Philippians 2:1-4 “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
I have a dear friend who is dying. He has a condition known as ischemic heart disease that has turned into complete heart failure. His cardiologist is continually amazed when he comes into the office for another appointment, you see, according to all the medical science he shouldn’t be alive right now. His heart has taken too many hits, the heart function is barely at levels that one can survive and yet he has pressed on for years.
I met with him this past weekend for breakfast. I knew how he loved to meet for men’s prayer but his condition is such that he can’t drive and his weakness prevents him from going out much anymore. When he walks he becomes dizzy or unstable and yet his joy in Christ has not diminished.
If you talk with him, you will undoubtedly hear stories from his grandmother, a titan of the faith who has since gone on to glory. The legacy she left had such an imprint on his life, he will quote many of the lessons she taught him as a young man. The predominant message is how to walk in the company of Jesus.
I asked him, where would the best place to look for the examples of what this life pattern entails?
Jesus’ walk with the Father
John 6:40 “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
I find it interesting that Jesus, the One who created the Heavens and the Earth, came primarily to do the Father’s will. Jesus’ will was not the priority here but rather His love shown toward us was reflected by His love for the Father. When I look back in John I am reminded of Jesus’ role in the Creation story. John 1:3 “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”
All things made includes us. We were lost and broken by sin, our relationship with God was fractured in the Garden and since then the Father’s intent was to restore that relationship, but why would the Father be intent in restoring our relationship with Himself when all we have done is offend Him?
The way Jesus pulls us into a relationship with God is what amazes me.
- Jesus refers to Heaven as His Father’s house. John 14:2 “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” In His Father’s house, Jesus prepares a place for us. He has full authority as the Son and yet recognizes the Father’s position.
- Jesus equates His people with those who love the Father. Matthew 12:50 “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
- The Father lavishes gifts to us because of the Son. John 16:23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.”
You see, we have been spared the Father’s wrath because of Jesus’ love for us. The Father loves the Son and since the Son loves us and became our atoning sacrifice for sin, the Father does as well.
We owe Jesus everything. If we reject the Son, we will be rejected by the Father. If we want to know how to walk with Jesus, all we need to do is look at how He walked with the Father on earth.
The Father’s love for the Son
Matthew 6:10 “Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.”
How did Jesus know the Father’s will?—–He continually sought Him out.
In the midst of pressing throngs of crowds who were seeking Jesus continually, Jesus recognized the need to be alone and pray.
Luke 5:15,16 “However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.”
The secret to Jesus being able to maintain His focus in the midst of all the craziness was recognizing when it was time to be alone with the Father…. often. Where would Jesus go that crowds would not find Him, where there was solace and He could maintain perspective?
Matthew 14:23 “And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.”
How often do you pray? I know personally I do not pray enough. It is when I see Jesus’ life and the way He handled the chaos is then that I am convinced I must maintain these same practices.
Our relationship with the Son
If we want to walk with God, we must learn to submit to the Son of God, but how do we do this? Well, for one, He has been reaching out toward mankind since the beginning. Every instance where you see God interacting with people, it was the pre-incarnate Jesus. We were made through Him and without Him nothing came into existence. Since then, Jesus has been interceding in the affairs of mankind, correcting our mindset, directing our paths, leading us on to salvation, and one day He will reign as King over our land.
He is intimately acquainted with all our ways. Your life has value to Him because you were His idea. We would have been destroyed long ago if it were not for His love injected into our existence.
How could we ever forsake such a Love?
Ephesians 3:14-19 “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Do you see how the Triune God of all glory has drawn us into HIs fold? Jesus is the door. We have been made acceptable by the sacrifice of the Son. When we accept the grace of God through Jesus, we are made acceptable before the Father. The Father’s love for the Son supersedes our failures, our weakness, our filth of sin.
We are nothing apart from Him. Do you want to see what we deserve? Read about Hell and the Lake of Fire reserved for all who would reject so great of a salvation and you will get an inkling of how important this reality is.
Understanding how to walk with God first requires an understanding of the pattern and reason for why God includes us into His narrative. We so often think of ourselves as the center of the Universe, and in our Universe that God created, we probably are. What we fail to have perspective in is that God is much bigger than our reality. What we observe, experience, and know is limited comparative to who God was before we came along, what He is doing beyond our lives, and what His plans might be apart from us.
Have you ever stopped to think that God might have plans that don’t include mankind at the center of it?
Jesus has included us because He created and loves us. It is amazes me that we lowly beings are given such honor, to be created in His image, to dwell in His presence and have His Spirit dwell in us.
Later, I hope to dig deeper into what the ramifications are for us in light of God’s greater majesty—-Greater than anything we can imagine, His purpose that supersedes us and yet includes us…He shows such Love.