The Church Jesus Is Building – Part Forty-Nine

So, let’s look at why this current Kingdom movement – the revolution – matters.

Change is a constant as we all know. It is an unavoidable part of life. We endure changes and their personal implications every day – changes in technology, global politics, public policy, personal relationships, professional status, self-image, and more. Some of those changes happen to us; others happen because of us; all of them have some degree of influence on who we are and how we live. 

Think about past revolutions and the effect they have had on the world. The Protestant revolution redefined faith. The religious authority structure was altered. The place of the Bible was radically changed, from a sacred book interpreted for the masses by professionals to God’s personal words to sinners. Worship became more intimate. The burden of responsibility for the breadth and depth of faith jumped from the local church to the individual. The Pope went from being the preeminent religious leader of planet Earth to the preeminent religious leader of the world’s largest denomination.

The revolution of faith that is swelling within the soul of many nations today is no different in scope. It will affect you and everyone you know. Every social institution will be affected. This is not simply a movement: it is a full-scale reengineering of the role of faith in personal lives, the religious community, and society at large.

The burgeoning faith revolution is markedly different from the two major faith revolutions that changed the face of the Church – and that took place in the United States of America with worldwide implications. 

The Great Awakening swept through America from the 1730s through the 1760s. Like all successful revolutions, it provided new leaders, language, ideas, technologies, and structures. The Second Great Awakening in the 1820s and 1830s, introduced similar realities. But the catalyst for both of these religious juntas was an emphasis on sin, the need for forgiveness, and the means to salvation. The ultimate product was the first-time spiritual conversion of sinners. The Great Awakenings were spiritual revivals in the truest sense.

The new revolution we are now seeing differs in that its primary impetus is not salvation among the unrepentant but the personal renewal and recommitment of believers. The dominant catalyst is people’s desperation for a genuine relationship with God. The renewal of that relationship spurs believers to participate in spreading the Gospel. Rather than relying on a relative handful of inspired preachers to promote a local revival, the emerging revolution is truly a grassroots explosion of commitment to God that will refine the Church, redefine the Church,  and result in a natural and widespread immersion in outreach. This is the Church being restored so the Holy Spirit can work effectively through the Body of Christ. 

The Church Jesus Is Building – Part Forty-Eight

The apostle to the gentiles, in his letter to the Romans, offers guidance in seven areas of life as seen in the life of a revolutionary: spiritual practices, personal faith, perspective on life, attitude, character, relationships, and behaviour. We looked at the first four over the past few days…

1> Spiritual practices 

2> Personal faith

3> Perspective on life 

4> Attitude

5> Character

Jesus majored on the character traits of His twelve disciples. Paul picks up the baton and drills home the evidence of revolutionary character. Integrity is a must-have quality: honesty, reliability, and trustworthiness are hallmarks he describes for the Romans. These characteristics make a change agent honourable.

Humility is a big issue for revolutionaries. We have no grounds for arrogance; we are lowly sinners incapable of earning salvation according to the rules. Knowing who and what we are, in comparison to the standard set by Jesus, should help us stay realistic.

Empathy is another trait Paul singles out as critical. If we are to be lovers of God and humankind, it will be hard to accomplish that goal without warmth and compassion. 

6> Relationships

Revolutionaries are to be known by their excessive love for God and people. Once again, consistently following through on this is one tall order. How can we do it?

Paul recommends that we aggressively look for opportunities to bless people. He suggests that we strive for peace and harmony with them, which we can facilitate by avoiding senseless arguments. He also moves us to realize that we need each other for the fabric of the Kingdom to be complete (see Romans 12). A team player mentality fosters loving relationships, rather than competitive or jealous interaction.

It is important to see that Paul also highlights the special responsibility revolutionaries have to each other. They are to seek unity with each other and always honour others. If we are to be the model for the world, what people see when they watch us together must reflect the affection and spiritual attachment we have for one another. 

7> Behaviour

The revolutionary lifestyle might be summarized as clean and productive.

Look at what Paul writes about the transformational life. He calls the believers to holiness, for goodness’ sake (see Romans 12:1). We know that God alone is holy and that Jesus’ death and resurrection on our behalf gives us the spiritual holiness to be with God in Heaven, but in the meantime we are challenged to live an ever more pure and perfect life as evidence of our cooperation with the Holy Spirit who lives within us. Obedience to God’s standards, motivated by our gratitude and desire to please Him, is crucial in this pursuit of the holy life. Paul points out that this effort should result in our being respectable representatives of the Kingdom. 

The clean nature of our lives is certainly associated with how we think. We are prompted to scrutinize our thoughts in order to resist those that dishonour God. Revolutionaries are also encouraged to rely upon a “transformed” mind; because our actions flow from our thoughts, we must think like a transformed human being if we hope to act like one

The changed mind of the revolutionary will produce different lifestyle choices. Working hard, producing good deeds, and avoiding debt are examples of the productive life that emerges from an intense commitment to God. 

Do you want to determined if someone is a revolutionary? Look at the characteristics Paul list in Romans, and compare them to the person in question. Even under the best circumstances, you will never find a perfect, 100 percent match. But as you examine the life of a genuine revolutionary, you will notice that he or she is different from the pack.

Did you notice the overlap between Paul’s instructions and the spiritual passions of the revolutionary we looked at in this series a few weeks ago? Paul hits them head-on: genuine worship, fearless outreach, consistent spiritual growth, wise investment of resources, opportunistic servanthood, and meaningful spiritual relationships.

How do you fare in relations to these attributes? 

The Church Jesus Is Building – Part Forty-Seven

We started looking at how you can tell if someone is a revolutionary? As Jesus taught, you look for the fruit. But what are the relevant behaviours that support the verbal intimations? Again the Bible is the best source of such measures. I believe that not only was Paul the apostle a stellar revolutionary, but his letters to the churches he mentored provide tremendous insight into the distinguishing attributes of genuine revolutionaries. 

The apostle to the gentiles, in his letter to the Romans, offers guidance in seven areas of life: spiritual practices, personal faith, perspective on life, attitude, character, relationships, and behaviour. We looked at the first two last time …

1> Spiritual practices 

2> Personal faith

3> Perspective on life

Paul encouraged the early believers to be firm and focused. Focused on what? Producing fruit! As he wrote to the Roman disciples, “I want to work among you and see spiritual fruit” (Romans 1:13)

More particularly, revolutionaries are urged to place their faith in God above all else, to be considerate of the needs of others and bless them whenever possible, and to be realistic in self-assessment. The bottom line in all of this: never lose confidence in your ability to make a lasting and positive difference in the world.

Bearing fruit is not easy. Paul does his best to describe the toughness of mind that a disciple and revolutionary will need to make a difference. He challenges the believers to turn a deaf ear to illegitimate criticism. He warns them that they will face hardships: trouble, calamity, persecution, hunger, poverty, and even death threats. And he cautions that God Himself may punish those He loves because of their offences.

Revolutionaries are, indeed, a different breed of people. They accept the fact that life on earth is all about life after earth, and they live accordingly.

4> Attitude

The attitude of a true revolutionary is assured, appropriately righteous, and upbeat.

And why not? Who would not feel secure knowing that they are connected to the omnipotent and omniscient God of the universe? That’s why Paul tells revolutionaries they ought to be confident and fearless.

And who wouldn’t be righteous, realizing that their sole purpose is to obey God, based on the clear directives He has provided? When Paul admonishes the world-changers to hate evil, love goodness, and be patient, respectful, and forgiving (Romans 12:9-21), that mind-set makes sense in the context of serving the Lord of truth.

And who wouldn’t be upbeat about their existence, given the promises of the God they serve? Encouraging the body of revolutionaries to remain happy and joyful is not much of a stretch if you can stay focused on the big picture.

More next time…

The Church Jesus Is Building – Part Forty-Six

Jesus’ test of a true disciple was the fruit that emanated from their life. He encountered numerous people who talked a good game (such as the Pharisees), but He was only enthusiastic about those who lived what they claimed to believe. Today there are many people who like to think – and make others think – that they are revolutionaries and thus part of the new movement in the Kingdom; true believers and disciples of Jesus. But their lives betray that deception.

How can you tell if someone is a revolutionary? As Jesus taught, you look for the fruit. But what are the relevant behaviours that support the verbal intimations? Again the Bible is the best source of such measures. I believe that not only was Paul the apostle a stellar revolutionary, but his letters to the churches he mentored provide tremendous insight into the distinguishing attributes of genuine revolutionaries. 

Paul’s letter the the church in Rome stands out as perhaps the most forthright commentary on what such change agents look like. This is not surprising, since it would have taken robust faith to flourish as a Christian in the nucleus of the Roman Empire. There are great similarities between the context of the early Roman Church and the contemporary church in many nations today. The apostle to the gentiles offers guidance in seven areas of life: spiritual practices, personal faith, perspective on life, attitude, character, relationships, and behaviour. 

1> Spiritual practices

Paul’s view of a true disciple and thus revolutionary is that they are connected: they have formed a deep bond with God and relate to people intimately because of that bond.

Paul highlights several specific practices for the early believers. Early in his letter, he underscores the importance of constant prayer and worship. Later on he reminds the Christians to pull out all the stops to get the Good News a fair hearing by everyone and to use supernatural abilities God gave them for acts of service.

Recognizing that no one can anticipate everything that will come their way, Paul entreats Christ’s devotees to remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit. His final exhortation regarding their spiritual practices is to do whatever they can to build up others’ faith.

One of the lessons from this letter that is most impressive was that Paul, like Jesus, was less concerned about religious ceremonies and completing a checklist of activities and events than he was about people being tuned in to God. Not once did he rant about being present at church every week or completing specific amounts of activity. His message was profoundly simple: stay in touch with God and follow your instructions as provided by God. It is all about deepening your relationship with God, not about consistently engaging in your routines.

2> Personal faith

While Paul’s key message on spiritual practices was to be connected to God, the overarching message Paul had for believers regarding the development of their personal faith was simply to be available. Available for what? Available to do whatever it takes to grow your faith stronger. Available to hear and respond to the Spirit of God. Available to see Him work through you because of your trust in Him.

Paul describes this accessibility another way by prompting believers to “give themselves completely to God” (Romans 6:13). He called disciples to surrender every dimension of their lives to God. Nothing shows your faith more irrefutably than your willingness to give away control and follow any directive given by your leader (Jesus). Surrender is proof of conviction in the life of a true disciple (revolutionary). 

The Church Jesus Is Building – Part Forty-five

We are discussing the changes that happen to the disciples of Jesus, believers today —revolutionaries – when they become involved in the revolution. Typically, four highly significant changes appear to be produced by a revolutionary’s investment in a revolution. We have looked at 3 of 4 changes; Realigning personal identity; Clarifying Core Beliefs; Being part of a community. Moving on…

4> New forms of behaviour

Modern life is an exercise in dealing with distractions. It has been argued that one reason we feel stressed, fatigues, and ineffective is that there are so many distractions in our day that we struggle to finish critical tasks, rarely focus completely on any specific pursuit, generally feel as if other choices might have been more satisfying, and compromise the quality of our performance by juggling so much simultaneous activity.

Intentional and strategic change – especially on a major scale – occurs because it has been tirelessly pushed through by believers with blinders. Revolutionaries’ extreme resonance with the cause enables them to deny the multitude of distractions and seductions that could dissipate their effect. Sometimes these people are seen as narrow-minded or uninteresting because of their laser-like focus on revolutionary ideas. Such negative characterizations are meaningless to the revolutionaries. They receive their energy and their affirmation from God in ways that the world at large will never understand.

This disregard for the world’s applause, combined with their intense dissatisfaction with the existing reality, enables them to do what they believe is right, oblivious to public reaction, are simultaneously intriguing and scary to those who uphold the societal norm. In fact, this public fascination with and resistance to revolutionaries’ behaviour serve to spur the change agents on to ever more advanced forms of transformational activity.

So, as we bring these four personal changes together in the revolutionary we see “a new person.” 

In the end, the revolution may be more about reshaping the revolutionary than it is about altering the course of society. Revolutionaries themselves comprehend what is at stake and how critical it is to model transformation so others are more likely to buy into the process and its outcomes. The ultimate desire, of course, is to influence the world for Christ. But the means to accomplish that lofty end is to be revolutionized by the revolution. 

The Church Jesus Is Building – Part Forty-four

We are discussing the changes that happen to the disciples of Jesus, believers today, when they become involved in the revolution. Typically, four highly significant changes appear to be produced by a revolutionary’s investment in a revolution. Last time we saw the first one: Realigning personal identity. Let’s move one to the second and third changes.

2> Clarifying core beliefs

There is no room in a revolution for those who are ignorant of the foundational beliefs and philosophy of the revolution. These movements live or die on the vitality of their foundational, seminal ideas – ideas about truth, justice, value, freedom, and similarly weighty matters. God’s revolution is no different. The soldiers of this revolutionary band must champion the breath and profundity of the worldview God provides. By personally embracing those perspectives, their lives are altered. 

Revolutionaries have a wholly biblical outlook on life, based on the belief that the Bible is God’s perfect and reliable revelation designed to instruct and guide all people. The core beliefs of the Christ-followers relate to the existence, origins, character, and purposes of God; the origins and purpose of people; the need for and means to eternal salvation; the repository and content of moral and spiritual truths; and the existence, powers, and role of various spiritual beings. 

Possessing a biblical point of view on all matters, and allowing it to drive your moment-to-moment decisions, enables you to distinguish yourself from conventional thinking and behaviour.

Know this: you become what you believe. Because your core spiritual convictions dramatically influence your life choices, your major spiritual beliefs shape your self-image and behaviour. The revolution, because it is based on applying biblical principles, constantly elevates and clarifies the central beliefs that facilitate sinners being transformed into forgiven, satisfying servants of the living God. 

3> Part of a community

Having a reference group as an anchor is important. Revolutionaries are often iconoclastic and frequently initiate their journey toward a new life with the intention of being fiercely independent rebels who will show the world how to do things the right way. Almost inevitably, these people discover three important things:  they are not the only ones dissatisfied with the status quo, it is difficult to sustain their rebellion when they are alone in the process, and they are having less influence on their own than they expected. The result is for them to join forces, carefully but enthusiastically, with others who seem to be on the same wavelength.

Individuals involved in the revolution of faith that is currently redefining the Church in many nations are predisposed to community activity. Why? They have been exposed to biblical preaching that emphasizes the relational nature of God and the connectional character of ministries. As much as they may appreciate the intensity and gutsiness of John the Baptist, they recognize that a solitary voice in the desert has less effect than a united voice in the marketplace. This is a major point of difference between social malcontents, who often act out their displeasures in isolated and unconstructive ways, and social reformers, who refuse to accept what is and agree to work in tandem with like-minded reformers to introduce needed transformation.

Integrating into a pool of compatible change agents has tangible benefits. Each revolutionary’s impact is multiplied by being part of a larger, harder-to-ignore group of companions. An individual’s personal skills and gifts are exploited to maximum advantage, while the community compensates for each person’s deficiencies. Affirmation from fellow transformers leads to increased strength, and being part of a larger force builds self-confidence. 

Both the cause and the individual are better off because of accountability in relation to thinking, message, behaviour, and resource use. Revolutionaries take pride in their connection to the community of fellow zealots. As in any society, it is the community to which they belong that sustains them and nurtures them through the good times and the bad. This adopted community anchors them both to reality and to the idealism to which they aspire. 

More next time….

The Church Jesus Is Building – Part Forty-Three

History shows us that individuals who participate in a revolution are radically changed by their immersion in the process. The ultimate success or failure of a revolution depends on how tightly its advocates align themselves with the cause – and how open they are to becoming the embodiment of what they profess to bring to life.

This is an important phenomenon: while change agents are probably drawn to a revolution to transform their world, their personal involvement in the process changes them in significant ways. They enter the fight for change holding a few compelling ideals, but they exit the process with a different view of themselves, as well as of the fundamental meaning and implications of the revolution. I would go as far as to say that sometimes their concern about recasting the world becomes not so much secondary as invisible. Their own journey has taken them to places they never imagined.

Typically, four highly significant changes appear to be produced by a revolutionary’s investment in a revolution. 

1> Realigning personal identity

Human behaviour is a series of complex negotiations among our self-image, character, values, sense of purpose, and cultural parameters. Each choice we make is our best attempt to somehow balance the competing interests of those dimensions to optimize the outcome. Who we believe ourselves to be is a major determinant in our ability to be competent  and effective in our revolutionary endeavours. 

Your capacity to connect with God intimately and, therefore, to follow through on the challenges posed by the cause of Christ is inextricably bound to your self-image. Simply accepting Christ as Saviour and having a respectful but casual relationship with Him does not give birth to a revolutionary life.

To be a revolutionary requires understanding the role of every human being within God’s plan. You realize that you are a special creature in His universe – created for the purpose of knowing and loving God, reproducing additional lovers of God, and living in ways that reflect being made in God’s image and for His pleasure. Amazingly, we have been invited to be partners in developing and advancing His Creation – minority partners, certainly; not so much peers as associates – and as such we can take heart in the fact that we matter to God.

We are valuable because God considers us to be so. We need not earn our stripes – in fact, He has made it clear that we cannot earn status in His eyes, expect through our relationship with His Son. Our worth stems from our commitment to loving and serving Him. Our relationship with God helps us comprehend the purpose of our life and defines the direction to pursue that will please Him and thus provide us with the greatest fulfillment.

Wrap your mind around this realization: You are a slave to Christ, an ambassador of God, a servant of the King, a soldier in the invisible battle of purity and evil. You will find inner peace only when you know who you truly are. Only at that point can you be authentic. Joy escapes many believers because they don’t fully grasp their identities as revolutionaries; they labour in vain as halfhearted disciples. The emotional and spiritual ecstasy that revolutionaries experience is linked to an awareness of their true role in the Kingdom of God. Until you become obsessed with imitating Christ and honouring God, your journey is moving in a dangerous direction. Devoting yourself to the revolutionary way is a big step toward experiencing God’s pleasure.

A major reason why most local churches have little influence on the world in that their members do not experience this transformation in identity. 

Research indicates that churchgoers are more likely to see themselves (self-identity) as nationals of their specific country (Canadian, Russian, Kazakhstan…), as consumers, professionals, parents, and unique individuals than zealous disciples of Jesus Christ. Until that self-image is reoriented, churches will not have the capacity to change their world. After all, a revolution is a dangerous and demanding undertaking; it is not for the minimally committed.

More next time …

The Church Jesus Is Building – Part Forty-Two

We are looking at the perspectives that helped Jesus be the Revolutionary that He was. Understanding the way He say things may help shape your view of what a revolutionary life is all about. Last time we saw…

1> Live the revolution

2> Victory through engagement

3> Motivated by love and obedience

4> Marching orders from God

Christians are used to controlling their own lives. What makes revolutionaries so bizarre is that they admit they do not have control of their lives and they are not seeking to attain control. Who else would you want controlling your life besides the God of Creation?

But admitting that we do not have control is only one step in the process of ‘successful’ living. The other crucial component is to listen carefully so we get our cues from God. He seeks to direct us every step of the way. However, we must be sensitive enough to receive His direction. He speaks to us in various ways – through the Bible, wise counsellors, direct revelation, signs – but all the communication in the world is meaningless if we are not attuned to His message and determined to obey His commands. 

A revolutionary knows who calls the shots, and he knows what the voice of His God sounds like. Success is not about proving our own ability by creating and implementing our own plans; it is all about our fervent desire to be used by God as He wills.

5> Leadership: doing what’s right

A revolution is about changing what exists. Change requires leaders who intentionally introduce new direction. Every revolutionary, whether positioned as a leader or not, fulfills a leadership role by virtue of affecting the lives of others who have ignored or resisted the truth of the Bible.

Whether you like it or not, being a revolutionary means that, at some point, you will provide leadership to someone else. That’s a privilege for which you must be ready.

One of the critical points of preparation is to make your choices based on what is right. Jesus criticized the leaders of His day for misleading people by making choices that were popular, easy, expected, personally profitable – but wrong. A godly leader – a true revolutionary – does whatever is right, according to God’s laws and principles. Even if the inevitable result will be resistance or persecution. Revolutionaries gladly bear any burden so long as their choices and actions honour God.

6> Internal politics are absent

Jockeying for position occurs in most organizations, whether they operate under peaceful or wartime conditions. All the perks are up for grabs – titles, physical location, compensation benefits, operational resources – and even the most committed players consciously grab for them.

Not so among revolutionaries. No office politics exist because there is no office to rule, no official positions to win, and no ‘stuff’ that matters. All that matters is pleasing the Boss. And that is accomplished by ignoring all of the usual goals in favour of being godly.

So, these are six of the many perspectives that determined how Jesus lived His life as The Revolutionary. It would be good to consider adopting them as part of our perspective on both the Christian faith and the life we live.

Being a revolutionary is all about living life as a paradox. You win before you experience your initial skirmish. Faith trumps over competence. Spiritual power overwhelms physical force. Humility generates attention and appreciation. Holiness defeats worldly cleverness. Those who surrender their lives defeat the enemy who seeks to destroy them. 

Participating in this revolution is not easy. Our enemy understands our objective and methods and will pull out the stops to counter our efforts. Just as victory comes through paradoxes, the performance of revolutionary tasks beings paradoxical results. Offering love will often inspire distrust and retribution. Serving those in need may trigger persecution by those being served. Living a simple life becomes exceedingly complex.

It does not matter. Focus. Be strong and courageous. Yo have already won. Now all you must do is persevere.

The Church Jesus Is Building – Part Forty-One

Jesus was the ultimate revolutionary. We can learn how to be agents of life transformation for the Kingdom of God (the goal of the revolution) by understanding how Jesus interpreted His role in life, how He established and pursued priorities, and the demeanour that facilitated His lifestyle and ministry. But we must also shed light on the philosophy or understanding that fueled His behaviour.

In the Church today, we tend to study Scripture and draw general lifestyle principles. We interpret God’s words to us through a particular analytic framework, one that is typically based on a synthesis or combination of biblical teaching, cultural values, and familial training. But what happens if we apply a completely different framework? What happens if we read the Bible without our religious and cultural glasses on? What is we read the Scriptures through the eyes of a revolutionary? What are the seminal perspectives that the Lord divulged and revealed for us to integrate in our pursuit of a revolutionary life?

Here are a few of His perspectives that may help shape your view of what a revolutionary life is all about.

1> Live the revolution

This revolution is not something you join; it is a way of life. Jesus made clear that the entrance fee for membership in this movement is repentance, obedience, love, and service. Most revolutions that the world has seen or is currently experiencing gained ground for their cause by following a strategic plan. God’s revolution, however, has no incremental plan. This war is won by the fanatics on God’s side living in concert with the revolutionary ideals that Jesus prescribed.

This is a war that is not won by force. It is won by the daily demonstration of courageous faith – the faith to be God’s person wherever He puts you, doing whatever He calls you to do. Don’t wait to sign up. Just live it!

2> Victory through engagement

Most wars are decided in terms of territory seized or the number of enemies killed. Not this one. It is unlike any war ever waged. For starters, we already know who wins. Further, the most effective weapons are those that promote peace and understanding: prayer, love, blessing, and so forth. And, of course, the war is ostensibly invisible, although it is wages in the material realm.

In fact, unlike all other wars, this one has no innocent bystanders. All are combatants who declare their side in the conflict through their words and actions. No gray area exists: you are either aligned with God, the champion of holiness and freedom, or Satan, the challenger promoting evil and enslavement.

Revolutionaries – the frontline warriors for the Kingdom – can claim victory simply by enlisting in the Lord’s army. Embracing the role of revolutionary and the persevering in the war does not guarantee victory – being a revolutionary is victory. All we have to do is show up every day to fight for what is right. The outcome has already been taken care of.

3> Motivated by love and obedience

But why, one might wonder, should we bother to engage? Why not sidestep the whole messy affair, and just lead a low-key, no-frills Christian life? Is it not enough to love Jesus, accept salvation by grace, and then live however we wish until we reach heaven?

Well, for starters, there’s that issue of bearing fruit. When Jesus told His followers, “Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions” (Matthew 7:20), He was intimating that all who receive the free gift of salvation ought to be so blown away by sheer gratitude that they cannot do anything other than seek ways to change themselves and the world. Even though you cannot earn your way into God’s eternal presence, your wise choices and good deeds become the evidence of your commitment and transformation.

And forget about fear as a motivator. Yes, we may harbour a healthy dose of fear due to the awesome power and unfathomable omniscience God possesses, but genuine revolutionary zeal must be attributable to an intense desire to worship, thank, and sever God for His goodness and greatness.

In the end, we surrender our lives to serve Him out of love and obedience. He is the only One who matters in life. His incredible sacrifice for us causes is to do no less than give everything we have back to Him as our own sacrifice of praise and appreciation.

The Church Jesus Is Building – Part Forty

We are looking at how Jesus, the Saviour of the world, looked at Himself. Last time we examined His priorities in life – priorities that guided what He did and where He invested His time and effort. This time let’s look at His character and demeanour.

2> His character and demeanour

The best intentions in the world get nowhere unless you have the character and demeanour to carry out those dreams. Once again, the nature of Christ deepens our understanding of what type of person is capable of changing the world. In His humanity, Jesus was able to develop the qualities that allowed Him to behave in revolutionary ways.

Are these same qualities evident in your life today? Are you consciously refining these dimensions so that you will be entrusted with greater responsibility for the advancement of God’s Kingdom?

  • Merciful and grace-giving. “God blesses those who are merciful … Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.”  (Matthew 5:7, 7:1)
  • Reconciliatory. “Go and be reconciled.”  (Matthew 5:24)
  • Diligent. “Keep on asking … Keep on seeking … keep on knocking.” (Mathew 7:7)
  • Teachable. “Anyone who listens to My teaching and follows it is wise.”  (Matthew 7:24)
  • Courageous. “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves … Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch our soul.”  (Matthew 10:16, 28)
  • Accepting. “Anyone who does the will of My Father in Heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”  (Matthew 12:50)
  • Surrendered. “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow Me.”  (Matthew 16:24)
  • Repentant. “I tell you the truth,, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.”  (Matthew 18:3)
  • Humble. “Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  (Matthew 23:12)
  • Servant-minded. “But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.”  (Matthew 20:26-27)

Many people are drawn to Jesus by His nature, without knowing much about what He stood for or His ultimate purpose. He wasn’t a revolutionary because He proposed a different philosophy. He was a revolutionary because He lived differently, teaching a groundbreaking world order through His demeanour and behaviour. His words simply magnified and clarified what He was demonstrating in the flesh.