Out on a Limb for Jesus

We want to see God do great things in our lives. We want to see God move through us in awesome ways. However, many of us aren’t seeing this happen in our lives. Why is this? Because we are waiting for God to make the first move. However, God made the first move when He died on the cross and said, “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13)

If we actually believe what Jesus said, we should be doing something about it. But it is so common to not want to take a risk and tell someone that God is going to move but watch God not move. For example, you may say that you believe God can and does heal; but, when you see someone in physical need (instead of talking to and praying for them) you lock up in fear and think “well, what if it doesn’t happen?” God is eagerly desires for us to take a risk. He wants us to risk our reputations, jobs, dignity, and even our lives for what He says. He wants us to believe His heart so much that we put everything on the line to see Him move.

Throughout the Old and New Testaments, God has put an emphasis on declaring His works and teaching them to future generations. (Joshua 4:4-7,  Deuteronomy 4:9-10) This is partially so future generations can know the greatness of God even though they weren’t there to experience it themselves. Another, perhaps greater, reason remains. We declare the works of God in order to teach the heart of God. When we know and believe the heart of God we will expect Him to keep doing the things that He has done before; and He will. (Hebrews 13:8) So, when we read in the Bible that God saves, heals, and delivers, we should expectantly ask Him to do those very things in us and through us.

How do you spell “faith”? R-I-S-K –Robby Dawkins

Perhaps the reason that we don’t take risks for Jesus is that we don’t truly understand His heart. Therefore, in order to see God do miraculous things, we must first know Him. When we desire the power of God without the heart of God, we practice witchcraft. We simply want to manipulate the spiritual realm for power or selfish gain. But when we seek after God’s heart we receive the greatest possible reward; that is, we get to know Him. And in knowing Him, miraculous signs come as a byproduct. When we personally know God, we will naturally take risks. And out of that risky faith, we will see God move. In the end, the goal is to know God. “We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 We aren’t trying to perform in order to be loved by God; it’s out of His love for us that we love others and desire to see others know His love.

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:14

The Identity of the Bride

The Bride. The Beautiful Bride. That’s who God says that we are. So why do so many Christians not live like it? We walk in such shame saying phrases like, “a wretch like me” or “I’m only human” or “we’re all sinners”. Yes, God takes us as we are (sin and all), but He makes us something brand new. Something beautiful.

Imagine a bride (the Church). Getting ready for her wedding and constantly speaking of how ugly she is. All she is saying is that she is ugly and will never be truly beautiful. Who do you think this upsets the most? The one who is helping her get ready for the wedding (the Spirit) would be upset. Her father would also disagree (the Father). And certainly the groom would have something to say about that (the Son). Why can’t the church see how beautiful God has made us? It breaks God’s heart when we believe the lie that we are stuck in our past. The point is that God has made us into something beautiful.

It isn’t until we let Him tear away our veil of shame that we can have the relationship for which He created us. Seeing ourselves the same way that God sees us allows us to walk intimately with our Helper and Father and Groom.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; and to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

Aroma of Christ- to the World

“For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” 2 Corinthians 2:15

We, the children of God, are the aroma of Christ. We carry the nature, attitude, and presence of Jesus. That verse has two key parts to it: to God, and to the world. Jesus Christ was perfectly pleasing to the Father. Since we are united with Christ and carry His likeness, God sees us the way He sees Jesus. Thus, the aroma of Christ to God. The second half of the verse is the fact that we are the aroma of Christ to the world around us. Jesus perfectly demonstrated the heart of the Father to everyone He met. If we carry the likeness of Jesus, then the world should see us the way they saw Jesus. They won’t see us as the Savior Messiah, but as people who love indiscriminately and carry the presence and heart of God. Not only does God see us as having lived the perfect life of Jesus, He made it possible for us to actually live like Jesus did by giving us His Spirit.

“…those who are led by the Spirit of God are Sons of God.” Romans 8:14

Jesus said that anyone who has faith in Him will do what He did and greater. (John 14:12) When we become sensitive to God’s Spirit in us, we actually begin to walk out what Jesus said we could be. We begin to see lost people as precious people who need to discover the immense love of God. It is only through Holy Spirit that we can be the aroma of Christ to the world around us. Christ was perfectly submissive to the Father and perfectly sensitive to the Spirit. That is the heart of God for all of His children; that is the aroma of Christ.

Aroma of Christ- To God

So we put off the same aroma as Christ did to God. What does that mean? Jesus is the Word of God in flesh. He is the perfect fulfillment of God’s Heart. His life is God’s heart for all of God’s children. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, God sees each of us as if we had lived the life of Jesus. Basically, we are pleasing to God, not because of anything we have done or can do; but because of what Jesus has done for us. In that way, we are the aroma of Christ.

…put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 2:22-24

The “aroma” of Christ would be His attitude and nature, and the general atmosphere that surrounded Jesus everywhere He went. By His Spirit, we carry His mind, nature, and presence. When the Father looks at us, He sees us as having the nature and character of Jesus. Therefore, He wants to move through us the same way He did with Jesus. Not only does God see us as living out Jesus’ perfect life, but He has made a way for us to really live that out. In fact, we were created for that. God created man to bear His image, and Jesus showed us what that really looks like.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  John 14:12

Jesus was perfectly submissive to His Father’s heart and will. He desired the things His Father desired, and that is what drove Him to action. That’s part of what He meant when He said that “The Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing…” (John 15:19)  If we have the character of Christ, then we should also be driven to action by our Father’s desires. We should want to see the desires of His heart so much that we go and make them a reality. That is part of why we have the Spirit inside of us: to know the desires of God, and make them reality. When Jesus says that we will do what He was doing and greater things, He was speaking of us walking in the Spirit. When we realize that we have become the aroma of Christ to God, we can actually walk in that and become the aroma of Christ to the world too.

Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. John 12:44-46

Jesus the Zealot

When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” Luke 19:45-46

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 1 Corinthians 6:19

Whenever Jesus cleared the temple, He gave a very clear reason. He quoted Isaiah 56:7, saying that the house of God is to be a house of prayer. 1 Corinthians 6 says that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, God wants His temple (us) to be a house of prayer where His presence is welcome. If we have allowed anything sinful into our lives, Jesus wants to flip those tables. He wants to drive the darkness far from our hearts and present us before the Father as pure, blameless children. Holy Spirit wants to move in and through us, but He wants us to be like Jesus too. He wants us to have the same zeal for purity and righteousness that He has. He wants us to be zealous in love, like He is: never being legalistic in our longing for righteousness, but surrendering ourselves to Him and allowing our loving Abba to turn our tables and make us like Him.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6

The Divine Nature

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and Godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption of the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1:3-4

The reason for Christ’s coming to the earth is to win us to the Father. The Father wants to have an intimate friendship with each one of us. He wants us to be like Him. Through our knowledge of God, we draw near to Him. We get to know who He is and what His heart is. As a result, we know who we are and what His heart for us is. It’s because of this intimacy that we participate in the “divine nature”. What even is that? The divine nature- It’s who God is and what He is like. It is His heart and likeness. When we are born again, we are made into a new creation by the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit, His divine nature fills us and begins to flow out of us. This is what we call sanctification. It’s our Father transforming us into the image of Christ.

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given the fullness of Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. Colossians 2:9-10

1 John 2:6 says that we should walk “just as Jesus did.” How? After all, Jesus was God. So, how are we supposed to walk like Jesus? By “participating in the divine nature.” Jesus is the manifestation of the divine nature, and, because of Jesus, that nature can now permeate our entire beings. (2 Corinthians 5:21) That nature is the glory that God wants to shine out of us. (2 Corinthians 3:17-18) It is the righteousness found only in Christ. It’s the beauty of the Bride who finds her everything in Christ. And it’s the confidence of a Son who know that his Father is good and always for him.

How do we walk in the divine nature? We know Him; and in knowing Him, allow Him to do what only He can do. We all must come to the place in our relationship with the Father where we realize that He truly is all we need. We have to realize that He must change us if we are to change at all. We can do nothing of ourselves except give ourselves wholly to Him. It’s only in that place of surrender that we know Him. Only in knowing Him can we experience the divine nature, for He is that divine nature. We receive the divine nature inside of us (Holy Spirit). From that nature we walk with Him and become like Him, because His nature is inside of us and flowing out. There is knowledge of God that only comes by living out His heart and nature. By living and walking with the Father like Jesus did, we can see His heart manifested through and around us.  In walking out what the Spirit of God desires for us, we know Him and become like Him.

When we begin to truly understand God’s love for us, the fleeting pleasures of the world lose their beauty. Love is the only true resistance to temptation, and God’s divine nature is love. To live out the divine nature like Jesus did, perfectly and blamelessly, is to walk in love. We must love God more than the empty satisfaction that sin offers. Basically, we have to love Him more than we love ourselves. We must die to ourselves so we can live in Him. By His love, our sin nature dies, and He gives us His divine nature, full of perfect love.

To know Him is to become like Him, and to become like Him is to become love.

For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 2:15

Deep Cries Out

Call to Me and I will answer you. And show you great and unsearchable things you not know. Jeremiah 33:3

God has always had a deep desire to reveal Himself to us. He desires the relationship of sharing our hearts with Him and His heart with us. Yes, God knows our hearts, but it’s the act of sharing and pouring out our hearts that fosters intimacy.

 The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 1 Corinthians 2:10-11

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; Psalm 42:7

When we come into Christ we are united with the Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:17) We become one with Him; and He begins to show us the Father’s heart. The Spirit searches all things of the Father and He wants to pour them into our lives. Deep cries out to deep. The depths of our spirit cry out and long for the depth of God’s Spirit. That’s who we have become through Christ.

God said to cast all our cares on Him because He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7) It may seem simple, but caring and love go hand-in-hand. When we realize how much He loves us, we can’t help but reflect His affection. (1 John 4:19) We hear people talk about relationship a lot, “Christianity is not a religion; it’s a relationship.” If God doesn’t desire to reveal Himself to us, we don’t have a relationship, we have servitude. There’s nothing wrong with being a servant of God, but He calls us His friends now. (John 15:15) As His children and friends, we fear God, but we don’t act out of fear. We act out of love because He is our best Friend and good Father. (1 John 4:18)

The Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; John 5:19-20

More than that, God wants us to “keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25) We keep in step with Him by listening and knowing. Knowing what His heart is: what He is saying and doing; and then copying what He has shown us. Jesus said that the Son only does what He sees the Father doing. And the Father shows the Son everything He does. We are united with Christ; seated with Him in heavenly places; we have the Spirit of Sonship; and we are coheirs with Jesus. (Ephesians 2:5-6, Romans 8:15-17) So, this is how we should walk. Knowing that the Father loves us and desires to show us everything He is doing. When we see what it is He is doing, we are overjoyed to follow Him and do what we have seen Him do. Doing nothing of ourselves, but only what comes from our Father.

Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 5:5

The Reality of Intimacy

“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

We were created for love. God is love, and we are created in His image. So, we are created for love. The truth is that we can’t love, and no matter how hard we try, we can never produce real love. The moon can’t produce light either. However, when the sun shines on it, the moon is illuminated. It’s the same with us and our Father. When we are filled with His love, then, and only then, can we shine and overflow with love. Once we understand God’s love for us and what He has done, we naturally love Him and seek a truly intimate relationship with Him. It’s what we are created for.

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15

God created us for a relationship with Him because He deeply desires to reveal Himself to us. He wants us to live intimately with Him. Jesus paid a high price to win us back to the Father so we could be brought into His kingdom and know Him. After the Garden, our relationship with God was corrupted, so there was a lack of intimacy. But when Jesus died on the cross, He gave us that intimacy back to a greater degree. Now, as sons and daughters, we have unprecedented access to God: not as a force or a thing to be consulted, but as a Father who loves us and as the One who has made us His bride.

 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

For many people, the possibility of intimacy with God doesn’t seem like a reality because we don’t understand who we are. We are filled with God, and when God inhabits us, He makes us pure. Because of Jesus, we are acceptable to God. Now, we are even pleasing to God. If we come near to God, He will come near to us and change everything about us. (James 4:8) Until we are willing to give up our security and allow God to change us, we will never experience the intimacy we were created for. Knowing God leaves you unsatisfied with the worldly desires of your flesh. “Once you ‘taste and see that God is good,’ nothing else tastes good unless it has the flavor of Him upon it.” – Todd White  When we take seriously the reality of us as the children of God and the bride of Christ, we are overtaken by the reality of the intimacy that He has created us for. Then, nothing matters more than just to sit at the feet of Abba and declare, “I belong to you.”

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrew 10:19-22

Freedom in Righteousness

Dear friends, now we are Children of God, and what we will be has not yet been known. Bu we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 1 John 3:3

When we enter into Christ and are brought out of death into life, God changes us. We are not the same people we were before we came to Him. Before, we were all in rebellion against our Creator. Fortunately for us, our Creator King is also our Savior King. He made a way for us to escape the kingdom of darkness and enter “into His marvelous light.” (1Peter 2:9) He is the lover of our souls and has redeemed us to become His spotless bride; but He wants a bride who actually desires to be spotless. Many people hold to the idea that we will always keep sinning no matter how long we are a Christian or how well we know God; but if we keep sinning, have we truly been set free from darkness?

But you know that He appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin. 1 John 3:5

Jesus didn’t just come to forgive our sins; He came to draw us near to the Father. He had to die for our sins because they were preventing a relationship with Him, and the primary focus was our value in our Father’s eyes. He doesn’t just want to forgive our sins so we can have a clear record; He wants to remove them so our future is clear too. He has made us new creations so we can walk in His righteousness. He is transforming us into His likeness by Jesus’ blood and the Holy Spirit. Through sin, we all “fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) But in Jesus, we “reflect the Lord’s glory” and “are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

1 Corinthians 10:13 says that “When you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so you can stand up under it.” What is this way to “stand up under it”?  -Holy Spirit. So, in any and every situation, we have a way to avoid sin, because we have the Spirit. If, in every situation, we have the ability not to sin, doesn’t that mean we have the ability to never sin again? To say we don’t have the ability to not sin is to say we are still in bondage. And to say we are still in bondage is to insult the cross of Christ. God payed such a high price to not just heal and forgive us, but to completely change us. We were dead in our sins but “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Romans 6 paints such a clear picture of us being in Christ and dead to sin.

For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. Romans 6:14

Grace isn’t a license to sin and get away with it. … Grace empowers us to walk out what truth calls us to. –Todd White

Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

God’s call for us to be without sin isn’t an impossible and condemning commission in which we are on our own and bound for failure. He has given us His Spirit who sets us free and “teaches us all things.” (John 14:26) We no longer sin because we now know the love of God. Our freedom from sin is just that, FREEDOM! We can’t live righteously and pleasing to God legalistically. That was the old covenant that was so powerless to change us that God put on flesh and walked among us. We don’t sin because we love God. When He abides in us, He creates His heart in us, and we live from love. God’s revelation of His heart to us is the greatest gift He can possibly give us; and thanks to Jesus, He has given it to us. Yet this too, is only out of His love for us.

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love Him and show myself to him. John 14:21

It was for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

We have a gift of righteousness. Not just a legal standing before God in which we are justified, but a righteousness that is walked out in love. When we walk by the Spirt, like Romans 8 talks about, sin naturally dies because we are no longer satisfying the desires of the flesh. (Romans 8:13-14) We are children of God. We have our Father’s Spirit and take His nature upon us. Like Father: like sons. We are holy as He is holy. (1 Peter 1:14-16) Now, this isn’t to say that we are immediately perfected as soon as we accept Christ. 1 John 2:1 says “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” First and foremost, John makes it clear that are to not sin, but it is also implied that there is still the possibility of sin in our lives. And even if we do sin, Christ is still our salvation and connection to the Father. He is always there, at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us out of love; and through love, He is always in us by His Spirit setting us free.

What shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Romans 6:1-2

But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. Romans 8:10

Love in Action

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16

Ever since the beginning of time, God has been love and has acted out of love. It was for love that He created the world, freed His people from Egypt, and died on the cross. When Jesus revealed the Father to creation, He revealed love. He has always held love at the core of His own identity. We see this in Exodus when He is speaking to Moses.

And He passed in front of Moses proclaiming, “The Lord, The Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children of their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation. Exodus 34:6-7

But this love is never in affection alone. He doesn’t “believe” He loves us. He loves us with an unstoppable love that is demonstrated. A love that is in action. God declared the ultimate “I love you” on the cross with His blood. He has left no doubt that He loves us and wants to be with us. If it wasn’t so, He wouldn’t have humbled Himself and redeemed us in the way He did. (Philippians 2:5-11)

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children. And live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  Ephesians 5:1-2

If we want to truly know God, we have to do things He does and become like Him. If God is love, then we should be defined by love. So, to know Him is to know love, because God defines love. It’s never the other way around. We cannot afford to think that love defines God. If we do, then we bring any of our personal interpretations of love, none of which are God, and attribute those to Him. No, God is love. Therefore a life of love, for us, is God’s heart in action.

Jesus said that He was always working because His Father was always working (John 5:17), and that He only did what He saw the Father doing (John 5:19). The reason the Father is always working is because He is always loving, and love is always, always in action. –Jarrad Gibler

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did. 1 John 2:6

God has called us to be just like Him, and if we think we can know Him without loving like He does, we are fatally mistaken. (1 John 3:10) To know Him, we must be like Him; and to be like Him is to become love. In becoming like Him (love), we understand His heart because His Spirit within us begins to move through us and change us. When we are obedient and submissive to God, He begins to move and love in and through us. It’s only by His Spirit who sets us free that we can live out love. When we have Holy Spirit, His fruits are evident in our lives. (Galatians 5:22-25)   When He moves through us, we know Him and who He really is; but He won’t move in or through us until we decide to live His heart out, live out love, and give Him control.

We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

More verses about love:

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Psalm 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

1 John 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.