Way of Life

Within our world of western rationalism, it’s easy to let the Bible speak to the way we believe and not let it change the way we behave. However, Paul clearly taught a specific way of life to the young churches in his care. 1 Corinthians 4:17 says, “For this very cause I sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and trustworthy child in the Lord, who will recall to your minds my methods of proceeding  and  course of conduct  and  way of life in Christ, such as I teach everywhere in each of the churches” (emphasis mine).

Would you like to know what Paul taught? Right before that he writes (1 Corinthians 4:11-13):

“To this hour we have gone both hungry and thirsty; we [habitually] wear but one undergarment [and shiver in the cold]; we are roughly knocked about and wander around homeless.

“And we still toil unto weariness [for our living], working hard with our own hands. When men revile us [wound us with an accursed sting], we bless them. When we are persecuted, we take it patiently  and  endure it.

“When we are slandered  and  defamed, we [try to] answer softly  and  bring comfort. We have been made and are now the rubbish  and  filth of the world [the offscouring of all things, the scum of the earth].”

But that’s just Paul and the other apostles, right? Not at all. Read on (4:14,16):

“I do not write this to shame you, but to warn  and  counsel you as my beloved children…. So I urge  and  implore you, be imitators of me.”

Paul is asking us to embrace all this?

I can hear the voices, “Are you calling for some kind of monastic life?” By no means! God wants to pour out abundant grace; He does not intend for us to do it by our own power. The Word if God is life, and whenever it brings death to our hearts, it is not because the Scriptures are wrong. It is because we are believing a lie in our hearts. After all, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” And, “Let God be true and every man a liar!”

And then I hear, “Are you taking us back into a law? We’ve already spent so much of our lives getting free from heavy yokes.” By no means! This is no command. The choice is yours. However, I do observe that Paul is strongly urging us to follow his example, and God never asks us to do something without good reason.

You see, I know many people who long to see the glory of the kingdom of God. But I believe the reason we haven’t seen more of it is because we are trying to fit it into the mold of our existing lifestyle. If we will see that glory and power in our generation, we will not only need to change the way we believe but also the way we behave. It all starts in cultivating an intimate relationship with God, but that is only the beginning, and it needs to take over every part of our lives.

“Lord, reveal your truth to me and shine your light into the deep places of my heart so that I can more fully agree with you. Unlock the mysteries of a kingdom lifestyle that is willing to embrace hardship and suffering to see you receive great glory! Let your kingdom be established on the earth, not in words but in power, in proportion to your strength and might. To you be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

One comment

  1. Jesus came to save us FROM our sins, not IN them. Yes, the Gospel should make a radical difference in our lives. As a shepherd of a church I long for us to catch the vision of which you speak (write)!

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