Growing Up Into Christ – Growing with Jesus: Part 8-2

Do you ever ask or wonder about how you remain connected with Christ? It is by continuing the same things that helped begin your connection. “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.” (Colossians 2:6). “And my righteous ones will live by faith.” (Hebrews 10:38). We have given ourselves to God, to be His completely, to serve Him and obey Him, and we have asked and accepted Him to be our Savior. We realized we cannot pay the final price for our sins and we have asked Jesus to step in and change our hearts. We have given ourselves over to God and we believe that He has bridged the gap and fulfilled all the requirements for us. By faith we have become Christ’s, and it is only by faith that we grow spiritually with Him—both by giving, and by taking. First, we are to give all of ourselves to Him so that He can help our hearts, our will, and our service meet His expectations and requirements. Secondly, we must take all, meaning we must take Christ to be our all, filling our mind and our heart, depending on Him to be our strength, depending on Him to change our hearts, depending on Him to help us in the trials of life, and depending on Him to help us obey.

Each morning, before anything else, we should dedicate ourselves to God. Let our prayers be something like, “Father, I dedicate my life to You today. Here are all of my plans, and I offer them at Your feet. Use me today to accomplish Your goals, and in everything that You lead me to do, let me glorify Your name.” This is a daily dedication. We must surrender all of our plans to Him, and submit to His direction if He has different plans for our day. By submitting our lives and our plans to God each day, our lives will begin to look more and more like Jesus’ life.

Living in Christ is a restful life. We may not have the extremes in feelings that others do, but we will have a consistent, peaceful trust. Our hope is not in our own abilities or actions. Instead our hope is in Christ. Our weakness unites with His strength, our ignorance joins His wisdom, and our lack of endurance connects to His enduring power. We must not look to ourselves, or let our minds think about ourselves, but instead, we must remain focused on Jesus. We must focus our minds on His love and upon the beauty and perfection of His character. We instead focus on and contemplate Christ’s life when He faced self-denial and when He faced humiliation, and how He remained pure and holy, all while displaying a perfect, unrivaled love. It is by loving Him, modeling Him, depending completely on Him, that we will be transformed into His likeness.

Jesus tells us to remain in Him (John 15:4). These words express the idea of rest, stability, and confidence. He has invited us to, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). The psalmist expressed the same thought by saying, “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act.” (Psalm 37:7), and Isaiah gives us the promise that “Only in returning to Me and resting in Me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15). The rest that Jesus provides is not a rest that lacks activity, because with His promise of rest is a call to action: “Take my yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29 – emphasis added). When our hearts rest in Jesus, we will be actively working with Him and for Him.

When our minds focus on ourselves, they are not looking to Christ, the source of strength and life. Because of this, it makes perfect sense that Satan would distract us in every way he can to keep us from looking to Jesus as our Savior. It is his goal to distract us with the pleasures of the world, the difficulty and the hurts, the faults of others, or on ourselves and our own faults and imperfections, in order to prevent us from looking to building a relationship with Jesus. Don’t be tricked by his schemes. Satan deceives many people who desire to live for God when he tempts them to focus on their own faults and weaknesses, because when they focus on their failures, they are separated from Christ. Self cannot be our focus. We should not entertain fears about whether or not we will be saved. All these things turn our focus away from Jesus—the Source of our strength. Make a commitment to keep your heart and mind focused on Jesus and on trusting in Him. Be so focused on Him that you no longer are able to see yourself. Like the apostle Paul, say, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). We are to rest in God. He is trustworthy and is able to keep the things we have committed to Him. By leaving ourselves in His hands, we will be victorious through Him and through His love.

Next week, we will conclude focusing on what it means to grow up into Christ.


P.S. As always, if I missed something, or if you would like to respond on this topic, join the conversation below!