DNA: We Were Made For This
In and Through
Day 1. Have you been told that you are more than what you do? At first read, you may consider these almost one in the same. Yet a distinction can be made from doing and being. Our value, our worth, our importance is not in what we do but who we are. This has spiritual implications. If we want to become like Jesus, we will fall short if we develop only an intellectual understanding and a sound theological foundation. Knowing Jesus includes intellectual reasoning but moves to a more personal experience. Take the relationship I have with my husband as an example. I know him in such a way that I know how he responds in certain circumstances. I know what he does and what he believes. I know how he thinks, what he loves, what drives him crazy. I’m grateful for what he does for me and my family, but what makes our relationship is not what he does, but who he is. Do I know Jesus in that way? Am I intimately familiar with who Jesus IS not just what He DID? Am I working on obeying rules or am I trying to live my life walking by faith with a God I cannot see? The only worthwhile spiritual pursuit is to know Him in this personal, intimate way. Take a minute and read Matthew 5:1-10. As you read, do so with the perspective that Jesus is describing more than what He did but how He lived and how He is wants us to live.
Day 2: Often, we think talking to people about Jesus means we skip right to telling people their sins can be forgiven, and they can go to Heaven. Those are amazing truths to be told, but there is so much more truth in Jesus and the reason He came. Jesus showed us what it looks like to bring the Kingdom of God (or a different way) to our lives and to the lives of those around us. The truth that when Jesus called us to follow him, He was talking about us becoming like Him. Read Matthew 7:1-14. After Jesus describes how He lived and how we are to live (verses 1-12), He says most will not choose it (verses 13-14). If we truly want to become like Him, we must follow Him through the narrow gate because that is a path to heart transformation and life change. This path leads us to intentionally and consistently allow who Jesus to inform who we are and how we live. What currently in my life needs to change to align with what who Jesus is and how he lived? Am I willing, not to seek to change myself, but ask Jesus to change my heart?
Day 3: Read Luke 10:25-37. Jesus tells the parable of a man who crossed racial, economic, religious, and cultural divides to show love and mercy. The ones who went out of their way to avoid the man in need were religious leaders of the nation God had commanded to “be a blessing to all people”. Becoming like Jesus and loving like Jesus means we need to be willing to risk our reputation, sometimes with the religious crowd, to be a neighbor. Jesus didn’t tell a story of a man that traveled across the globe in order to show mercy to someone in need. He was simply going about his life. Jesus says, “go and do likewise. Who is around me? How am I doing in living like Jesus around them? Do I look past the person in front of me or at the person in front of me?
Day 4: Read Matt. 5:13-14 What does being “salt” mean and what does it look like? Salt is used to add flavor and to enhance flavor. Flavor can be considered what is good and beautiful about food. When we are “salt” we enhance and add goodness and beauty to the world and those in it. Who do you know like that? The person that brings goodness, brings beauty to whatever they are involved in? Who extends grace and mercy? Who works for justice and peace? Sometimes people like this are dismissed as naïve or idealistic or possibly in denial of how bad things are. What if they are none of those but rather they have chosen to see what the Kingdom of God is about and have decided to live in that way. What if they have believed that Jesus called us to be salt (and light) in all places? What flavor do I bring to my home, my office, my school, my neighborhood? Do I bring love, goodness, mercy? Do I bring peace or conflict? Does my involvement in the lives of those around me bring out the best in them? Am I making things better?
Day 5: On Sunday, Steve reminded us of the opportunity to participate in the ongoing story of the church that began over 2000 years ago. Starting in those early days and leading up to today, there is a rhythm of being gathered and scattered. Followers come together (gather) and center their perspective on the person of Jesus and to experience worship, truth, love, and community. Then, we enter back into our everyday lives (scatter) to continue to experience worship, truth, love and community by living like Jesus in all that we do. Being the church “scattered” isn’t only starting a ministry or launching a program. It is more about seeing and loving the person in front of you. It might look like leaving the garage open and walking across the drive to engage in conversation with a neighbor. It might mean listening with love and understanding another’s bad day. It might mean risking your own reputation to walk across a divide to love and show mercy to someone not like you. It could look like a hundred different things, but it will always look like Jesus. Ask God to help you see people and to help you love them. Be the church today.