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The Lifestyle of Jesus

What is the goal of life, the thing most worth striving for? I strive to know that when I sit in front of the throne of God, He will look at me and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

This doesn’t mean that I have a works mentality. Truthfully, I don’t believe my works will get me to heaven. I believe in my faith will get me to heaven, because I think I’m justified by my faith.

But I believe that the works I perform are the result of the life I try to live every day. You can boil my whole theology down to one concept: discipleship. I try to live a life of Jesus.

James, the Brother of Jesus. Italy, artist unknown.

We don’t have to resolve the works/faith “issue,” because when we live the lifestyle of Jesus, there is no issue. That’s what you see in James. He said, “Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:18)

Some people say that James and Paul were having a disagreement, but they weren’t. They were talking about two different things. When Paul said that you aren’t saved by works, he meant that works alone will not get you into heaven. Paul said, “Look, you’re not going to be able to just do good things and get to heaven.” In my belief, that’s true. There are a lot of good people that do a lot of good things, and they don’t even believe God exists. They’re atheists. I don’t think that’s going to get them to heaven. They’re doing a lot of good things, which is great! But in the end, they didn’t give up their souls.

James is talking about a whole different idea. James is talking about the believers, the ones that have given up their souls to God. When James said, “I will show you my faith by my works,” he was talking about the lifestyle that you live when you’re a believer.

Once you confess that Jesus died for your sins, you are saved. But then what? Nothing? Do you say, “Oh, now I can just sit around and do whatever. My salvation is all about grace and I can just live my life however I want to live it.”

Here’s what James and the other disciples said to that: No! Living life however they wanted to live it is not what got them persecuted. It was their lifestyle – the lifestyle of Jesus – the life lived by the believer that got them in trouble. It was a lifestyle that got them crucified upside down. It was a lifestyle that got them thrown into prison. It was a lifestyle that got them stoned to death. The apostles were living a lifestyle that shook people up, man. They were going into pagan Greece and pagan Rome. They walked into the temples of a ton of different Gods. They walked into places where people were having orgies. They walked into these places and said, “No! No! This is not the lifestyle you are supposed to be living! It’s unfulfilling.”

The disciples showed us how to live. They challenged people’s worldviews. That was their lifestyle. And that’s what James is saying. You show me a believer that has a lifestyle of Jesus. That’s Christianity. But you show me a lifestyle that is without works, a lifestyle where you don’t do anything? You sit around? You accept Christ and then you just sit there and you don’t live the lifestyle of Jesus? You say you have faith, but who can see it? That’s not Christianity.

Of course, some people can really pervert the lifestyle. When we talk about discipleship, we’re not talking about just any works done in the name of Jesus. More on that next time. See you Friday.

5 thoughts on “The Lifestyle of Jesus

  1. I absolutely agree. All of God’s promises require something for us to do. Even for salvation we must believe. Though none of His promises can be earned, because we are all unworthy, if we don’t keep our end of the bargain, it doesn’t truly belong to us. You can be healed, if you have faith. If you don’t, its not likely that you will receive your healing. We have freedom, but if we don’t decide to walk in it and allow ourselves to be defeated, that freedom is fleeting. Christianity is not about passivity. Christianity is about becoming a God-given passion fueled world changer. Amen, brother.

    http://strugglingwoman.wordpress.com

  2. Wow, I am a huge Giants fan and – more importantly – a Christian too and just wanted to say thanks for posting this! My friend just posted it on facebook. =)

  3. Great post Jeremy! I’ve been reading through Romans over the past month – we have to live in the tension between the two. We are saved by faith, but the good works we do are an outflow of who we are in Christ!

  4. Very nice post! People do struggle with wanting to earn their salvation. But if we could earn it through works then Jesus didn’t need to die. We could never do enough to earn it, we’d never enter that rest that the Lord has for us either. We are called to do good works, just as you said, it’s a lifestyle patterned after the works of Jesus, who went around doing good. I have found that the more you love Jesus and realize His love for you the more you want to do things to please Him. It’s a blessed and very fulfilling life! To God be the glory!

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