Jesus Is Holy

So prepare your minds for service and have self-control. All your hope should be for the gift of grace that will be yours when Jesus Christ is shown to you. Now that you are obedient children of God do not live as you did in the past. You did not understand, so you did the evil things you wanted. But be holy in all you do, just as God, the One who called you, is holy. It is written in the Scriptures: “You must be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16)

Holiness includes a strong, complete and never failing hope. Hope is secure, because it’s rooted in the unchangeable nature of God. The hope Jesus provides is available for everyone, but not everyone takes hold of it. With the hope of eternal life—life with God—comes the desire to live by God’s purpose, the desire to live a holy life on earth.

Holiness includes obedience to God’s commands and will.

So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship. Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)

What patterns of living have you changed as you have grown spiritually?

What patterns should you now change to continue to grow?

Live a life that reflects the holiness we find in Jesus.

Jesus Is Unfailing

Jesus didn’t give up on his followers even when they didn’t understand or didn’t follow well.

Then Jesus and his followers left that place and went through Galilee. He didn’t want anyone to know where he was, because he was teaching his followers. He said to them, “The Son of Man will be handed over to people, and they will kill him. After three days, he will rise from the dead.” But the followers did not understand what Jesus meant, and they were afraid to ask him. (Mark 9:30-32)

Jesus had told his followers what would happen to him, but they didn’t seem to comprehend it. Much of his teaching was beyond their grasp. Jesus’ teaching wasn’t always simple, which could prompt some followers to give up and turn away. But Jesus kept teaching. He never gave up, because he is dependable. He never fails us.

Even when you don’t understand or follow well, Jesus doesn’t give up on you. Jesus patiently endures your growth process. Jesus gets frustrated with spiritual dullness and lack of faith, but he doesn’t give up on people, because he loves people. God’s love is unending and unconditional. We don’t give up on the people we love. Jesus gives up on no one.

Jesus shows his unfailing love even when he’s suffering an excruciating death on the cross: Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) Even as people betrayed and murdered him, Jesus didn’t give up on the people he came to save. He recognized lack of and limited understanding. Jesus knows how spiritually inept we are, yet he is patient. Jesus’ love is unfailing. Be honest with yourself. Then trust Jesus to meet you where you are and provide everything you need.

We know that the law is spiritual, but I am not spiritual since sin rules me as if I were its slave. I do not understand the things I do. I do not do what I want to do, and I do the things I hate. And if I do not want to do the hated things I do, that means I agree that the law is good. But I am not really the one who is doing these hated things; it is sin living in me that does them. Yes, I know that nothing good lives in me—I mean nothing good lives in the part of me that is earthly and sinful. I want to do the things that are good, but I do not do them. I do not do the good things I want to do, but I do the bad things I do not want to do. So if I do things I do not want to do, then I am not the one doing them. It is sin living in me that does those things So I have learned this rule: When I want to do good, evil is there with me. In my mind, I am happy with God’s law. But I see another law working in my body, which makes war against the law that my mind accepts. That other law working in my body is the law of sin, and it makes me its prisoner. What a miserable man I am! Who will save me from this body that brings me death? I thank God for saving me through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:14-25)

Jesus Is Faithful

 

I have heard a sound coming on the wind
Changing hearts and mind, healing brokenness
I feel a generation breaking through despair
I hear a generation full of faith, declare

And our song it will be
Out of the darkness we will rise and sing

He is faithful, He is glorious
He is Jesus, all my hope is in Him
He is freedom, He is healing right now
He is hope and joy, love and peace and life

I have seen a light like the break of dawn
Giving blind men sight and letting lame men walk
I see a generation with resurrection life
We are a generation filled with the power of Christ

He has paid the highest price
He has proven His great love for us
We will praise Him with our lives
And proclaim our love for Him

Jesus Is Merciful

Jesus explains mercy with a story.

The kingdom of heaven is like a king who decided to collect the money his servants owed him. When the king began to collect his money, a servant who owed him several million dollars was brought to him. But the servant did not have enough money to pay his master, the king. So the master ordered that everything the servant owned should be sold, even the servant’s wife and children. Then the money would be used to pay the king what the servant owed.

But the servant fell on his knees and begged, “Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything I owe.” The master felt sorry for his servant and told him he did not have to pay it back. Then he let the servant go free.

Later, that same servant found another servant who owed him a few dollars. The servant grabbed him around the neck and said, “Pay me the money you owe me!”

The other servant fell on his knees and begged him, “Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything I owe.”

But the first servant refused to be patient. He threw the other servant into prison until he could pay everything he owed. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were very sorry. So they went and told their master all that had happened.

Then the master called his servant in and said, “You evil servant! Because you begged me to forget what you owed, I told you that you did not have to pay anything. You should have showed mercy to that other servant, just as I showed mercy to you.” The master was very angry and put the servant in prison to be punished until he could pay everything he owed.

This king did what my heavenly Father will do to you if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart. (Matthew 18:23-25)

Jesus is merciful, and no one can fully measure up to him. To help someone was never seen as a waste of time or inconvenience to Jesus, because his priorities were different than those of the world. We question whether or not we have time or resources to extend to mercy to someone. We wonder if justice will be done. We wonder if the person to whom we extend mercy will fully appreciate what is being given and use it wisely. But Jesus never met a needy person who asked for help and turned away. He even reached out to a thief on the cross with compassion as they were both being crucified. Jesus is merciful.

We are merciful because Jesus is merciful. We should not live a double standard of personally accepting Jesus’ mercy yet withholding any extension of that mercy. Our mercy is God’s mercy. We can be merciful because we have experience God’s mercy. If we want to live the life of Christ, we will also reach out to help.

Jesus Is Hospitable

Whoever accepts you also accepts me, and whoever accepts me also accepts the One who sent me. Whoever meets a prophet and accepts him will receive the reward of a prophet. And whoever accepts a good person because that person is good will receive the reward of a good person. Those who give one of these little ones a cup of cold water because they are my followers will truly get their reward. (Matthew 10:40-42)

Jesus explains to the disciples the rewards of welcoming others, the call to hospitality. A cup of cold water, in Jesus day, would have been a rare treat. Women gathered water from the village well every morning, but it took a very short time in the hot sun to warm the cool, refreshing water. In order to offer a guest cool water, someone would most likely have to run to the well and return home quickly.

In these verses, Jesus addresses who is worthy of such inconvenient yet generous hospitality. “Little ones” might refer to children but likely extends to a much wider circle of anyone from a less-appreciated strata of society, such the poor, sinful, and overlooked. Hospitality doesn’t play favorites.

Hospitality isn’t something that simply happens in your house. It’s an attitude of your heart. It’s how you greet people, how you invest in relationships, and how you sacrifice what you have for who you know and who you don’t. Hospitality isn’t something you can check on your list, rationalizing you’ve done “enough.” Constantly ask yourself, “How can I do more?”

“Hospitality is the practice by which the church stands or falls.” (Arthur Sutherland)

Jesus Is Vulnerable

Jesus, vulnerable? As deity, Jesus is powerful and knowing, which seems to raise an impenetrable wall against any vulnerability, yet without vulnerability as a man, Jesus never would or could have fulfilled his purpose in God’s plan for our lives. Jesus had to become vulnerable in order to be the Savior who sacrificed himself for us to open the path of a relationship that invites us into eternal life with God. To be vulnerable is to be capable of being wounded, physically or emotionally. Being vulnerable involves being open to attack or damage. Jesus was certainly vulnerable.

The men who were guarding Jesus began making fun of him and beating him. They blindfolded him and said, “Prove that you are a prophet, and tell us who hit you.” They said many cruel things to Jesus. (Luke 22:63-65)

Jesus was beaten with whips and handed over to the soldiers to be crucified. The governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the governor’s palace, and they all gathered around him. They took off his clothes and put a red robe on him. Using thorny branches, they made a crown, put it on his head, and put a stick in his right hand. Then the soldiers bowed before Jesus and made fun of him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat on Jesus. Then they took his stick and began to beat him on the head. (Matthew 27:26-30)

God created us to live a fulfilled, purposeful life by becoming like Jesus. Knowing the pain and humiliation Jesus endured creates a pause in us, and we’re hesitant to make ourselves as fully vulnerable as Jesus did. We know we’ll get hurt. We’ve been hurt. We’ll get hurt again. We love others, reflecting Jesus’ love, and at the same time, we hold back.

God doesn’t call each of us into a life of daring danger. Even if he did, we don’t choose Jesus knowing what it ahead. Our motivation isn’t conditional; it’s relational. Vulnerability isn’t about what others can do to us; it’s about what God can do in us. When we’re vulnerable in God’s presence, he can fully work through us. Vulnerability requires yielding, trusting God to provide whatever protection we need. It might not be what is comfortable to us, but being vulnerable to God and in his care is a less vulnerable place than standing in a place of rationalized personal strength and protection but exposed more than we care to admit.

Jesus Is Committed

Jesus is committed to your life. He lived a life of humanity although he is deity so that you could have eternal life. He suffered so you could live a life of eternal purpose. Are you following Jesus’ example of commitment? Are you as committed to him as he is to you?

As they were going along the road, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you any place you go.” Jesus said to them, “The foxes have holes to live in, and the birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to rest his head.” (Luke 9:57-58)

Jesus wants you to count the cost of following him. Are you willing to give up your agenda, perceived rights, and desires to yield to and follow him? Commitment to Jesus means you want to become more like him every day. It means yielding to him to fulfill his purpose in his way, because he ultimately knows the path to your fulfilled purpose on earth.

Jesus said to another man, “Follow me!”

But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

But Jesus said to him, “Let the people who are dead bury their own dead. You must go and tell about the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:59-60)

God’s calling and timing are perfect. We rationalize putting off his will, and in the process, we miss out on opportunities. Others in our lives aren’t unimportant; Jesus doesn’t intend for us to ignore our responsibilities. He simply wants us to understand that when he is the center, most important priority, he will make sure everything else within his will gets done.

Another man said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me go and say good-bye to my family.”

Jesus said, “Anyone who begins to plow a field but keeps looking back is of no use in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:61-62)

When a farmer plows his field, he must pick out objects in the distance to focus upon in order to move forward in a straight line. Averting focus will create swerves in the rows and inefficient use of the valuable farm land that will bring him harvest. When we follow Jesus, looking back at our old ways of life will throw us off the course Jesus planned for us.

Commitment requires focus. Focus on Jesus.