going to hell because they sing rock and roll music. Their response? Jon Foreman takes water bottles out to the protestors and tells the band’s fans to show these protestors love, keeping in mind that is what Jesus taught. Then we have Jars of Clay’s lead singer, Dan Haseltine took to twitter to show his support of gay marriage and implied that those that didn’t agree with his supportive stance were ignorant, tweeting back and forth saying things like, “Could there be something to learn from them {the LBGT community}? Or are we passed the ability to learn?” But I think the bigger issue is that Mr. Haseltine is missing the point, because by encouraging someone to continue in a life of sin, you aren’t loving them. I don’t want to start a huge discussion about homosexuality and Christianity at this moment, but I will say that I love homosexual people, and I care enough about them to tell them the truth, without being hateful or judgmental, because of that love for them. I’m a sinner too after all. Jesus loves all sinners, and He came down to earth and was tortured and sacrificed His life to get that message out! As a sinner that was dead in my trespasses and miserable living in a life of sin, I cannot tell you how much that means to me personally.

And that is why I’ll never say it’s ok to sin. Because if I love you, I just can’t tell you that.

When someone is about to stick their hand into boiling hot water, I am going to warn them. That doesn’t mean all I do is bring up people’s short comings, well all have them. I have many friends that are unbelievers, and my main goal is simply to love on them and let my life and actions be a witness for Jesus Christ. However, when I see a friend or family member involved in some kind of destructive behavior, I am going to point it out to them as lovingly as possible.

Sacrificing For A Real Relationship

God’s timing is also very important and I rely on the Holy Spirit to tell me when I should speak up. We also have to establish trust with people before they will be willing to listen to our warnings. My son understands that I love him and I was warning him because I cared about him. He wanted to know why I yelled like I did, and he responded to my warning by listening and asking me to pick him up. This is possible because we have a relationship. He trusts me. If you really care about being an effective witness for Jesus that can speak into people’s lives, you first have to be willing to invest in a real relationship with them. Make whatever sacrifices you can to show them that you love them like Christ loves the church, with no strings attached. Then when the time comes, be bold and speak truth in love.

So here is my encouragement for all of us as Christians:

We need to be warning people, in love, and in God’s timing, that their sin is killing them.

Sincerely,

Kristin

P.S. In case you are interested in some amazing and encouraging words, check out the utmost.org excerpt for today here.