Love Like Jesus–Die Like Jesus: Chapter 30

Sepia Eye Reflecting Cross

Today’s post is from my new book Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus). Last Saturday we posted Chapter 29: Surviving A Life Of Loving Like Jesus. Love Like Jesus is due to be published later this year.

“. . . nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

Matthew 26:39

It’s Time to Die Continue reading

Chapter 3: How Not To Become A Christian Doormat (How to know when to die) — From the new book Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)

Door Mat by Pickersgill Reef - Creative Commons

Today’s post is from my new book Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus).

It’s the third chapter from Part 2 — Words of Caution.

Last Saturday we posted Chapter 2: Love The Unlovable.

Love Like Jesus is due to be published in 2018.

Chapter 3 — How Not To Become A Christian Doormat (How to know when to die)

A Dormitory Door Mat Continue reading

When It’s Time To Die

Die to self

(From the archives)

It’s Time to Die

In a previous post we saw how important it is not to die indiscriminately. It was a post for people who can’t say no, as you might gather from the title: How Not to Become a Christian Doormat.

This post is probably more important and for a greater number because this post is for all of us who Continue reading

A Time to Die

Die to self Christian

It’s Time to Die

The last post was about how important it is not to die indiscriminately. In other words the last post was for people who can’t say no, as you might gather from the title: How Not to Become a Christian Doormat.

This post is probably more important and for a greater number because this post is for all of us who don’t want to die. And at some point everyone of us will have to. I’m not talking about the physical death of our bodies necessarily, but rather the time when the Holy Spirit will tell you, “Yes, it’s time. It’s your time to die now. It’s your time to submit to My will and not your own.”

You and I and every single one of us will encounter God in that way. Every single one of us will be called upon by God to die, and frequently.

Frequently because we’re commanded to love, and love so often demands that we die to our own will. And there are all kinds of ways to do that, there are all kinds of ways to die. You might be called to die by allowing that guy at work to take the choice assignment, or by agreeing to your wife buying a new pair of shoes, or even by simply turning off the TV and engaging with the kids.

Or, it could be something much harder.

A Tale of Two Fathers Continue reading

How Not to Become a Christian Doormat–How to know when to die

Human Doormat, pushover, Christian

Doormat

Content from this article is from the new book Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus). For more articles included in the book go to Love Like Jesus Book. Love Like Jesus is due to be published in 2018.

A Dormitory Door Mat

There are these two roommates Walter and Craig who live on the fifth floor of the Barnhart dormitory at the University of Oregon. Craig is on the football team. He’s pretty sure he’s one of the best athletes on campus. He’s really into his sport and his friends, like a lot of guys are during their college years. Two of his favorite hangouts are the weight room and wherever the current party happens to be. He’s a Grand Theft Auto and Madden NFL kind of guy.

But his roommate Walter is different. He’s kind of bookish, if you know what I mean. He’s a good student. He belongs to the college writing club. He’s watched all the Lord of the Rings movies multiple times—on Blue Ray. He’s an English major but he’s taking a physics class, just for fun. He’s more of a Minecraft kind of a guy.

Well one day Craig has a chance to move into an apartment off campus. The day the apartment comes open is the day before a home game, and he wants to move in right away so he can have a victory party after the game. He already invited a bunch of his friends. Getting people to come to his party was no problem. But getting people to help him move wasn’t working out. Not a single friend was available. So, even though he very much preferred not to, he asked Walter.

“Hey, I need you to help me move my stuff over to the apartment.”

“I’d like to but I can’t,” Walter said. “I have a midterm and a group project presentation tomorrow.” He also said yes to a request to give a presentation at his writer’s club right after the midterm. And his parents were arriving for a visit after writer’s club. But Walter was too embarrassed to disclose that to Craig.

“I don’t really see a problem,” Craig said. “I only need you for like, one hour.”

Walter didn’t respond but Craig could see the reluctance on his face.

“Come on Walter, don’t be selfish.”

For some reason every time Walter experienced a pang of guilt he thought of the dentist’s needle injecting lidocaine into his gums. Except instead of his gums, he imagined the needle penetrating his heart. And instead of pain followed by numbness, there was just pain. Craig had a knack for triggering that response in Walter. So did his dad. So did his mother. So did a lot of people.

And there was that word: selfish. A Christian can’t be selfish, can he? Continue reading

Ready to Die: Genesis 46:5-30

Image by Areta Ekarafi — Creative Commons

Read Genesis Chapter 46

To read the last post on Genesis go to Deeper Relationship With God.

Last post we saw Jacob draw close to God when he stopped to make a sacrifice to Him on his way down to Egypt. After he makes his sacrifice, God gives him direct confirmation, that he should go to Egypt and reunite with Joseph.

So Jacob loads up the carts Pharoah gave him, and he and his family, and his flocks and herds, and his entire household travel to Egypt.

When he arrives in Goshen of Egypt, Joseph takes his chariot out to meet his father. As soon as Joseph appears before him, he throws his arms around his father and weeps for a long time.

Then Israel says to Joseph, now I’m ready to die, since I have seen for myself that you’re still alive.

Genesis 46:5-30



Jesus and Joseph:

Again we see Jesus manifested in Joseph’s life. Israel’s reunion with Joseph after seeing him alive is a picture of the Father’s reunion with His Son Jesus, after Jesus rose from the dead.

Speaking of the Old Testament scriptures, Jesus said, “These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39-40)


Ready to Die:

We also see a dynamic illustrated here for you and for me.

By now you’ve probably heard about the famous Stanford University marshmallow experiment involving four year old kids. One at a time these kids were presented with one marshmallow, and then offered a deal: they could either eat the one marshmallow immediately, or, not eat the marshmallow while the researcher left for a few minutes. If they were willing to wait without eating the first marshmallow, until the researcher returned, they could have an additional marshmallow.

What’s typically discussed is how this experiment proved to be a powerful predictor of success in the adult lives of these subjects as they were followed closely into their forties. Those who were willing to delay gratification were far more likely to experience success in relationships, and in life in general. For instance, the SAT scores of those who waited for the second marshmallow were on average 210 points higher than those who didn’t wait.

But what’s not often discussed, is what the experimenters discovered in the later iterations of this experiment. When I think of delayed gratification, I think of will power. But what these researchers discovered was, the how behind the ability to delay gratification has little to do with willpower. But has much to do with focus. Those who were able to focus on something else, while waiting for gratification, were the ones who were successful at achieving their goal of attaining the second marshmallow, or, later in life, experiencing a successful marriage, earning a degree, or finding success in their career.

The lead researcher made what I thought was a very insightful statement: “We can’t control the world, but we can control how we think about it.” (Read more: Don’t! — NewYorker.com)

I think in today’s world where we’re inundated with news, information, and entertainment, this idea of focus is more important than ever.

You see, our own selfish nature is like that first marshmallow. You just can’t resist it. Trying to use will power to prevail against your selfishness just doesn’t work. Like the kids who were successful in the experiment, the secret to success where selfishness is concerned lies with focus.

When Israel saw Joseph alive, or to put it another way, it was when he turned his focus on Joseph alive, that he said, “Now I am ready to die.” (v. 30)

It’s the same for you and it’s the same for me. When we focus on our greater than Joseph, Jesus, when we focus on Jesus alive, something important happens to us. When Jesus becomes alive to me, like Israel, I become ready to die. I become ready to die to my selfish desires. When Jesus becomes alive to you, you become ready to die to yourself, in a way that elevates God and people above yourself. When Jesus becomes alive to us, we become ready to release our selfishness and put others before ourselves.

You might be asking, How? How do I turn my focus on Jesus alive? The answer is found in  prayer. Our focus turns to Jesus’ aliveness, when we ask the Holy Spirit to reveal Him to us.

So before you read His word,

before you pray,

before you sing His praises,

before you take communion…

…ask.

Ask God to pour out His Holy Spirit upon you,

that you will see Jesus,

alive,

in your life.