Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Lifestyle Change: Following Jesus one day at a Time

Following Jesus, I mean really following him...  That's the mission.  It's not a social club or a tradition.  It's a vital experience, and it takes work.  It's wonderful.  It's beautiful.  The feelings and experiences are so surreal.  It's like a dream really.  It's stepping into a journey very new, and powerful.  It's not like the old lifestyle.  It's a new lifestyle.  Day in and day out, I change.  I become positive, friendly, selfless, loving, and faithful.  I become wiser and wiser, learning and growing.  It's a beautiful journey that the Jesus-follower enjoys.  It's tough at times, it's easy at times.  It's magical at times and sometimes it hurts.  Yet it's all worth it.  And the goods always outweigh the bads.  

It is a daily lifestyle change.  One day at a time.  24 hours a day, it's living differently than before.  Stepping outside the comfort zone.  And really if I'm not growing then I'm moving backwards.  There is not much standing still in the Christian lifestyle.  There are certainly vacations, quiet time, and sabbaticals, but complacency is a different matter all together.  There are negative extremes that we need to avoid.  On one end is total laziness and on the other is perfectionism.  Both will lead to collapse.  So balance.  Do what you can, yet also take care of your own needs.  And focus on now.  I try not to worry about what's coming next week.  I try to focus on today.

Today I'm a Christian, a follower of Jesus.  Today I'm going to pray before I leave the house.  Today, I'm going to listen to an audio Bible while I scroll through Facebook.  Today I'm going to smile at a stranger.  Today I'm going to stop at the food pantry and give a few cans of food for the poor.  Today I'm going to share some encouraging posts and links on my social media accounts.  Today I'm going to thank God on my knees before bed.

Intimacy with God is a massive goal in all this.  How can I be more intimate with my maker?  How can I cultivate a firm relationship with God?  How can I increase my devotion to following Jesus?  Communication is vital.  Just communicate!  Talk to God.  And listen for his response.  Read the scriptures.  Page through Philippines, Romans, John, Galatians, Psalms, and Proverbs.  Let the life of Jesus Christ inspire your actions.  

One day at a time.  How can I encourage someone?  How can I meet a need?  How can I volunteer my time?  The actions increase our faith.  Our faith rests in the Lord, and our actions confirm that faith and build that faith.  Take an interest in others.  Take an interest in someone who seems upset or lost.  I had no idea how selfish I had become, until I really tried to take an interest in others.  It was harder than I expected.  I'd always considered myself such a great guy, but I really was quite selfish.  But I found as I pushed myself a bit to take an interest in others, I started seeing myself becoming increasingly legitimately interested.  And eventually I started to really care about the people around me.  I started to love to care about others and meet needs.  It snowballed slowly, and as long as I continue to practice that, growth in the Spirit continues.  It's a wonderful thing to experience.  

Truly truly, you have never truly lived until you've loved and cared for someone who can do nothing to help you.  It's really true.  The feeling of helping and loving others is wonderful.  Sometimes it hurts.  Sometimes it really hurts, when they make poor choices.  But in any case, when you're really loving others, despite the result, you will experience the incredible peace of Jesus Christ.  Because you're actively working for the kingdom by loving others and showing mercy.  It's at those moments, and after those moments that you'll truly feel those moments of the active presence of Jesus Christ the architect of the universe.  Truly truly, peace is a lifestyle change.  

So live it my brothers and sisters.  Live it one day at a time.  Don't worry about yesterday or tomorrow.  Live in today.  What can you do today?  You can do a lot today.  You can live for Jesus, just for today.  God bless you, and take care.

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