What 2017 Taught Me About Following Jesus

2017 taught me about grace, a closer walk with God, and what that growth looks like.

Following Jesus requires a relationship and willingness to follow him. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit empowers us to do it. It should produce a certain effect in our lives. This comes from a daily surrender and the transforming of our minds (Romans 12:1-2).

One thing I learned about following Jesus is it’s a life of ongoing repentance. Acknowledging what you did wrong in the moment, and asking forgiveness for it. It’s recognizing our brokenness while we’re being pieced back together. We can’t gleefully and willingly sin. Morally compromising ourselves catches up to us in the end.

Through our walk with Jesus, he teaches us with grace. He slowly puts the desire to do good in you and reminds you not to do wrong. The big word for it is sanctification.

Remember, none of us deserve saving. It’s harsh, and it’s why grace–God’s unmerited favor–is required. Grace isn’t fair, it’s generous.

The Law is a confining cage that crushes the sinner; to the follower of Christ the Law doesn’t crush but frees us. Why, because we let it crush Jesus in our place. It pays to never forget our brokenness, so we don’t cheapen our salvation.

Embrace the Faith, experience it by experiencing the Bible in daily life. Then express the truths of the Faith to others. Listen to God, love everyone, and walk and yield to the Spirit. Don’t let your heart and mind disconnect. Study the Bible, think critically about how it applies to your life. Also look at what it reveals about the character, person, and heart of God and how He sees you.

Your Faith is either a part of your life or all of it. Don’t disconnect from the source of life.

Who Is My Family; Learning Under Jesus

Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions. Enjoy!

I overheard what the messenger said. “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”

Looking around, I noted the large crowd. There was no way through. I see Jesus half-smile, ““Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?

He points at us, saying, “Here are my mother and my brothers.

Shock registered on the faces of those around us that heard him. The family is extremely important in our culture.

Jesus sweeps his arm over the crowd as he continues. “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.

His point made, he turns and goes to see his family. If God is the Father, then that does make us family.

Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8:19-21

Experiencing Scripture In Your Daily Life

I’ve been reading a book. Shocker, right? It’s titled A Spirit-Empowered Church, and it’s packed with great information. I’ve read it twice in a month. One of the things that stuck out to me was the concept of experiencing Scripture rather than just learning it.

Experiencing Scripture?

It’s in the discipleship chapter, where the author Alton Garrison talks about spiritual growth. First, the

seeker is saved. Then they learn the truths of the faith.

That’s generally where it stops.

Like trees on a rocky hillside, the new disciples are stunted and unable to grow due to lack of nutrients. The third step isn’t there. Experiencing the faith, the Scriptures.

The key is to go beyond knowing, but experiencing it in your daily life. It’s asking these questions:

  • What Bible verses have I experienced today?
  • What have I lived that lines up with Scripture?

The fourth part is to express the truths of the faith by listening to and hearing God. Experiencing Scripture daily, loving everyone, and walking with, and yielding, to the Spirit.

Putting It To Practice

After reading that I had one question. What Scripture had I experienced that day? Quite a few.

I had a rough week, with a couple of people very angry with me because I disciplined them. It was experiencing John 3:20, “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.

The 35th Psalm was a good descriptor of my week, however, I’ll save that for my next post. During a safety meeting, I was publically attacked. I stood still, forcing a calm expression on my face, all the while simmering inside, resisting the urge to retaliate.

I was experiencing Matthew 5:39, 44-45, 48. “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

And much like Nehemiah and David, I prayed a “get them God” prayer. This is better than unloading on a person, instead, unload on Him, get it out of your system. He already knows how you feel anyway.

That’s experiencing Scripture. Try it and you’ll see how relevant the Bible still is.