Read Romans 13:11-14
One main factor has to and must come into play for us to live the Christian life, as we should with obedience and love. We are to put on Christ and take off ourselves. This means we are to remove our selfish will and pride and mimic His character to the best of our abilities. And for this to happen we need to: Wake up! Clean yourselves up! We are to put aside our wrong thinking and actions and cloth ourselves in Christ's character, not fallen character, put away all the works of darkness, and seek in all things to be conformed to the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord as well as Savior!
· We are to live our lives as if Christ is coming back next Tuesday, at the same time plan ahead as He may not come back for hundreds of years! We must live with excitement and anticipation of the Lord's return!
· Most of the Epistles especially John's has Christ coming back now, yet they wrote nearly 2000 years ago. Were they wrong? No! Because we do not know the day and time. The apostles and early Christians did not give away all they had and wait on a hill for His return. They lived their lives fully and did all they could to fulfill the kingdom of God. The whole point of Christ returning is not about formals or time tables or theories, but all about our faith and allegiance with Christ, to grow and live in and for Him (see Matthew 24). Our life on earth may just be a dress rehearsal, but we need to strive to get it right- thus "wake up"! All that we are and do here is a mere shadow to what is to come, and all that we do and are will echo throughout eternity. So be diligent and be your best for His highest!
· So do we get what the Christian life is about? If so, what are we doing about it? "Understanding the present time. The hour has come to wake up" (NIV): Refers to Christians who have been with Christ for some time, and have negated their responsibility, thus we are to get with it! To receive the call of our Lord and its urgency! Paul again stresses the role of discernment; we are to be sharp and informed people of God.
· "Light of the World" is a continual theme in John and his epistles, that Paul possibly draws from (John 8:10-23). In contrast, an undiscerning Christian will cause massive destruction to the mission and role of the church. We have to be careful or we can easily allow false truths to be taught and sin to go on without repentance or reverence to God. When we are not discerning as a body of believers, a vacuum will form and suck in all kinds of stuff that is filth and dirt like a regular vacuum cleaner, with the exception no cleaning will occur because the bag will be the church. Then the character and role the church is to the community will be dirt!
We are to act and respond gracefully whatever the role or situation we are in. The "Armor of Light" (Isa. 54:17; John 11:25-26; 14:6; II Cor. 10:4; 11:3; 14-15; Eph. 4:1; 6:18; I Tim. 4:1-3; II Tim. 3:16; I Pet. 5:8) is what we do to protect ourselves from sin, this is Christ Himself. Such as, do not get into compromising situations, guarding our lust. The most important aspect is to keep our eyes focused on Christ, with racehorse blinders on to block off the rest. Following these precepts will keep the church healthy from the disease of strife, gossip, arrogance, apathy, and envy! If we are claiming Christ as Lord, we need to be living the life, not just talking about it, or just showing up for the club meetings (church)! Be diligent and be your best for His highest!
The goal in our Christian life is to be apart from sin-not to allow ourselves to be influenced to compromise our faith and life in Christ. When we choose to mix or add in evil, then rationalize it away, we become the evil people Revelation talks about and the fools that the Proverbs talk about. We must be above reproach and open to inspection when we claim Christ as Lord. Our faith matters, because what we do and say does indeed echo into and throughout eternity. Our spiritual growth affects our moral success and failures (2 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 21:1-8). We will give an account and He will wipe away our tears!
Be diligent and be your best for His highest!
1. Is there one place or location that you feel the most at home at, where you are most comfortable? How do you feel when you leave that comfort zone?
2. Write a list of the things that give you comfort in the Christian life or church? Then go over that list and honesty look at it through prayer. Is there anything on that list that may seem great, but is keeping you from putting on Christ? Such as is your role in the church giving you the comfort or is it Christ living in you?
3. Do you have presumptions and thinking that keeps you comfortable and stable? Can these presumptions get in the way of your spiritual growth?
4. Is there a main factor or theme for you that must come into play for you to live the Christian life?
5. What does putting on Christ and taking off yourself mean to you?
6. What does the theme of light and darkness mean to you?
7. Have you ever considered that Christians and the church can produce darkness? Can you think of examples? (Remember Paul is addressing Christians!)
8. What does mimicking His character to the best of our abilities mean?
9. What might you need to wake up and clean up to?
10. How can clothing ourselves in Christ's character make a difference in the church and community?
11. What do you think are the clothes of Christ's character?
12. What are some ways of wrong thinking and actions that keep you from your best before Christ?
13. What about wrong thinking in others that you have observed (do not name names!)?
14. We are to live our lives as if Christ is coming back next Tuesday, at the same time plan ahead as He may not come back for hundreds of years. How can we do this and Why should we do this?
15. Does the Lord's return give you excitement? Why or why not?
16. Have you ever considered that your life on earth may just be a mere rehearsal for what is to come in eternity? Does this give you hope? Or does it cause you to grieve because you may have not lived the life as you should have? (Remember it is never too late to change your ways and thinking and behaviors and live the life as Christ taught, unless you are dead of course!)
17. What have you done that you are hopeful about and what have you done in this life that you may be ashamed of, that will echo throughout eternity?
18. Remember Christ forgives!!! But do not let forgiveness be the excuse to get you out of your growth and responsibility with Christ! So may I ask again, can you think of anything else you need to wake up too?
19. So do we "get" what the Christian life is about? If not what is in the way? If so how can you communicate that to others?
20. Do you see the call of our Lord and its urgency? Or are you comfortable as you are and do not want to be bothered?
21. If so what needs to take place to get you or someone else out of their comfort zone into Christ's zone? What would that mean to get into Christ's zone? (The keyword here is character!)
22. Why would some Christians negate their responsibility with their growth and or role in the church?
23. What is the role of discernment, and how can it be used in the church?
24. How can we be sharp and informed people of God?
25. What is the Armor of Light? How would light counteract that darkness?
26. How and why would an undiscerning Christian cause massive destruction to the mission and role of the church?
27. What are some of the dirt that can build up in the church from not being discerning?
28. How can you put on Christ and take off yourself?
29. What can you do to mimic His character to the best of your abilities?
30. What do you need to do to make Christ's clothes fit better on you?
© 1998, R.J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.discipleshiptools.org/