Happy New Year! Today marks the end of vacation both for my daughters and for me, As I think about the New Year and the clean slate that it represents, I cannot help but think a little bit about the past as well. This was the first Christmas and New Years without my Mom and the 5th year anniversary of my father’s death as well. My Dad and I never had a good relationship until a year and half before his death when we reconnected and I was privileged to partner with God to lead him to accept Jesus as his savior before he passed. There was a father wound that lasted for good chunk of my life as a result which I believe is what motivated me to be the best father that I could be to my two daughters. If you are just tuning into our blog in the new year, we have delving into the idea of Leaving a Lasting Legacy…how to become the man or woman who will not only have a positive influence on those around us, but have an impact on future generations that will be directed towards God as a result of what you are investing in today. Today I want to piggyback on a “Thought” that we posted last year called ★ Thought for the Day – Who Are You Imitating? ★ which is based on Ephesians 5:1-2 that we should “be imitators of God,” and that we need to be leaders, not followers…to be the one influencing others, not allowing ourselves to be negatively influenced by today’s culture. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says:
“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad Company corrupts good morals.’”
This is something that my wife and I have tirelessly tried to pass on to our daughters. As one is now a sophomore in high school and the other in middle school, we see how very, very important this really is; and how critical it is to be praying for our children’s protection. Every day we pray that they will be a light in this dark world…to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Just like 1 Corinthians 15:33 warns, we need to be very careful about who we associate with. In a message called “They Had Been with Jesus“ Marty Collier preached on Acts 4:13 (ESV) which says,
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”
In the sermon, he made these four observations…
“When we’ve been WITH Jesus…
1. Others will NOTICE
2. Our confidence will be in Christ, not CREDENTIALS
3. We will have BOLDNESS like never before
4. We will be unable to stop SPEAKING about the power of Jesus”
Peter and John, two men who walked alongside Jesus, who spent day and night with Him, who were uneducated fishermen, spoke with such authority and boldness that “astonished” everyone. What is amazing is that if you read the previous 12 verses, you will see that the events of verse 13 were preceded with Peter and John being imprisoned for preaching the truth of Jesus Christ and after a night in jail, they were brought in front of all the rulers, elders and scribes with so much boldness that people took notice. Peter and John are great examples for us that when we stand with Jesus we will have confidence to stand up for what is right. They did not allow the circumstance of being imprisoned to deter them from their mission. I love that last part, “they recognized that they [Peter and John] had been with Jesus.” Charles Spurgeon made this great statement which as follower of Jesus we should consider our rally cry…
This got me thinking…What characteristics do we need to embody in order that people would “recognize that you had been with Jesus?” The answer can be found in Colossians 3:12-13 (NKJV) which outlines the “Character of the New Man”…and I believe you could extend that to cover women as well…
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”
We started off with this question…what’s rubbing off on you? Well here are some Characteristics of Jesus that I believe we need to have rubbed off on us if we want to be men and women who will be world changers for the Kingdom of God!
- Holy (see 2 Corinthians 5:21)
- The New Living Translation says “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”
- Humble (see Matthew 11:29 and Matthew 20:26-28)
- The New Living Translation of Matthew 11:29 says “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.”
- The New Living Translation of Matthew 20:26-28 says “But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
- Meek (See Matthew 5:5)
- The New International Version says “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Why do you think this is?
- “In biblical usage, meekness is that attitude of mind that is opposed to harshness and contentiousness, and that shows itself in gentleness and tenderness in dealing with others.” Rick Reinckens
- I love how Grady Scott described Meekness:
- “Many associate meekness with an attitude of allowing everyone to run over you because you are afraid of them. This is not meekness. In fact, some of the strongest men who have ever lived have been meek. A good working definition of biblical meekness is Strength under control. Jesus could stand up to the winds and the waves. He also chased the moneychangers out of the temple twice with a whip made out of chords.”
- Compassionate (see Mark 6:34)
- Throughout the gospels it says that Jesus “had compassion on them,” or “was moved with compassion for them” regardless of whether he was tired or not, Jesus made time for those in need.
- “Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.”
- But if we back up just 3 verses, it says “Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.” (Mark 31:34)
- To put this in context in Verse 41 of Mark chapter 6, Jesus feeds Five Thousand Men.
- Loving (see John 15:13)
- The New Living Translation says “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
- Forgiving (See Luke 23:34)
- The New Living Translation says Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.”
- Regarding the “Character of the New Man”, the New King James Version (NKJV) says “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”
Now that you have sped through this familiar list of characteristics, go back and look at them again, but first pray for God to show you in what ways you are excelling and what areas you need to work on more. I will close with this great encouragement from Charles Stanley’s Life Principles Bible:
“God has chosen the specific era, location, and giftedness with which you would exist for the purpose of serving Him. You are not a mistake – your strengths, weaknesses, and situation in life are part of His plan to be glorified through you. Your ministry does not start sometime in the future when your circumstances change. It begins the moment you believe in Christ. Serve Him obediently with this in view.”
What’s rubbing off on you? What area do you need to work on? God can use you wherever you are at, you are not a mistake. He loves you so much that he gave His Son for you and I to be reconnected with Him…The choice is yours!
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