How many of you have a plan to follow Jesus and become like Him? If you do, is it working?
These were some of the questions that we addressed last night and discussed the full power of salvation and what type of life is now available to us as believers. We tend to think that faith only should make us different but not something that actually does make us different. We have created the idea that faith/salvation is a completely inward and mental thing, not something that is rooted in reality and practicality. But this is not at all what Jesus preached (Rom. 5:10, John 10:10, 1 John 5:11-12) – he preached that the Kingdom of Heaven is fully accessible now.
One of the main points that we drew out was that most of us have a sincere desire to live like Jesus and actually do the things that he did, but we do not do them. When the moment comes where we need to be peaceable, or not get frustrated, or serve somehow, we often find ourselves unable to do it (and even if we could do it, we were fighting harshly against our flesh the whole time). But this is not the way of the Kingdom of God, nor is it the true picture of salvation. The problem is that we are only trying to imitate Jesus at the moment when he acts and we do not consider imitating his entire life (all the preparation and habits that lead to that action). It would be like watching Michael Jordan dunk and then having a really strong desire to do the same thing, but not going through all the same training and preparation that Michael Jordan went through.
The night concluded by posing the question to the kids:
Where are you in relation to the Kingdom of Heaven?
- Dead to the Kingdom
- Alive to the Kingdom, but not living like Jesus
- Alive to the Kingdom and living abundantly in the life and power of Christ
I asked the kids to take a minute and reflect on which category they would place themselves. Then I offered if anyone wanted to be in a different place, then they should stand up. Several kids stood up and they each prayed out loud in order to make a declaration for themselves and before the others of what they were standing for.
Next week is when the rubber hits the road, because we will start talking about specific disciplines and how to access the abundant life that God has made available for those who believe.