Good Morning Brothers…
Remember this question from last week, “Is belief in Christ not enough? Is repeating the sinner’s prayer, giving your life to Jesus, being baptized, not enough to live victoriously?”
I asked for your thoughts and comments on this question and I appreciate the 2 responses I received. Pretty typical of the church if you ask me. Some of you read last weeks post and decided to answer but got busy and forgot, some of you didn’t read it at all but may have saved it to some file on your computer somewhere to read later, some of you read it and had no idea how to answer the question and were fearful to give an incorrect response, and finally…some of you delete this devotional every Monday morning when it comes into your inbox.
Whichever category describes you, this verse from John 4:14 also describes you, “but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” Jesus is telling the woman at the well that His water quenches thirst, quenches the longing, satisfies the yearning for…forever. More than that, after receiving this water, you yourself will become a source for this all quenching, all satisfying water. Are you feeling that…? What? You’re not sure that’s what Jesus means? OK…lets try this passage from John 7:37-38, “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”
Lets break it down:
Jesus expresses 3 separate ideas. The first idea is that He has the water needed to satisfy our longing forever. Notice that Jesus doesn’t say that He is the water, but that He has the water to give. That’s an important difference. The second idea is that Scriptural belief in Him is the prerequisite to receiving this all satisfying water. Not any kind of belief, but belief according to the Bible belief. This too, is an important difference. The last idea in this passage is that this drink will also be available for us to give away if we are “good to go” on the first two ideas. So…if I recognize that “the water” is only available through Jesus, and my hope and faith is in Him alone, then I too can become a “distributor” of “the water”.
So…how does this answer the question of Christians living defeated lives and not victorious lives? How does this answer the question of, “Is belief in Christ not enough?”
The key is in the word “belief”. Scriptural belief in Christ is selfless. Non-Scriptural belief in Christ is selfish. When we heed the words of Jesus to “die to self”, to “bear our cross daily”, we realize He is asking us to die to our own wants and desires. When we are dead to our own wants and desires, the wants and desires that take over…are the wants and desires of Jesus Christ. To fulfill God’s will is not to fulfill our own will, that is the cost counted. The “streams of living water” pour through us onto those around us when we seek God’s will for us and then follow through with His marching orders. When we do not die to self, and try to live the Christian life selfishly, we attempt to hoard the flow of living water for our own consumption. Eventually, the flow stops and we feel defeated.
OK…how do we live selflessly and not selfishly?
We need a coach, a mentor, a teacher to guide us into the disciplines necessary to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. I would not send my 10 year old out the door with a brand new shotgun to hunt on his own because he is not ready for that kind of weapon…that kind of power…on his own. He needs me to teach him. It is my responsibility. Christians infilled with the Holy Spirit are not ready for that kind of weapon, that kind of power, without being mentored, discipled into a lifestyle where the Holy Spirit, the living water Jesus offers, can flow through a man’s life onto everyone around them. We need to be taught how. I can’t force myself, by true grit and determination, to live selflessly. I can force myself into a discipling relationship where God’s grace and power flows into my life and transforms my mind, my will, into a life lived selflessly. A life lived selflessly is a weapon for the kingdom and filled with power from on high. It is living victoriously.
Our responsibility is to engage this lifestyle.
God Almighty has chosen time and time again to use people to bring about His will. God can shout instructions from the heavens, but He typically gives instructions through His chosen people to nurture, love, and encourage the flock. A discipling lifestyle, is a lifestyle in which we learn to follow Jesus. This does not typically happen from the pulpits of our churches because ‘relationship’ is a key ingredient to discipling. We need men around us to purposefully set aside the time to coach us up. Conversely, we need to purposefully set aside time to coach other men up. Either way, and preferably both ways simultaneously, we need to live a discipling lifestyle. If we are not, then we live the defeated life. God’s intention is not to save us and stop, but to save us through the efforts of another human and that we would save others through our own efforts. All the while, living a victorious life filled with the all satisfying living water and assisting the Spirit in quenching the thirst of others.
To live victoriously is to live selflessly, to live selflessly is to follow Jesus, to follow Jesus is to live a discipling lifestyle.