Okay, I responded to the gospel and said yes to Jesus. What’s next? What does it mean to live the life of a Christian?
Right now you might be thinking this message isn’t for me. I’ve been living the Christian life for years so this can’t apply to me! This must be for those just starting their walk with Christ.
Have you reached the point that this world has nothing to offer you? Beware… Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall (1 Corinthians 10:12). You haven’t arrived yet!
Just when you think you have matured to a place that you no longer desire the things of this world, just when you think you are above being tempted, satan starts scheming. The devil will move to whatever playing field is necessary to distract you from God’s plan.
No matter how long you have been saved, regardless of your spiritual maturity, until you stand face to face before Jesus, you always have a decision to make about who you are going to serve. This is the relentless battle for the Christian. You will constantly be faced with the choice to either live for Jesus or seek your own will.
The gospel doesn’t stop with the sinner’s prayer. It’s a life choice…
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
To live is Christ? To die is gain? That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it is the gospel simplified in one verse.
To try and understand, compare Philippians 1:21 with Philippians 2:21.
The opposing view of the Christian life…
For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.
The apostle Paul said for me to live is Christ, to die is gain. But all those outside of Christ seek their own, and not the things of Christ.
I want to live Christ, but how?
The Life of Christ
So what did Paul mean when he said to live is Christ?
What about your life changed when you said yes to Christ?
Have you been careful to surround yourself with “Christian” things?
Nowadays it’s too easy to wear the “Christian” label. You don’t have to give up those amusing secular pastimes when there are so many “Christian” substitutes (sarcasm intended). From romance novels, to popular music, to action filled movies, there’s no shortage of “Christian” entertainment.
If you had a problem with offensive language before you got saved, try using some “Christian” cuss words as one comedian put it! And for those who just can’t give up the night life, there are even “Christian” night clubs.
Have you tried to live for Christ by embedding yourself in today’s “Christian” culture?
Just like in the Garden of Eden, today the devil is still a deceiver and a master at masquerading sin. But even if you dress it up and put a “Christian” label on it, sin is still sin! No flesh will glory in the presence of a Holy, Righteous God!
Every day of our lives we have the same choice Adam and Eve had to make in the Garden. Do I obey the Lord and surrender my flesh to the will of Christ or do I seek my own pleasure and desire?
Before we can understand what Paul meant by to live is Christ, we need to get a grasp of the Life of Christ.
I can’t live the life of Christ if I’m living for myself! Who was Paul living for when he wrote this?
According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
All Paul’s expectation and his hope was to do nothing to bring shame to His Lord Jesus. He wanted every fiber of his being, everything he did in this life, and even his death, to magnify Jesus Christ. Paul recognized his life was not his own.
We are not our own either! We have been bought with the price Jesus paid on Calvary. We owe everything to Jesus Christ. Our life, our will, our hopes and dreams… All our desires need to be crucified with Christ, so Christ can live through us. God’s will can’t be demonstrated in me unless I’m fully surrendered. It’s no longer about me and what I want!
Paul was shipwrecked, beaten, stoned, and imprisoned. He suffered in weariness and painfulness, in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness. (2 Corinthians 11:24-27). Would we stay committed to the will of God under the same harsh conditions? Paul had no “Christian” substitute for any of this!
Paul suffered and surrendered all for the cause of Christ, yet he confessed he had not arrived. Paul said I’m pressing on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of Jesus… (Philippians 3:14). If this was true for Paul, then I know no matter how close I get to the Lord, there will always be more of me to die, and more of Christ to live.
Paul said for me to live is Christ… not for me to live is for Christ to live. Christ will live whether I do or not. Christ will live even if I don’t yield myself to Him!
If you don’t let Jesus live through you, then He’ll go to somebody else who will. God uses willing vessels washed by the blood of the Lamb. However, God has a specific call on your life that only you can answer. Your calling is just as unique as your finger prints. It’s a job that only you can accomplish for the Lord. Only you can live Christ for you!
The Life of Christ is my life stepping aside so that His life is lived fully in me.
But that’s impossible…How can I step aside and let someone else take over and live their life through my body?
The Mind of Christ
Your mind controls all your bodily functions, whether it’s voluntary or involuntary. Your mind also controls all your thought processes and decision making. It stands to reason you can’t use your mind to live like Christ. To live the life of Christ, you are going to need the mind of Christ.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Okay, I need the mind of Christ! But what is the mind of Christ like?
7 But [Christ] made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
The mind of Christ doesn’t seek His own agenda. Christ is Royalty! He didn’t have to, but He took on the form of a servant. The mind of Christ doesn’t pursue His own fame or fortune. The mind of Christ is surrendered to whatever it takes to accomplish the Father’s will and bring glory to His Father’s Name. Even if it means suffering, and death on a cross!
Without the mind of Christ, I don’t have the knowledge, the understanding, the holiness, or the capacity to live Christ. Most Christians will say they want to live Christ. But how?
Short of a brain transplant, how do I get the mind of Christ?
For you to really live Christ, you’ve got to stop trying to live Christ. Stop trying to do it on your own because you can’t do it on your own. Just surrender and let the mind of Christ take over because…
…the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
I Corinthians 2:14
Stop trying to use your own logic because your natural man can’t figure out God. You can’t know the things of God without the Spirit of God. For me to live Christ, I have to understand that within myself I am not able.
15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.
I Corinthians 2:15-16
Paul makes a correlation between the Spirit of God and the mind of God. They are the same. If you are a born again believer, then you have a measure of the Spirit of God living in you. So if Christ is your Savior, then you already have a measure of the mind of Christ.
But you can’t yield yourself to the mind of someone you don’t even know. In legal terms, would you give power of attorney to just anybody? No, never! You would reserve that right for a loved one, someone you are close to, someone you could trust to make the best decisions for you.
You have got to know Christ before you can yield to His mind!
The Knowledge of Christ
If you want to walk in fullness, to live Christ with all your being, you need more of the mind of Christ. But before you can submit to the mind of Christ, you must have a knowledge Him!
How do you know Jesus Christ? Yes, it absolutely starts with the sinner’s prayer. But to know Jesus intimately, you need the full measure of His mind, that is the fullness of the Spirit of God!
11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
I Corinthians 2:11-13
The Holy Spirit teaches and reveals Christ to us so that we might know Him, and know Him more intimately!
Do you understand the importance of Spirit Baptism? When you are baptized in the Holy Ghost, you are filled with God’s Spirit, totally surrendered to the mind of Christ. Without the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, you can’t completely fulfill the will of God for your life because part of your mind is still in control.
The knowledge of Christ goes much deeper than just studying the historical life of Jesus. It’s more than a head knowledge. To know Christ, you must have an experiential knowledge of Christ.
7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
What is Paul talking about? All things loss? What things? Because of Jesus, Paul has lost everything. Anything that pertains to this life, Paul said is gone. Any comforts, pleasures, personal pursuits, whatever, Paul counts it all loss that he may win Christ. He counts them loss and even dung compared to the prize—Jesus Christ!
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
To have the knowledge of Christ, or to know Him, means Jesus has become your everything. It’s no longer about what you can do, but all about what Christ does through you.
Do you want to fulfill God’s plan for your life, to know Christ intimately, to have the mind of Christ, to live the life of Christ?
Most of us would say yes, but… I can’t! How can I be expected to live like Christ?
It’s all too overwhelming. I’ll never measure up! There are so many distractions! Do you know what I have to deal with every day? I can’t do this!
You are so right! With so many things competing for your attention, it can be overwhelming! You can’t do this on your own. Nobody can live Christ in their own strength!
The Strength of Christ
The good news is you don’t have to do it on your own! You can’t live Jesus, but…
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Think about it! The apostle Paul laid out an impossible objective for you and me. To live is Christ and to die is gain. It would be impossible if you had to do it in your own strength.
It takes the strength of Christ to show you the knowledge of Christ…to draw you closer into His presence.
I know Jesus as Savior, isn’t that enough?
No, it’s just the beginning!
When you have a more personal knowledge or relationship with Christ, His mind can become resident in you.
In John 7, Jesus offers water to the thirsty,
37…Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.
38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
The Spirit, or mind of Christ, can’t fully come to you until Jesus has been exalted to a position of glory in your life.
You say Jesus is your Savior…but have you made Him your Lord? Does Jesus dictate every aspect of your life? Is Jesus sitting on the throne of your life? Is He the absolute object and subject of your life?
If Jesus is not Lord of your life, all you have to do is surrender. Right now, call on the name of Jesus. Confess your weakness to Him and He will give you His strength.
The more of you that tries to do it, the less of Him that can. Even if you don’t want to surrender, just be willing to be made willing. Cry out to Jesus and declare Him Lord of your life.
Thank Him and praise Him for what He’s done, and what He’s going to do. Even if it doesn’t feel like much, continue to surrender to Christ. I promise you, God will draw you closer and the mind of Christ will take over. Die to yourself so that Christ can live!
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