For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21
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, one that I don’t have here on earth.
But until that happens? I truly believe what Jesus said when He 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 me into areas where I can help.
The Spirit will lead you, if you’re living the 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 were! And 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 martyred, jailed, stoned, and beaten, simply because they were trying to get people to say they accepted Christ. They were hung upside down on crosses! Somehow, they were a serious threat. The reason is that 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 have to die for it.
No, it’s the way they lived that was so dangerous. That’s why they were persecuted. They not only accepted Jesus as Lord, they lived like He lived. They taught, healed, and worked miracles. They served.
You see, then as now, servant leaders challenge people to become who they truly are — image-bearers of the God who created them. That’s what the disciples did. When they accepted Christ as Lord and believed that He was the Savior, they did not stop there. That was their starting point! After that, servant leadership was their way of life.They walked the walk — and then they died for it. They died for the lifestyle of Jesus. True life!
What was that life? It was life lived in relationship with God and neighbor, using the “love your neighbor as yourself” mentality. The disciples wanted to bring God’s Kingdom to earth. That’s why they wanted to live like Jesus lived. That’s why they wanted to love like Jesus loved. And that’s what they died for. They died for the lifestyle that they knew was right.
It makes sense to me. If I’m going to die for something, it will be something that I know is right.
I think the disciples knew true life. Paul said, “Take joy in trials and tribulations.” Take joy? How? How are we supposed to take joy in trials and tribulations? Who does that? The disciples did, because they didn’t find their joy in the physical aspects of life. Life for the disciples wasn’t hunky dory on the outside. It wasn’t that they were joyful because they never had anything bad happen to them. In fact, they always had something bad happening to them! Not a moment of life was free of turmoil for them. Read what happened! A lot of stuff went down.
Why did they do it, when it brought turmoil and tribulation, and finished in painful death? Why would they challenge people to live a life of Jesus, when they knew they would die for it? They did it because it was fulfilling. They had true joy. They had true happiness. They said, “Things may go wrong around me, but I know where my joy is. It’s in my Savior! I’m filled with joy, because I know what it’s like to love people!”
Now that’s the way to live! See you Thursday.