In the recent months the Lord has been calling me to move closer to him. I have increased my study time, read my bible more, poured out to others through bible study twice a week, and praised him more. I am always in church every Sunday helping to lead the praise and worship time. I pray for others and with others. I try to always be available when any one has the need to counsel. Yet, the Lord said, “Come closer.” You may wonder how much closer I could get.
But I knew what he was telling me. You see, his Spirit convicted my heart. He showed me that all those things are wonderful and needful. But, they should not take His place. Nothing should be a substitute for His presence. He wants my undivided attention. He wants me to abide in Him. Live there. All the time. Abide.
When we give Him our undivided attention something happens. For example, if we are in the sun for a few minutes no one would ever know about it unless we told them. But, if we spent a lot of time in the sun we wouldn’t have to tell anyone, they would know it just by looking at us. Have you ever gotten a tan and have someone exclaim, “you’ve been in the sun!?” Yes, because you’re marked. You are changed. You are tanned, and people know where you’ve been spending a lot of your time.
The same holds true by spending time in the S“O”N. If we spend a little time in him no one is going to know unless we tell them. On the other hand, if we spend a lot of time in him we won’t have to tell anyone. They will know just by looking at us. We will show forth the markings of where we have been.
Where we spend the bulk of our time directly affects our behavior.
It is a clear sign to others. If we focus on, or behold anything other than Christ himself, it’s going to show. If we spend our time with Jesus we will show forth his characteristics and attributes. I’ve made this statement for as long as I can remember, but it still holds true:
“What we behold is what we become.”
So then, what are the characteristics we would be manifesting if we were spending most of our time beholding Jesus? And what are the characteristics we would be manifesting if we didn’t?
Let’s start with beholding Jesus.
The bible is full of scriptures telling us about his character. My most favorite is 1 John 3:2. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” For the devoted Christian, his “appearing” should be happening in our daily lives. In other words, people should see more and more of Jesus in us every day. And as the scripture says, “we are more and more like him.”
Below, I’ve listed a few more scriptures that tell us who Christ is and who we should be if we are calling ourselves Christian.
He has wisdom (Luke 2:52)
He is compassionate (Matthew 9:36)
He is forgiving (Luke 23:34)
He is obedient, humble, and a servant (Philippians 2:5-8)
He is joyful (John 15:11)
He is full of peace (Isaiah 9:6)
If we are not showing forth these characteristics of Christ (and more) then we need to do some looking inward, some self-examination as to why.
Please don’t misunderstand me. Christians are not perfect. We sin, we backslide, we make mistakes. But a devoted, committed, mature Christian will not remain in darkness. We should be moving closer to Christ and showing growth as we seek him.
Now, let’s look at the person who does not behold Christ. What would those characteristics look like?
They are in darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14)
They are blind (2 Corinthians 4:4)
They are corrupt (Psalm 14:1)
Their understanding is clouded (Ephesians 4:18)
They don’t except the things of God, they are folly to him (1 Corinthians 2:14)
Allow me to qualify the above. I am not saying that all people who are not Christians are bad people. The bible tells us that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”, and that it is God’s desire that everyone be saved”. Although not everyone will chose him, he wishes they would. The difference between a devoted, mature Christian and a non-believer is that the Christian will choose God over all else, even himself, whereas the non-believer will choose darkness, rather than light.
I recently heard a phrase that has returned to my mind over and over again. It is what prompted me to write this blog post. The phrase is: “A Christian should never contradict his profession with his conduct.” Jesus put it this way, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day [when I judge them], ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and driven out demons in Your name, and done many miracles in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them publicly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me [you are banished from My presence], you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].’ Matthew 7:21-23 AMP
“If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.” 1 John 1:6
What does your fruit look like?