I believe that there is something after I die. While I live on this earth, I live because of Christ. When I die, I gain the kingdom. I gain heaven. I gain a new relationship with God that I don’t have here on earth.
But until that happens? Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We’re supposed to bring the kingdom to earth.
I live under that understanding. While I’m here, I’m an ambassador who is supposed to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth. And I believe that I can help do that. I believe that the Spirit of God helps lead us into areas where we can help. The Spirit will lead us, that is, if we’re living a lifestyle of Jesus.
That’s what the disciples did. They lived the lifestyle of Jesus. Jesus foretold it. He told the disciples, “Greater things will you do after I leave, because you will be empowered by the Spirit.” And after Jesus was gone, they did!
The proof is in the persecution they suffered. I mean, no one dies for a decision. There’s no way you can tell me the disciples were hung upside down on crosses, martyred, jailed, stoned, and beaten, simply because they were trying to get people to say they accepted Christ. For the disciples, conversion wasn’t just a matter of saying that Jesus is Lord. If that’s all we had to do, there’s no way anyone would die for it.
No, they were persecuted because they lived like Jesus. They not only accepted Him as Lord, they lived the way He lived. They lived in a relationship with the Spirit. They lived with a discipleship mentality. They walked the walk!
That’s what they died for. They died for their way of life. They died for true life. They died understanding that when they accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, their lives would not end.
What was that way of life that got them killed? It was the “love your neighbor as yourself” mentality. The disciples wanted to make sure that they brought the kingdom to earth by living like Jesus lived. They wanted to bring the kingdom by loving people like Jesus loved people.
So they died for the lifestyle that they knew was right. I get that. If I’m going to die for something, I’m dying for something that I know is right.
The disciples knew true life. Paul said, “Take joy in trials and tribulations.” How? Who does that? Disciples! Disciples don’t find their joy in the physical aspects of life. Life for disciples isn’t hunky dory all the time. Disciples aren’t joyful because nothing bad ever happens to them. The first disciples always had something bad happening to them! Their life was never turmoil-free.
Why did they challenge people to live a life of Jesus when they knew they would die for it? They did it because that life was fulfilling. They did it because they had true joy. They had happiness. They said, “Things may go wrong around me, but I know where my joy is and it’s in my Savior. I know what it’s like to love people.”
That’s the way to live. The way to live is true. True life!
See you Thursday.