To grow spiritually and be like Jesus; we must first understand the life of Jesus, from a palpable perspective. We all have nativity scenes we put out for the holidays that depict the birth of Jesus that are pretty and perfect looking. Although, if we look deeper in the reality we find that Jesus was born into a huge mess. He was born among animals in the lower floor of a private home. (Luke 2:1-7) You can only imagen the smell and comfort in this place. He was essentially born homeless, on the road and on the run from King Herod, who wanted to kill him. Then he was taken across the border to Egypt for safe keeping until King Herod died. (Matthew 2:13-15) It was then that his family relocated to Nazareth. Jesus was born into chaos and turmoil, just as lots of us were; when he could have easily been born into luxury. As we go more into HIS story, we are told that after Jesus was baptized by John he began HIS ministry and was essentially homeless again. It was even expressed, that he had no safety or security in those days. (Matthew 8:20) (Luke 9:58) Despite this, the grace of GOD always prevails and Jesus’ needs were consistently met. He always found a place to sleep and food to eat and even feed those around HIM. After HIS work was complete HE would move on to the next place, always looking ahead rather than behind. He did not let HIS past dictate HIS future, even though he had much reason to do so. In John, we are told to abide to the vine and it will bear fruit and Jesus was doing exactly this. (John 15:5) He was connecting himself with GOD through prayer and holding tight to HIS truths as he went through life. It was then that he began to bear fruit and others heard and believed his amazing candor. At this point, the stories of the Messiah became fact, for all who trusted in HIM. Jesus did not meet with kings or high powered men, he unambiguously met with common or lower class people. HE knew that change needed to begin here in the world because this was where the necessity was the highest. At the end of HIS life Jesus showed us incomprehensible love by dying a tragic and horrifying death at the hands of people who hated HIM. He did not die in a home or hospital. He had no possessions, no bank account and hardly a friend in sight. Jesus was so selfless that he knew HIS death would be a blessing for the entire world not only because HIS blood cleanses us, but the Holy Spirit would be left to guide all of us, until we meet HIM again. It is here where we see the amazing love Jesus has for all of humanity as he died in our place, so our souls will live. (Scandal of Grace song) For all intensive-purposes, Jesus’ life was a mess from the beginning and unconventional to the very end. Although, the Glory he brought to Our Father is immeasurable.
Think of how much GOD’s purpose can be glorified through us if we lived like Jesus. If we did not let our past pull us down and dictate our future. If we dug our roots in deep to HIM instead of listening to world; the fruit, we could bear would be limitless. How fulfilling could our life be if we looked past the vail of people to their heart, like Jesus did to Matthew and so many others. If we showed even half as much love to one another, as Jesus showed to us; think of how the world would be changed! Doing all of this means stepping out of our comfort zone, but instead you step into the comfort of Jesus, which has infinite rewards. It is by no means easy to change your habits or ways of thinking, but it is an essential step to be able to live like Jesus. We can only change if God changes us, so we must do as Jesus did and pray to HIM to change our hearts. We must pray to HIM, in all situations, to remain close with HIM. This is where we will start to experience a true transformation in ourselves. (Romans 12:2) It is through HIS Glory that we find knowledge, happiness and contentment of life.
Spiritual success has nothing to do with how many times you go to church or bible studies. Spiritual success has to do with how much you know GOD and how strong your relationship is with HIM. We respond to life based on how much we know. For example, we go to school to learn a trade before we walk into a job. No one would see a doctor who never went to medical school and our spiritual wisdom is no different. We must immerse ourselves in GOD’s word and HIS teaching to be successful in life. It is only there that we find true answers to life’s most complicated conflicts involving purpose, love, humanity, and righteous living. (just to name a few) To accomplish this success, all you must do is open GOD’s word and start reading. He will do the rest and your life will begin to change. Start anywhere you feel lead or just start with the book of Matthew. It is not important where you begin, it is only important that you do begin. If you miss a day in your Bible, just keep telling yourself to “press on.” When you keep pushing forward you will find HIS truths and be able to adjust your beliefs accordingly. This action alone and your strong connection to Our Father, through prayer and understanding; will lead you to infinite wisdom in the Kingdom of GOD. As we step out of our comfort zone in this new year my prayer for all of us is to live like Jesus and bring glory to God in all we do.