November 30, 2011
You can build a firm foundation by following Christ’s example
You can build a firm foundation by following Christ’s example. From Genesis through Revelation—God’s instruction is the same: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” (Mark 12:30).
If that sounds like a pretty tall order, that’s because it is— we have a big God. And loving Him completely requires all that we have. How do we do that? How do we give Him EVERYTHING?
Well, thankfully, Jesus Christ stands as the perfect living example. You see, the fruit of loving with all that we have and all that we are is that we, like Christ, will grow “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).
To Grow in Wisdom
To grow in wisdom is to love the Lord your God with all of your mind. We must give Him all of our minds. It’s more than just thinking good thoughts. It’s devoting your time and attention to knowing the Word of God.
Jesus carried the Word of God in His heart and in His head. He could call on the promises of God as recorded in Scripture for defense against Satan (Matt. 4) as well as for affirming His identity as the Messiah, the Son of God (Luke 24:44-46).
So study the Word of God. Absorb it like a sponge—the more you soak up, the more it will deepen your understanding of God’s will and His character.
To Grow in Stature
We are also called to present our “bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is [our] reasonable service” of worship (Rom. 12:1). Physical maturity, physical fitness, and physical purity—that’s stature, and it takes strength in the Lord to grow into a man or woman of God.
We can be sure that Christ treated His body as a temple unto the Lord—a holy place-a place set apart for the glory of God (1 Cor. 6:19). And that’s what we are to do.
But it goes beyond just healthy eating and regular exercise. It has to do with treasuring your body in relationships. It means staying pure and saving until marriage what God designed for marriage. It means treating our bodies with care and respect.
Jesus Christ took care of His physical body ─ He nourished it; He kept it fit; and He kept it pure. And so should we.
To Grow in Favor with God
Love the Lord your God with all of your soul. The soul is a very deep and private place-that place where you have communion and fellowship with the Lord. The soul is where you pray without ceasing. It is where you sing songs of praise. It is where you worship the goodness and sovereignty of God.
The soul is that “closet” Jesus talks about in Matthew 6:6. No one else need know what you do in there. They will see the fruit well enough. They will see your wisdom and discernment. They will notice your healthy and pure living. They will appreciate your service among them. And they will, thereby, know the intimacy you share with the Living God.
To Grow In Favor with Man
Unconditional, unrestrained, undiluted service. It is apparent in every record of Christ’s life. As you read the Gospel, pay careful attention.
How did He perceive people’s worth? Did He ignore the social and political outcasts? Did He spend time only with those who were like Him?
How did He speak with them? Was He condescending with the ignorant? Or short with the slow?
How did He hold them accountable to Scripture? Was He what we’d call a “Bible beater?” Or did He gently admonish, teaching Truth as Light and Life?
Our Lord makes it clear in His teaching and by His example: “Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant. Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister” (Matthew 20:27-28).
And so all that we have—our time, our talents, our ideas, our bodies—is the Lord’s. He means for us to spend it all to make sure that everyone we meet will see, hear, experience, and know the love of Christ. That means to love the Lord will all your heart, mind, soul, and strength—to desire and seek His will above all else.