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Behave Like Christ

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

Is this really possible ... how? Well, behaving like this may not be our 'natural' response but this is where we must remember, we are no longer natural, merely human creatures. Remember Paul's words to the Corinthians; "Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2 Cor 5:16-17)

These words are very reminiscent of Jesus' teaching in the gospel;

We see in these words an invitation to live like Christ, the One who died for the sins of the whole world, for the sake of the ungodly and so when we live like this, we are most like Jesus, who in himself is simply a reflection of the Father (see John 14:8-9). Interestingly in Jesus' words from the Sermon on the Mount quoted above, Jesus goes on to say, ".. so that you may be sons of your father who is in heaven." (Matt 5:45) This is some of the ultimate goal of life for those of us who call ourselves Christians .. to follow in the footsteps of Jesus in order to glorify our Father who is in heaven.

Ok you might say, I'm starting to see 'why' this might be important, but you haven't told me 'how' yet! Well, a good starting point is recognizing that there is something (or Someone) inside you that actually wants to live like this. In other words, it is not all about just gritting our teeth and getting on with it despite our natural inclinations. No, it is about realizing that the desire is there because Christ is there within you, He is the one who will do this through you as you yield to His will. Remember that pattern in Paul's teaching of Romans 6, 'know that you were baptized into Jesus' death and resurrection .. reckon yourselves therefore fully alive to God (and dead to sin) .. and present your members as instruments of righteousness to God' (see Romans 6:3-4,11,13).

It can also be helpful to remember that we too were once God's enemies and yet he blessed us rather than cursing us. We are beneficiaries of His amazing grace not because we deserved it but because it is His nature to love, to be gracious. That is the nature, the divine nature that Peter tells us we get to participate in through our faith in God's precious promises (see 2 Peter 1:4).

It is like God's instruction to the people of Israel, rescued from captivity in Egypt where they were strangers and foreigners, now that they had their own land (a picture of our gift of eternal life). They were to always treat foreigners and outsiders as if they belonged, to welcome them with hospitality and provision .. because of how God had treated them (see Lev 19:34). "Love them as yourself" God says, part of what Jesus identifies as the Great Commandment. We belong in some way even to our enemies because we all belong to God.

So before we are tempted to speak badly of anyone, let us pause and allow the Spirit to release blessing through us, by our words, by our prayers and by our acceptance and love.

With love and prayers,

Pastor Mike.

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